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self-sustaining questions  RSS feed

 
clint griffeth
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I am new to permaculture. What is the first book I should read. Also, I am looking to purchase some land in south west Tennessee and start my own farm. I know Paul says, "90% of your own food and $200,000 a year." How much land is he talking about? I KNOW there are a lot of variables. I just want an idea. The property would be for one large family, one small family, and possibly a couple of interns, probably 12 to 15 people in all. Would 25 acres be enough? 50? Again, I know there is not a definitive answer, but I would just like to hear some opinions. I plan to work "off the farm" for income for at least two years, but I would like to farm full time eventually. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks and God bless,
Clint Griffeth
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I'm not sure what the $200,000 a year is for, but we have lived on $5,000 a year on our property in the past ..tight but made it...not sure what that is referring to.

At this point in time I have had to replant our property as we had a lot destroyed in a housefire so I'm not yet back up to producing as much of our food as we have in the past, as our newly planted fruit trees are just starting to bear again..but if you plant fruit and nut trees and bushes as well as berries, roots and a lot of perennial or self seeding vegetables..you should be able to provide a lot of your food in a few years..the trees and shrubs take a little longer so get those in first.

the Bill Mollison books are good but I would recommend for a quick read also gaia's garden by Toby Hemenway..you can do a search on here for his threads and also generally you can find his book at the bottom of the page to order
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1363
Location: northern California
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I would allocate 1/3 to 1/2 acre of cleared garden area per person for vegetables and starch crops. That much more for fruit, if you're into fruit. Quite a few poultry, rabbits, etc. can fit into this area as well. Grazing/browsing animals will take more....an acre of bushland per goat, five for a cow, more or less. Your diet will determine these, of course, or perhaps the desire to produce income from these (marketing could also increase the area of garden, too...I'm thinking subsistence). Livestock, particularly goats, can make a yield from rough land otherwise not much use.
Another issue to consider is energy. If you plan to heat with wood, you'll need to research expected yields of a given area of woodlot, versus amounts needed to heat buildings of a given size and construction. Lots of people (myself at the moment included) make intensive use of a small holding and obtain, by whatever means, additional resources from off site. Gathering firewood and hunting are two examples that come first to mind. Alder Burns
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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another consideration ..here I have dozens of fruit trees that becasue of a very very warm spring have already produced fruit buds, and we have 15 degrees here this morning..which means it is likely we could lose all or a huge part of our fruit crop to these strange temps..so being self sustainable..well weather can change all your plans..

we probably will lose fruit on all the pears, cherries, peaches, apricots, plums, and peaches at least this year and possibly the hazelnuts and others.
 
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