How much land would a community of 10 need to be sustainably self sufficient, including property tax? They would be doing permaculture and eating Pastured meat and dairy. No need for electricity. Are there any numbers to work with?
We are surrounded by nearly insurmountable opportunity -- Bill Mollison
This is a real common question that I get asked a lot by people who are planning on coming to Hawaii and live off the land. But there is no simple answer. There are a multitude of factors that effect the answer. So I reply with questions for the people to mull over and answer for themselves....
...what is the land like? It makes a big difference between flat, sloping, steep, all useable, waste land, wet, dry, desert, etc.
...what is the land's elevation?
...is the land adjacent to something that would effect productivity? In my own case, I live next to a macadamia orchard which supports lots of rats, who visit my farm and eat a certain percentage of my crops.
...does the location have particular pests or diseases that will effect your production?
...what is the predation pressure? Deer, groundhogs, feral pigs, wild sheep, etc? Hawks, bobcats, coyote, cougars, wolves, bear, etc?
...is there a water source other than rain? If just rain, is there enough annual rainfall? Are you capable of storing abundant water?
...what is the climate and weather like? Hot, cool, cold, dry, damp, wet, lots of sun vs cloudy, consistent moisture vs seasonal heavy rain/drought cycles, windy, etc. Are the air and soil temperatures sufficient to grow the things you want? How much daily average sun does the land get?
...what type of soil does the land have? Alkaline, acidic, sand, peat, silt, loam, clay, gravel, rocky, etc.
...is the soil already fertile or would it need a couple of years of soil building before it is productive?
...is the location ideal for the crops you plan to produce, or is it marginal?
...would you need to have buffer zones around the perimeter of the land?
...are there local resources to tap into? Sources for firewood, organic material for compost, manures or other high nitrogen sources, etc.
Importantly, what crops and livestock do you plan to produce? Maintaining dairy goats is different than maintaining dairy cows. Raising chickens as a meat source requires different amount of land than raising beef. Growing grains requires more land than growing veggies. Having orchards requires more land than gardens.
Also importantly, do the people already know how to produce food, process it, store it? A novice family on 100 acres could easily starve to death while an experienced family on an acre could thrive.
You say that you need to have a little income. How will that come from the land? Veggie sales, nursery sales, livestock sales, honey, crafts? Is there a market near that land?
There are many more questions to think about once you're considering a particular piece of land.
How much land do you need for 10 people? Anywhere from a couple acres to 200+
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com