Media Workers and TV Researchers - Please seek permission before posting on this site or approaching individuals found here by phone or email - write to the Editor - mail to

Home Forums General Discussion A rough Guide to how much land it would take to feed a family of four Re: A rough Guide to how much land it would take to feed a family of four


I suspect the poster was coded to prevent exactly what you propose to do.

More to the point lets look at the content. The term average family or average use appears frequently. So this compilation is a statistical chart. I believe it was Mark Twain who said “ there are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics” Keep in mind also that a man whose head in encased in a block of ice and his feet held to a fire will ‘on average’ be fairly comfortable temperature wise.

An old farmer told me it takes one acre of grass meadow to graze a cow for a year. Two things to keep in mind. You only keep a cow that long if it’s a milk cow. If you are raising a calf for meat it is born in spring and slaughtered in fall. (Six months)

If it’s a milk cow it does not wander free in a pasture unless you want weird tasting milk. Too many plants will taint the milk flavor. So a milk cow will need less space.

Several of our suburban friends who do not own farmland have an arrangement to graze a calf on somebody else’s range land.

Another statistic I recently came across said every American uses 75 gallons of water each day. Not according to my experience but then again I am not an American. Where I live many people do not have wells and have to truck in all their water. They buy a 5 gallon jug of RO water for food use and maybe 200 gallons per week for the whole family. That’s a far cry from 300 gallons per day for a family of 4

A vegetarian diet according to the chart supposedly requires 0.44 acre to grow the required food. A neighbor who grows enough to afford to give away surplus only cultivates a plot 100 feet by 50 feet and a 6 X 15 greenhouse..

If you have fruit trees and chickens you can let the chickens free range in the orchard area. We did and got fantastically good eggs. Pigs should probably not be allowed there because they tend to root around and could damage the tree roots. However consider espalier methods for growing fruits in cultivated rows. The trees can also be used as fences or wall climbers.

Considering the work involved in preparing the ground for growing grains, and planting seeds, a community effort on a co-op acre or two for grain might be more cost effective. Buying whole grain and grinding it yourself makes more sense. This is what friends do.

There have been countless articles published on mixing plants for greater crop yield or non chemical pest control this also reduces the overall acreage neede. I have seen farm & garden magazines publish data that suggest a family of four can grow a surplus on half an acre to feed not only themselves but have extra.

Statistics can be wonderful but also very misleading. It’s a pretty poster though and provides a country atmosphere for decorating.