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Old 09-11-2012, 01:07 PM   #1
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How much do you need to feed a family

Interesting infographic on the square footage needed for to feed a family of four.
http://www.thereadystore.com/diy/510...ec8d6b55005363

Do you see any issues with their numbers? I personally think they should add acres for a man made pond in case of droughts and for fish.

How much land do you think such a hypothetical family would need?
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:07 PM   #2
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This guy is waaaay off. We use intensive gardening techniques in our 6,000 square foot garden and we produce enough for nine people. Granted, we clearly supplement with meat, fish and spices, but you get the idea. If we doubled the space and addes a bunch of berry canes and maybe grow some sugar cane in the west ditch, we could realistically expect to feed 8 people. Our hens are prolific layers and we can let them run around all over our 3.5 acres, have mad chicken sex and reproduce as much as they want. I would be the local white poet warlord of poultry. Land management is just as important as anything else in collapse, but if one uses french intensive techniques, you can expest to quadruple production in a small garden.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:55 PM   #3
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I agree that you could produce a lot more food in a very small space. The author is making the assumption that you must keep a diet of pork, need flour (unless you subtract the 1/2 acre he mentions), and he claims it is smart to grow corn of all products!

In my opinion, you don't need all this wheat and corn as these have low values in terms of providing healthy and nutrient rich food for your family. Plus, there will be other people growing things like this and if you really want it, it would be better to trade for it.

The author hasn't utilised the method of aquaponics which is the process of growing your own fish and recycling the water by feeding it to you plants. You can utilise vertical space and grow more vertically, and you can also have a source of free fertiliser and a meat source for fish.

Then he neglects to discuss composting which will be necessary because you want free fertiliser that keeps your land healthy and the food even healthier. Also, chemically produces fertilisers may be very difficult to come by.

Speaking of fertilisers, why not raise rabbits instead of pigs because the manure from the rabbits can be used directly to fertilise the earth, feed a set of worms to assist in composting and the rabbits can be used for meat, which is one of the most nutritious rich foods and it only takes 8 weeks for them to be large enough to eat. Not to mention you won't ever have a problem with not having them reproduce.

Just some thoughts I had after reading it.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:36 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mazztech View Post:
I agree that you could produce a lot more food in a very small space. The author is making the assumption that you must keep a diet of pork, need flour (unless you subtract the 1/2 acre he mentions), and he claims it is smart to grow corn of all products!

In my opinion, you don't need all this wheat and corn as these have low values in terms of providing healthy and nutrient rich food for your family. Plus, there will be other people growing things like this and if you really want it, it would be better to trade for it.

The author hasn't utilised the method of aquaponics which is the process of growing your own fish and recycling the water by feeding it to you plants. You can utilise vertical space and grow more vertically, and you can also have a source of free fertiliser and a meat source for fish.

Then he neglects to discuss composting which will be necessary because you want free fertiliser that keeps your land healthy and the food even healthier. Also, chemically produces fertilisers may be very difficult to come by.

Speaking of fertilisers, why not raise rabbits instead of pigs because the manure from the rabbits can be used directly to fertilise the earth, feed a set of worms to assist in composting and the rabbits can be used for meat, which is one of the most nutritious rich foods and it only takes 8 weeks for them to be large enough to eat. Not to mention you won't ever have a problem with not having them reproduce.

Just some thoughts I had after reading it.
I read somewhere that the food conversion rate for rabbits is much better than that of chickens. You can house just as many rabbits in a chicken house as chickens, if you only have a couple of bucks. Plus they are quieter. There was a really good video out about a thousand year, intensive garden in Japan or China but now I can't find it. It is the ultimate intensive garden, passed down from generation to generation. I have an awesome book around here somewhere (that I can't find now) called chinese farming over 1000 years, in which a British team studied the composting, intensive gardening in various provinces in China in the early 20th century. It is absolutely fascinating, and NOTHING goes to waste.

PS my wife is asian, and NOTHING goes to waste.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:11 AM   #5
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We have chickens because of several reasons. First, insect control. These birds are voracious bug eaters which reduces our pest problem by orders of magnitude. Second, because a good laying hen will give you hundreds of nutrient dense eggs to eat. Third, their manure is quite good for the garden, although it needs to compost for a while to cook out the seeds that pass through their system undigested. And lastly, when they stop laying we eat them. All in all it's a pretty virtuous cycle.

Rabbits are a nice protein addition for anyone's diet and the taste is pretty darn good. It's true enough that they don't take up much space, but I kind of have a problem with confining any creature to a pen for their entire life, even if I will ultimately eat them.

Down here, there are millions of snapping turtles which are not protected by any federal agency, easy to catch and captively raise, and delicious. Turtles are good concentrated protein as well.

I'm thinking about doing five or six dozen sugar cane this year to see if it's viable.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ancona View Post:
It's true enough that they don't take up much space, but I kind of have a problem with confining any creature to a pen for their entire life, even if I will ultimately eat them.
I do agree with this, but you can have a very nicely caged in area which is more of like a "space" for the rabbits outside where vegetation can grow (food for the rabbits) and their manure can fertilise just that area (or if it builds up you can put it someplace else.)
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ancona View Post:
(...)And lastly, when they stop laying we eat them.
..that will teach them! One of my bosses in the past, seemed a little bit like that - I swear, he was killing and eating less productive workers

Call me a sissy (and a complex one - read on...), but I do have a hard time slaughtering hot-blooded animals. That is why I'd rather have chickens (for laying eggs, and like ancona said - pest control, plus, they are fantastic organic waste incinerators - you can fed them all the scraps from your kitchen, and they will love it), and I'd have fish for meat - I do not seem to have any troubles doing fish (that is the "complexity" bit ).

I suppose I just feel sorry for them fuzzy warm creatures . Not that it would make me starve or lose sleep at night, if I really needed to kill them for food - my conscience is apparently less influential than my stomach, in such case
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:53 AM   #8
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Bushi,
I too have issues with eating the warm blooded, but the fact is that a chicken has a relatively short lifespan to begin with and they really are pretty damn stupid. Our turkeys however, are very intelligent birds and a completely different story. We originally got them for meat, but when we discovered that they were developing definable personalities and that they were extremely clever, that all changed. We now have two pet turkeys and four pet ducks. For now anyway, we'll keep with the chicken plans and let the others simply be pets.

The garden is much the better for all of the fowl we have running around in it as well. About half of the set-up was fallow this winter, so we turned the soil once a week with the tiller and let the birds loose in it. Right before we plant, we'll go to the bait shop and get ten dozen earthworms to let loose in the soil then cover and plant.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mazztech View Post:
I do agree with this, but you can have a very nicely caged in area which is more of like a "space" for the rabbits outside where vegetation can grow (food for the rabbits) and their manure can fertilise just that area (or if it builds up you can put it someplace else.)
don't forget the chicken wire on the ground, they do like to burrow...
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ancona View Post:
Right before we plant, we'll go to the bait shop and get ten dozen earthworms to let loose in the soil then cover and plant.
What kind of worms do you buy? Different worms should be used for different purposes. Often the worms at bait shops are Night Crawlers which like to burrow deep but they live off composted material. So for them to be doing well you should also be place a think layer of compost on the ground, they will bring what they need for food down, otherwise they will be loosing interest and move someplace else.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:38 AM   #11
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Mazztech,
We have several compost systems in place, so there is plenty for the worms to do. We like nightcrawlers because in Florida the soil is extremely sandy, menaing it will pack down pretty hard after a few rains. The 'crawlers keep it nice and aerated so the plant roots can breathe. The garden is a pseudo french intensive, which also means that we wnat deep roots instead of spread roots, this allwos closer planting regimens than would otherwise be planted. Our soil is also rather high PH, so we turn in oak chips, which slowly release their tanins in to the soil to bring that PH down near 6.

We try to fork up the soil during the season, but being a very labor intensive task, we find that worms do a pretty good job and they don't use any of my time doing so. ;-)
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