[permaculture] space for food self reliance?

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Thu Nov 5 19:27:00 EST 2015

On Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 5:00 PM, Georg Parlow <g.parlow at gmx.at> wrote:

> For the ease of calculation lets assume it will be 100 adults and maybe 40
> to 60 kids.

What a wonderful project!

IF you have soil with good tilth and fertility, good sun exposure and you
say you have plenty of water,
it is conceivable that you could feed 160 people with one acre of land,
carefully managed and biointensively gardened
in really well prepared raised beds. Forget row cropping, in my opinion.
Two acres would assure you of adequate production.
Keep in mind that you more land you try to garden the more work you let
yourself in for because of irrigation needs and weeding,
and tilth and fertility. Go for the minimum space that will guarantee your
desired output. Start small and add more raised beds as you need them.
I have 7 raised beds that cover approximately 20 by 40 feet total. I have
extremely close cropped salad greens mix growing now;
leaping out of the ground. This is cut and come again with some plants
allowed to mature for braising and stir fry or potherbs.
I go out with a sharp knife and "mow"myself enough for a huge salad. A day
or two later you the harvest space has filled in with new foliage. I
mention this by way of demonstrating just how much produce you can get out
of a small space. Garden prep for raised beds is fun and very rewarding
work, much more so than rows. You can of course prep a large rectangle flat
and plant it with hardy greens and root crops like turnips, beets, turnip
greens, mustard, kale, collards, etc. They do fine on flat land and provide
a lot of shading reducing weeds and watering needs.
You could sustain 160 people comfortably on just ten acres with two of
those in food production. I am talking community garden only, no individual
household plots. This will work best and get everyone involved in really
fun work (including the elderly who see it all evolve out the window of
their rooms and offer timely advice!). Limited livestock needs can be
accommodated on this amount of acreage. Eggs would be mandatory and goats
or sheep for milk would be good to include of possible. Both will provide
manure for the gardens. If you establish a solid composting operation that
manure can be mixed with scythed weeds and field grasses and leaves with
human urine providing any extra nitrogen needed for compost as fertilizer
with a balanced array of nutrients. If you can get any quarry rockdusts by
all means have
several large truckloads delivered and stockpiled for use as garden soil
amendment providing tilth and micronutrients and as a base for
potting and seeding soil mix and for planting fruit and nut trees and
Ten acres for 160 people might be pushing it; fifteen would be better and
twenty best. If you ever have plans for extensive agroforestry, orchard,
forage, biomass crops (for compost), gain and bean crops and livestock
projects you might need thirst acres, with a fuel woodlot  add ten more


Lawrence F. London
lfljvenaura at gmail.com

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