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Complete Diet Garden/Farm  RSS feed

 
                  
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"West illustrates the problem by translating human life into watts. “A human being at rest runs on 90 watts,” he says. “That’s how much power you need just to lie down. And if you’re a hunter-gatherer and you live in the Amazon, you’ll need about 250 watts. That’s how much energy it takes to run about and find food. So how much energy does our lifestyle [in America] require? Well, when you add up all our calories and then you add up the energy needed to run the computer and the air-conditioner, you get an incredibly large number, somewhere around 11,000 watts. Now you can ask yourself: What kind of animal requires 11,000 watts to live? And what you find is that we have created a lifestyle where we need more watts than a blue whale. We require more energy than the biggest animal that has ever existed. That is why our lifestyle is unsustainable. We can’t have seven billion blue whales on this planet. It’s not even clear that we can afford to have 300 million blue whales.”

The historian Lewis Mumford described the rise of the megalopolis as “the last stage in the classical cycle of civilization,” which would end with “complete disruption and downfall.” In his more pessimistic moods, West seems to agree: he knows that nothing can trend upward forever. In fact, West sees human history as defined by this constant tension between expansion and scarcity, between the relentless growth made possible by cities and the limited resources that hold our growth back. “The only thing that stops the superlinear equations is when we run out of something we need,” West says. “And so the growth slows down. If nothing else changes, the system will eventually start to collapse.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/magazine/19Urban_West-t.html
 
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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@jmy - I totally agree, that these levels of consumption are not sustainable.

Another point about the watts usage is where the watts come from.  If you consume 10K+ watts, but it comes mostly from the sun (not fossil energy), it could be sustainable, as the sun provides a considerable amount of energy. The majority of consumers that are using 10K+ watts are using fossil watts, so that is where the question of sustainability comes in.

Someone in the Northern latitudes would be using more watts, mainly because of the heating required. 

But watts isn't everything. Vitamins and minerals are low on energy content, but they provide the tools for processing the energy efficiently in your body.  Someone who is deficient in vitamins or minerals would require more calories than someone who eats a balanced diet.
 
Posts: 517
Location: Eastern Kansas
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I would be interested in hearing more about the olives!

I have heard that, with the exception of olive oil, the olives must be processed. But, dried olives were mentioned, I think by Jmy?


How can olives be used easily, and were Russian olives used or were they the kind that grows on huge trees?
 
                  
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Most all canned olives that one buys have been chemically processed. 

Canning olives are picked green and turned black chemically.

Much of the olive oil is made from cannery rejects or made from green immature olives.

greek olives are salt curred

not sure there are dried olives on the market ?

http://tinyurl.com/24ke7np
 
Terri Matthews
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jmy wrote:

In addition (fresh and dried)...  Almonds , Figs , Apricots,Apples,Grapes, Dried Olives


 
                  
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Terri wrote:



these are the trees/vines for the complete diet garden

Olives were picked when fully ripe (dropping or birds eating)

dried in the sun

we are drying some this year also in a  greenhouse with solar fan  ...

http://tinyurl.com/2c2zp7t

http://tinyurl.com/2fj9f3w

 
Terri Matthews
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jmy wrote:
these are the trees/vines for the complete diet garden

Olives were picked when fully ripe (dropping or birds eating)

dried in the sun

we are drying some this year also in a  greenhouse with solar fan   ...

http://tinyurl.com/2c2zp7t

http://tinyurl.com/2fj9f3w


AH!

What will you do with them after they ared dried? How will you use them?
 
                  
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They are then stored to use through the coming year.

Just eat as is ......or add to stew/soup/casserole.

Or as we did ... also make into oil.
 
                        
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Brenda Groth wrote:

also I am not able to raise domesticated animals (but do have wild on the property)..but I would love to be able to work out a way to have chickens for eggs as we eat several dozen eggs a week now, and I would also like to have meat..but am thinking if I do it might have to be wild meat such as wild turkey, deer, rabbits and such..if I can convince someone here to do the hunting..if not I plan to work my pond up ito a larger fresher water pond and plant it to proteins..to make up for the protein that is lacking on our property.



Something nobody ever seems to mention is that some  domestic ducks are supposed to be better at laying eggs than most chickens are. Since you already have a pond, might they be an option?
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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First of all, hello Elizabeth!  If you're still reading this thread!
It seems like most everyone is talking about this 'perfect' place, and I'm sure they're out there.  I just don't live in that kind of area or climate.  If we had to depend on what was harvested this past year from our garden, we'd be getting pretty darn hungry now.  Plants survived just fine, but typical crops in my area just didn't do a thing until the end of the growing season.  So I'm focusing more on wild edibles, started sunchokes last year, starting another area with tiger lily, and always try to spread wild sunflower seed.  No nut trees on my property, one mulberry.  I planted a bunch of harvest peach trees and keeping my fingers crossed.  The grapes are surviving but a lot of plants don't like the alkaline soil here.

Most of the stuff that you guys are talking about won't do well on my property, and some just aren't worth the space, like corn (bugs, nasty worms, little yield).  A few free ranging hens for bug control, very little grains purchased for them in the winter.  It's worth it for the eggs, and they'll have a forever home here just for help in controlling bugs.
The main crops that are grown here are wheat, sunflower, milo and soybean.  But without equipment to undertake those, I better concentrate on wild edibles.
 
master pollinator
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Marianne, I'm certainly not on any perfect place!    It's very hard to grow food here.  Hot and dry mixed with floods and ice storms.    I have killed more kinds of plants than I can remember!

What kind of wild edibles are you concentrating on - which do you consider your staple foods?

 
                            
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Location: Abilene, KS
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We're far from being self sufficient, but I try to get a years supply of veggies from the garden every year.  Potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, etc...doesn't always work.  We eat a lot of eggs from the hens when we have enough chickens, but don't butcher.  From the garden, we eat more potatoes, onions and tomatoes than anything.  I make a lot of different tomato based foods - salsa, ketchup, chili sauce, etc.
Wild foods are new to our menu - dandelion. lambs quarter and sunchoke so far.  I found a good online source for identification of wild edibles in Texas, and although I'm in Kansas, I have a lot of the same weeds on my small acreage.  I'm looking forward to spring! 

We're 60-ish, so we won't be getting any critters except chicks in the spring.  Like so many others, time is limited, but every year I try to plant trees or some type of permanent edible.  Nature doesn't always agree.  This next spring I plan on starting a thicket of sand plums.  Just trying to put back what somebody probably killed out years ago - a small area at a time.
 
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Marianne wrote:
Wild foods are new to our menu - dandelion. lambs quarter and sunchoke so far.  I found a good online source for identification of wild edibles in Texas, and although I'm in Kansas, I have a lot of the same weeds on my small acreage.  I'm looking forward to spring! 



Hello I'm a neighbor if you are in eastern KS.

Nettles are better than most any wild green and better than most greens you can get at the market. I can't wait for the first early nettles to shoot up in the early spring/late winter. I also dry plenty of leaves to crush into foods in the winter too.
 
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"West illustrates the problem by translating human life into watts. “A human being at rest runs on 90 watts,” he says. “That’s how much power you need just to lie down. And if you’re a hunter-gatherer and you live in the Amazon, you’ll need about 250 watts. That’s how much energy it takes to run about and find food. So how much energy does our lifestyle [in America] require? Well, when you add up all our calories and then you add up the energy needed to run the computer and the air-conditioner, you get an incredibly large number, somewhere around 11,000 watts. Now you can ask yourself: What kind of animal requires 11,000 watts to live? And what you find is that we have created a lifestyle where we need more watts than a blue whale. We require more energy than the biggest animal that has ever existed. That is why our lifestyle is unsustainable. We can’t have seven billion blue whales on this planet. It’s not even clear that we can afford to have 300 million blue whales.”



This is quite an interesting way to look at things.  If we continue this line of thinking, considering peak daytime insolation is about 1000W/m2, and plant efficiency is about 1-2% for standard crop plants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthetic_efficiency)...

Then assuming we have a layered forest environment that could utilise 50% of the total sunlight, which has a daily average of 250W/m2, that gives us approx. 2W/m2 of energy captured as biomass.  This is probably over-optimistic as much of that biomass may not be useable by the human, and much of the useable biomass is probably lost in digestion.

Assuming the couch potato scenario, say 100W per human, we'd need 50 square metres (500 sq ft) of food production space.  11,000W would need 5,500 square metres, about one and a half acres.

Just a back of the envelope analysis but it does demonstrate the fundamental lower limit to productive space per human.
 
Hugh Hawk
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N.B. calculations on the site linked below indicate a real harvest of 1.75 W/m2 of food energy.  So my estimation is probably more or less accurate.

http://www.localharvest.org/blog/15945/entry/calories_produced_per_acre
 
master steward
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Helen Atthowe, Norris Thomlinson and Tulsey Latoski convey their very experienced opinion on how many acres does it take to feed one person when there are no external inputs.





 
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jmy McCoy wrote:Amongst his many findings were that a meat eater needed up to 10 acres to provide their annual food needs (depending on the types of meat they ate)



Robb Wolf points out that in the United States at the height of the buffalo, before the long hunters, the herds were on the order of 60-100 million. Given that they were unmanaged and living on prairie grass, we can argue that they were, in large part, sustainable. There are roughly 90 million cows in the USA these days (USDA), of which about 35 million were eaten. Wolf argues, and I'll be curious to hear everyone's take, that if we let all the aquifer-draining corn fields of the Plains return to prairie grass and turned out longhorns and beefalo to free range we'd have a healthier diet (grass fed beef vs industrial corn) and use less resources (since 35 row combine harvesters burn a bit of the diesel.)

Considering even things mid range on the Wheaton Eco Scale (aside from the shock of converting the prairie back to prairie) , like a change to 8 ounce steaks instead of 16 ounce (or 32 oz... mmmm), then have folks keep a victory garden and backyard chicken as a hobby (can we get the Kardashians to put up a multimillion dollar bejeweled henhouse for next season?) and recycling of the kitchen scraps, we may not NEED to feed everyone off of their own suburban lot.

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations wrote:At the back, there's a pig, and there are fowls and rabbits; then I knock together my own little frame, you see, and grow cucumbers; and you'll judge at supper what sort of salad I can raise. So, sir...if you can suppose the little place besieged, it would hold out a devil of a time in point of provisions.



The problem with self sufficiency is that I'm not a very good gardener, and Missouri weather doesn't cooperate; I dread that this week's
60 degree (15C) January will be punished with a bud killing ice storm in April. But I'm a cynic in my old age. If, as Norris described in the video, you can get 3-500 calories a day from your own resources, even with imports there seems to be a golden mean.

Verlyn Klinkenborg, Rural Life wrote: I have no illusions of attaining self-sufficiency. The only sufficiency I want is a sufficiency of connectedness, the feeling that horses, pigs, bees, pasture, garden and woods intertwine.

 
gardener
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travis laduke wrote:Don't make me thing about how much land my beer supply uses.



Heh. I'm growing barley for the first time this year. I've always heard "it's not worth it" to grow grain on a small scale... but that would be assuming you're using it to make bread or as a staple. In terms of brewing, it takes much less grain to make a decent amount of beer.

Last year I sprouted bulk wheat on the kitchen counter (my wife was not all that thrilled, especially since I used all her baking pans), dried it in the oven, ground it in a corona grain mill and made a drinkable, though light, beer. It was enough of a success that I decided to get barley and do the same.

My rather large family is doing decently on an acre in FL right now. During the growing season, we can go a long time between grocery trips. A couple of Nigerian Dwarf goats, a flock of chickens, a few ducks, a big garden, 70 fruit trees and lots of berry plants. Most of the system is still young, but I'm relatively certain we'll be able to eat completely off our land within a couple of years. I think the key to breaking through the "complete diet" barrier is a large and varied multi-stacked polyculture.

Of course, my idea of survival also includes homebrew and tobacco, so some of my prime land is going to those two pastimes. Your mileage may vary.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Vidad MaGoodn wrote: I'm relatively certain we'll be able to eat completely off our land within a couple of years.



What kind of cooking oil will you be producing? Will you be producing a sweetener?

 
David Good
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Duck/chicken fat, olive oil and sugarcane.

My main obstacle right now, however, is keeping my chickens fed well off the land. The tractors help right now, but I'm still bringing in feed. I'm starting a lot of amaranth, buckwheat, sorghum and other grains this year, scattered in profusion across my former lawn - and when my fruit trees come in completely, that will help as well.

In this zone, you can grow food year-round. In TN, this would have been much more difficult. There I relied on Jerusalem Artichokes as my winter forage. The pain... oh the pain...

 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you. I wish we could get more of an idea of the layout of your one acre, what fruit trees and other crops you're growing, etc. Just really would like a lot more details of how you get a complete diet for a large family from one acre....



 
David Good
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I should post some images. At this point, I've got stockpiles from Sam's Club and elsewhere of canned goods, rice, beans and that sort of thing to fall back on... though we could live on the land almost completely during the summer, there are certain things I'd miss. Coffee, for instance. Too hard to grow, but I do have an Ilex Vomitoria as a back-up caffeine source in case of failure.

The system is evolving. For more than a year, I've been planting fruit trees, along with nuts and shrubs. 30 blueberries, 40 blackberries, a few pineapple guavas and even a pair of papaya on my south wall that are still alive despite a 20F night a month ago. In the greenhouse right now are many nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs I've started from seed, along with nutrient accumulators/chop and drop plants like Tree Marigold (those things get 20' here!). I've also got sugar cane, lots of cassava, sweet potato slips, blueberry starts, pomegranates and citrus from seed, malanga and other various perennials waiting to go in the ground once the final frost chances are over. I'm building out from the trees, using them as anchor points, and letting the plants eat the lawn. I have high hopes for the velvet beans and Florida Cranberry as grass-choking chop 'n drop.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you.

 
pollinator
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I have found out that I am NOT diabetic ..the dr was mistaken, have checked my blood sugar and A1c for 2 years now..however still limit carbs a lot

so now I'm back to rethinking my plantings ..esp to the grains and roots again. so this year I am planting a lot of root crops again, a few potatoes yes and I have the Jerusalem Artichokes, but also putting in a lot of other roots like salsify, beets, parsnips, and several others, and am for the first time trying some small plots of grains (ordered seed but hasn't all come yet, so that is dependent on seed coming), some of the new seeds I've ordered are grain amaranth, hulless oats, hulless barley, grain rye and wheat. Am going to put in a small crop of OP sweet corn as well, plus a few other plants that have edible seeds (and of course edible seeds in things like squash and pumpkins )as I am attempting to increase proteins from my garden..and my nut crops should begin to bear this year.
 
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Ok, being newish to this forum I just finished reading this thread and can not help but spend my 2 cents worth on this discussion. I think its funny when people argue of missing nutrition as if the food we buy has much left and as if vitamins are even bio-available to us. I dont *think* you could get any worse growing your own food than any mass produced food. My grand parents were raised a generation backwards (by their grandparents) and they grew and ate corn, beans, potatoes, squash, okra, mustard greens, beets, onions, garlic, turnips, honey and chickens. They would purchase coffee,sugar,and some flower twice a year. They would also graze wild nuts & fruit trees ect. They lived like this for 98 years and never had ANY health problems. Than man could out work anyone at 70. Their land was zone 8 in deep poor sand. So in my mind all this bickering over not getting enough nutrients is silly. Oh, and like the Weston A Price book said is necessary, my grandparents soaked or fermented any grain before eating. Further, I think calorie requirements are another area of false ideas. I know a man that lives on about 1600 calories per day(based on what and how much I observed) never really eating a meal but snacking around the garden and he never tires like I do; even when manually digging a pond. He told me that his body adapted and became more efficient; that he is not hungry anymore. So in this information age what do we REALLY know?

Now one last gripe. All this, "gee it would be boring to east the same thing all the time," is crazy. Its not even an issue. Sure diet may be more limited than it is when buying food, but perhaps some people need something more to do in life? The only and true secret to life is to learn to be content with what you have. This is the core of the worlds problems. Always wanting more and getting more.. Endless consumption over boredom. Not sustainable. I agree with what a depression survivor said: "What this country really needs is a good depression to help get our heads on straight and out priorities in order."

I am working towards growing all my own food, but its taking a long time because I have hard rocky clay ground that takes a month to clear 100 square feet of growing space. Last year I was able to average 12 pounds of sweet potatoes per plant and if I tied all the vines I can get one plant in 4 square feet. However, I suspect any sustainable growing is going to require recycling of poop as china did for 4000 years and its going to require larger plots of land. Nature seems to rarely grow concentrated crops. While I can grow 600 fish per year 1800 gallons (13' wide pond) of pond using 180 watts of power in an aquaponic system, this would never happen naturally. Like-wise if you do bio-intensive growing its going to cost you a lot more energy. Weather its worth the .70 cents per fish it cost me to power and import feed for the fish is a matter of opinion. Hard work is good, but as some said here "we don't live in a bubble," and so trade is born.
,
 
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Dan alan wrote:I think its funny when people argue of missing nutrition as if the food we buy has much left and as if vitamins are even bio-available to us. I dont *think* you could get any worse growing your own food than any mass produced food.



That's my sentiments exactly. As a raw foodists I get all kinds of questions about where I get certain nutrients as if that person is fully confident that they themselves are receiving adequate amounts of the aforementioned nutrient or even that they know what an adequate amount is. I can confidentally tell you this though: my diet provides me much more nutrition than 99.9% of the people I know and any nutritional shortcomings in my diet certainly are not limited to only my diet but a wide variety of diets, including those that include animal products.
 
                  
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"THE PROBLEM
But does it work? That's a tricky question, because there has been no systematic evaluation of permaculture farming. There is no published research.There are plenty of books, magazines, and websites - but nothing in the scientific literature. Whether you are a policy maker, a struggling farmer, or an activist, you’re left with some questions that are very hard to answer: What really happens when permaculture is taken up as an approach to farming? What kind of impact has it had so far? How do we know?"

http://www.rockethub.com/projects/11800-changing-the-face-of-farming

 
                  
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Vidad MaGoodn wrote:Duck/chicken fat, olive oil and sugarcane.

My main obstacle right now, however, is keeping my chickens fed well off the land. The tractors help right now, but I'm still bringing in feed. I'm starting a lot of amaranth, buckwheat, sorghum and other grains this year, scattered in profusion across my former lawn - and when my fruit trees come in completely, that will help as well.

In this zone, you can grow food year-round. In TN, this would have been much more difficult. There I relied on Jerusalem Artichokes as my winter forage. The pain... oh the pain...



how are you making the olive oil ?
 
pollinator
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This is kind of an old thread - and its about the third or fourth of its kind that I've gone through, with many saying "it can't be done."  Well... it can be done, because we are doing.  We feed 6 people and one worker almost entirely off 2.5 acres.  I say 80% - it could be 100%, but there are a few "convenient" foods I like that I can't grow on the farm, or haven't tried to get yet.  I buy salt, honey, rice and cooking fat... and some spices.  But theoretically I could have bees and grow oil palms... I just haven't gotten there yet.  Our staple stuff:  sweet potatoes, cassavas, taro roots, cooking bananas, irish potatoes, squash, and maize.  We have a small fish pond with a small local type of tilapia, we have some mature avocadoes and mangoes that came with the land (thank you grandparents), papayas, passion fruits, guavas, pineapples, moringa, sugarcane, pigeon peas... plus the annuals I put in - about 7 varieties of green leafy veggies, bambura ground nuts, peanuts, beans, and whatever I'm experimenting with that season.  I am able to get 3 growing seasons because even during the drought season, we have an area of swamp that can be cultivated.  I also have chickens, Muscovy ducks, goats, and a cow.  (Sometimes we have pigs and hair sheep, but not at the present moment.)  The soil was and still is pretty terrible, and 2016 was really the first year that we were able to really eat significantly off the farm... its taken me five years to get to this point.  

Some things that bite us is our lack of preservation skills... which I've written about in other threads.  If we slaughter a large animal, we usually end up sharing it with all our neighbors because we are off grid and my little solar system can't run a freezer.  Am going to try drying some meat next time.  And some of it is laziness... for example, I could be preserving the fat from the ducks we slaughter and using it for cooking instead of buying cooking fat... but I just haven't been that motivated.

Sometimes eating off the land is boring as hell... and some foods get really old.  Like when the avocados are in season.. there are only so many avocadoes you can eat in a day.  And they are hard to sell, because many people in the village have their own avocado trees.  Luckily the animals love them and clean up all that we can't eat.

I'm sure I have an advantage because of the weather, and the water source in the "toilet bowl" swamp, and an ever abundant source of "biomass"... I know it would take a lot more land  in lesser weather conditions.  But I just wanted to throw in my two cents... that it is doable.
 
moose poop looks like football shaped elk poop. About the size of this tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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