It’s a dream for many… to live off the land. Being self-sustainable just gives you the feeling of freedom. No one to hold you accountable but yourself.
But the real question is, can YOU do it? There are few things to consider before taking the plunge.
How much will it cost for you and your family to survive? Where will you get fresh water? What piece of land will you seek out and call your own?
What will your daily, weekly and yearly diet consist of? Do you still need to be able to communicate with the rest of the world? If so, how?
How will you get rid of waste? How will you protect yourself and do you have enough first aid knowledge to care for yourself or a family member in an emergency?
This infographic will help you answer a few of these tough questions…
We actually have 13.3 acres up here in the White Mountains of NH. 10 acres in forested. In Rural NH we have our own well water and septic. So it would be the electric/cable (for TV and internet) that would need to be replaced somehow. We grow Mostly in raised beds because it is easier to work and enhance the soil. We grow, can, dehydrate, and freeze much of our own food. We can and dehydrate enough tomatoes to last us until the next year’s crops come in. We go to a local pick-your-own strawberry farm to get and freeze enough for the entire year’s worth of strawberry-rhubarb pie. We have one rhubarb plant from a family member and get more rhubarb from them, we plan to get more divisions until we can grow enough of our own.
We gave had chickens, but the bear tore off the roof of the coop and we haven’t replaced the chickens yet. We’ve also raised our own pork in the past. We’ve made friends with the local fish & game officer, and he calls us when there is a fresh killed game animal. Last fall we got a 170 lb doe which provided us with quite a bit of meat. (as well as sharing with neighbors and family)
Our small town (735 people) just purchased 311 acres of land along the Swift river both a town forest and agriculture land. We hope to make our town as self-sufficient as possible.
If you’d like to see our town, look for the new 2013 quarter that says New Hampshire and White Mountains on it. The design is of Mount Chocorua and the it’s lake. The view is from the town south of us but the mountain is in our town. The lake is pristine (they don’t allow motor boats on it) and is a blessing to swim, kayak or canoe in during the summer. People also set up Bob houses and ice fish there in the winter.
the pig square footage is way off unless you are using a breeding cage that is now being outlawed. Pigs enjoy grazing or ‘rooting’, companionship and should be given the same space as cows or goats. 1.5 acres is not enough to ‘live off the land’ and allow these animals enough grazing. If you buy their feed, then you are not ‘living off the land’. Allow at least 1/2 acre per animal (1-2 acres per cow) and have it ‘divided’ into 6 week grazing/growing sections. If there is drought, an eaten area will not recover as quickly, so figure in a LARGE sprinkler system not only for the garden but the ‘pastures’ as well. Watering minimally every 2 days on the pasture will allow it to keep up with grazing.
Phyllis Poole says
You bet someone can live off the land. You need food–with the 4 acres of pasture I have it is possible to raise cattle for meat and milk – or goats (I’m going into the dwarf cattle next), have some for yourself and sell the rest. Chickens for meat and eggs too. It is possible to plant fruit trees in the other 2 acres that I mow. And a vegetable garden provides much food for the freezer -or can it. It takes a family however to make this happen because it takes many hands. One person working away from home to start the little farm is almost necessary (unless you have lots of money to fall back on.) Bartering the produce is one way to make it work if you haven’t one of these outlets. It’s fun too!!
That’s a really interesting infographic. I wonder though, if it is based purely on conventional agricultural practices? My impression has been that using techniques like permaculture or even biointensive gardening you could increase yields significantly in less space. Is this at all realistic in your experience?
I think you are right and I’ll give you a good example. With my first Bacyard Nursery (photos here) http://www.freeplants.com/starting-a-plant-nursery.htm, I had about 1/20 of an acre in my backyard devoted to my nursery. As you can see from the photos it was pretty intensive, space well used. The last time I sold plants at that location I sold over $25,000 worth in just a few weeks.
So using things like bartering with other farmers growers you could do things that you could make really space intensive and trade for the things that you did not grow in your backyard.