I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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Ludi wrote:

... I'm not sure it would be very healthy to get most of one's calories from alcohol.      Calories in the form of alcohol are also easy to store and protect from varmints.


No, getting most of the calories from alcohol is a bad idea. One to two drinks a day could have health benefits for many, that is around 200 calories for a beverage that has most of the sugar fermented out of it.

Kitchen efficiency is a bit of a trap.  Many of the nutritional deficiencies that are common in western societies are due to the fact that veggies are not 'kitchen efficient' ... they are not concentrated foods that are very filling, and not enough of these are eaten.  Ramen noodles, sugar-sprinkled breakfast cereals and other junk food are very efficient from that perspective, and the average person eats too much of these calorie rich, nutrient poor foods. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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I agree.  I have given up many of the kitchen efficient foods (grains) except some alcohol in the form of wine  I'm on the "paleo diet", which is basically meat + vegetables, though I am also eating some dairy.  I break the grain fast once a week on the weekend for "pizza night" - home-made pizza - a ritual of nearly two decades. 

The paleo diet I'm on:  http://www.nerdheaven.dk/~jevk/paleo_intro.php#menus
 
                  
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so this thread has turned into a alcohol and animal flesh thread ...  typical
 
jacque greenleaf
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Typical of what?
 
                  
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permaculturists importing most of their food and drink  and talking about being sustainable
 
jacque greenleaf
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So you think sustainability is the same thing as self-sufficiency? What about trade, including barter, within a community? That's not sustainable?
 
Tyler Ludens
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jmy wrote:
permaculturists importing most of their food and drink  and talking about being sustainable


Not sure how that comment is relevant to this discussion.


Many of us are not as far along in self-sufficiency or sustainability as you.  Are we therefore not allowed to talk about it?  We have to be perfect or not discuss these topics?  That doesn't seem fair.  It seems unlikely that in your first few years of growing food you were 100% self-sufficient and sustainable.  Many of us are here to learn.  We're not here because we're perfect. 

Talking about our present diets is relevant to our plans and work toward the sustainable diets we want to be eating.  Talking about alcohol and how much should be consumed is relevant. If, for instance, we grew a lot of apples but had no way to store them, we might want to make them into hard cider to store for a long period.  How is that not sustainable? 
 
Kay Bee
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JMY:  If you could answer these questions that I asked before, it may help move the discussion along.  it's clear that you have had a very different experience and it would be helpful to have more complete information.  Once we have an idea of your spacing between plants, yields, timing of planting to harvest, maintaining soil fertility methods, etc... it provides a better framework for discussion.

SouthEastFarmer wrote:
Can you give us some idea of what your yields were like for each of these crops?  What did you do with the crop residue for each?  Did you succession plant for any of the annuals?  This can make a huge difference in how much growing space is required.

 
                  
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My apologies ...  i really don't understand the term "sustainability"   ....  I did not write down my yields.

Corn was spaced approx 18"  -  hand planted,hoed (cultivated) and harvested.

Beans were seeded with a push seeder and cultivated with a push cultivator and hand hoe.

Apples were eaten fresh or dried but mostly made into vinegar

We did have Cabernet Sauvignon ,Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel for wine.

Crop residue was left in the plot ...plots were rotated and left fallow

We did not import nutrients or plant material.

We did not have animals







 
Kay Bee
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If you don't know the yields, how did/do you gauge that you will have "enough"? How do you decide how much to plant for each crop?

Were certain varieties (corn, beans, etc...) more successful for you?  Did you plant more than one variety of each type of crop?

It sounds like you had a lot of fruit/nut trees and vines.  Were these planted in a separate area or did you plant the annuals as an understory?

In addition to the crop rotation, and leaving fields fallow, did you use any green manure crops to maintain fertility or plant other nitrogen fixing plants besides the beans?

I'm curious regarding the 2.5 acres/adult size - you may have mentioned the total size of your property and I missed it.  Was this the amount of land you had to work with, or what you ended up using or needing from a larger parcel?

I understand that you did not have animals (does that mean no hunting, either?), however, several of us have pointed out that animals can and are incorporated into peoples diets/garden using small plots of land.  Are you still dismissing animals as options in general?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks for giving a few more details, jmy.  Your way of growing food seems to use a lot of space.  There's nothing wrong with the way you do it, but there are other ways some of us are trying which may take less space.  I'm not sure if you're interested in what we're trying, or if you're trying to convince us your way is best, or really what you hope to accomplish here.  I hope you are here to share ideas and knowledge. 
 
Burra Maluca
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SouthEastFarmer wrote:
If you don't know the yields, how did/do you gauge that you will have "enough"?


Am I really the only one who never measures anything? 

You plant what you think will be a decent amount.  If you feel you would have liked more, you plant more next time.  If you have stuff left over, you either find another use for it or you plant less next time.  If you're working too hard in the garden, you find things to grow that need less looking after. If you have time on your hands and love working in the garden, you experiment with more things.  If your yields are poor because your soil is poor, you shift attention to soil building.  If your yields improve because your soil has improved and you end up with too much, you plant less.  Or feed the surplus the donkey, or the chickens, or the neighbours. 

Sometimes I measure things afterwards, just to demonstrate something or other to other people. For example, four adults produced 1 cubic metre of humanure which was spread on 30 square metres of vegetable garden at a depth of approx 3.3 cms.  But I didn't work it out in advance - I just built compost compounds that stretched from fingertip to fingertip, shoved everything in there for a year, made a bed the right sort of width and barrowed the finished compost out till it was all used up.  With humanure and veg beds I could go back and measure and produce figures for you.  But no way could I do that with produce.  I pick whatever is ready in the garden until I think I have enough for a meal.  I collect whatever eggs are around and decide to have omelets, or not, according to how many I collect.  When there's a surplus cockerel around we have a chicken dinner.  If I think we're not eating enough chicken, I make a note to hatch a few more eggs out. 

I find that attempting to figure out yields in advance is a fools errand.  You don't *know* how many cabbages will grow on a patch of land till you've tried it, and you certainly won't know how well they will grow.  The only way to find out is to try it.  And then you'll know whether or not it was 'enough'. 

My other half's pearl of wisdom on the matter, "If you haven't got enough of one thing, you just pick something else" just about sums it up for me. 
 
                  
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The first year we grew too much  ...  the next year we got better ...but still had a comfortable surplus back up.

we prepared/ate germinated corn everyday.  365 days 

each corn plant averaged 1 1/2 ears ...  so 1 1/2 ears/day/adult
 
Kay Bee
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@JMY
ok - so with 18" spacing, figure at least 400 plants to give some overage, comes out to around 600' of row.  Maybe a generous 3' spacing of rows and at least 4 rows for good pollination... comes out to around ~ 2000sq ft of planting to corn.

Can you share any info with regard to my other questions?  Still trying to figure out where that other 58,000 sq ft goes.

@Burra
I imagine there are plenty of folks who don't try and measure things.  BUT, if I were trying to provide all of my own food, or I were to try and tell others how much space it took to do it, I'd feel it was somewhat important to have an idea on yields.

I don't think it is a fool's errand to try and predict yields.  I don't think it's easy to try and get down to exact numbers, but once you have grown in an area for awhile it is not hard to get a pretty useful estimate.  All depends how much you care, i guess.
jmy wrote:
The first year we grew too much  ...  the next year we got better ...but still had a comfortable surplus back up.

we prepared/ate germinated corn everyday.  365 days   

each corn plant averaged 1 1/2 ears ...  so 1 1/2 ears/day/adult
 
                  
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SouthEastFarmer wrote:
If you don't know the yields, how did/do you gauge that you will have "enough"? How do you decide how much to plant for each crop?

Were certain varieties (corn, beans, etc...) more successful for you?  Did you plant more than one variety of each type of crop?

It sounds like you had a lot of fruit/nut trees and vines.  Were these planted in a separate area or did you plant the annuals as an understory?

In addition to the crop rotation, and leaving fields fallow, did you use any green manure crops to maintain fertility or plant other nitrogen fixing plants besides the beans?

I'm curious regarding the 2.5 acres/adult size - you may have mentioned the total size of your property and I missed it.  Was this the amount of land you had to work with, or what you ended up using or needing from a larger parcel?

I understand that you did not have animals (does that mean no hunting, either?), however, several of us have pointed out that animals can and are incorporated into peoples diets/garden using small plots of land.  Are you still dismissing animals as options in general?


Our first corn came from a Cherokee man from Oklahoma ...  we selected the best plants every year for next years seed

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3608/3642301136_efb3e03418_z.jpg?zz=1

Pinto beans were the staple but we tried small plots of various other varieties but never equaled pintos

squash , seasonal vegetables, and the trees / vines  mentioned above

No cover crops except fallow crop weeds.  plots sometimes left fallow for 3 years

No importation

No animals ...  no hunting ..  requires more land ...  they require daily calories also.

Raising animals and importing feed is not IMO growing food.

I did grow some potatoes but not as a staple ...  more of just an experiment ... storage is an issue for year round consumption.

For those saying they can or have grown their own food  ...  I was just wondering what the daily / weekly diet was ? breakfast , lunch , dinner ?  snacks ?

Like pork and ?? ... everyday ??

we did not buy or import any calories
 
Abe Connally
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Animals do not require more land.  Here is a basic permaculture principle: stacking functions.  What happens to corn stalks/leaves?  Feed them to the goat.  What happens to weeds in the garden?  Feed them to the rabbits.  What happens to kitchen waste? feed it to the pig/chickens or go earthworms >> pigs/chickens.  Meat is a much more dense form of nutrition, even compared to corn, so if you can produce some meat from the waste of your efforts, you increase your efficiency by a good margin.

Stacking functions increases efficiency in general.  I have yet to see any plants grow as well on pure veggie waste compost as they do with animal manure + veggie waste.

Now, I am a big fan of no importation, but in practice, it is actually less sustainable.  Supporting the businesses of your neighbors increases the sustainability of your community, which, in turn, increases your efficiency and sustainability.  There is definitely a limit, but trade/commerce for certain items within 5 miles from your property is not a bad thing. Supporting your local community helps to develop a local stability that helps everyone.

I do question a corn/grain based diet as far as health goes.  Depending on mostly grain can bring on the diseases of civilization (heart disease, diabetes, etc) because of the large starch intake.

That said, Robert Hart raised a considerable amount of food on 1/8 an acre using Forest Gardening/Stacking Functions techniques.  Animals should be a part of any homestead, they really help with the process of nutrients while producing an energy dense food.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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velacreations wrote:
Animals do not require more land.  Here is a basic permaculture principle: stacking functions.  What happens to corn stalks/leaves?  Feed them to the goat.  What happens to weeds in the garden?  Feed them to the rabbits.  What happens to kitchen waste? feed it to the pig/chickens or go earthworms >> pigs/chickens.  Meat is a much more dense form of nutrition, even compared to corn, so if you can produce some meat from the waste of your efforts, you increase your efficiency by a good margin.

Stacking functions increases efficiency in general.  I have yet to see any plants grow as well on pure veggie waste compost as they do with animal manure + veggie waste.

Now, I am a big fan of no importation, but in practice, it is actually less sustainable.  Supporting the businesses of your neighbors increases the sustainability of your community, which, in turn, increases your efficiency and sustainability.  There is definitely a limit, but trade/commerce for certain items within 5 miles from your property is not a bad thing. Supporting your local community helps to develop a local stability that helps everyone.

I do question a corn/grain based diet as far as health goes.  Depending on mostly grain can bring on the diseases of civilization (heart disease, diabetes, etc) because of the large starch intake.

That said, Robert Hart raised a considerable amount of food on 1/8 an acre using Forest Gardening/Stacking Functions techniques.  Animals should be a part of any homestead, they really help with the process of nutrients while producing an energy dense food.


Thank you!  You said some things I was thinking -- saved me some typing!

Kathleen
 
Kay Bee
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agreed.  I think the conversation is at a finishing point for me.  I had hoped to learn something, but I'm not getting anywhere.

I'll agree to disagree with you JMY.  I hope you get to visit some permaculture sites and keep an open mind.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Taking a formularic approach to this seems very problomatic.I live on a relativaly recent alluvial deposit that easily leaches organic matter.My soil rates at 1/5 the production of soil less than a mile from me.Furthermore,I am surrounded by mountains,making perhaps less than 5% of the land around me suitable.It might also be dangerous to only eat off of one soil type as minerals might be lacking.But I live in a very diverse location.I spend most of my time outdoors even in winter and consume easily twice the calories of my more sedentary land mates.The west coast is renowned for summer drought so hopfully the caloric expence of irrigation is included and I am on the paleo diet and would rather just die than eat potatoes and corn for my sustinance.
 
                                      
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Using the stats I've gathered here, and in other articles and books I've read, using Farmer Tree guilds on my place to grow my food will take eight full guilds.  I had previously figured thirty-two for my small family.  I think I'll stick with that.  As for acres... I have thirty-two trees, properly spaced for light, bermed at the dripline and guilds abuilding with six semi-dwarf fruit trees and at least twelve berry bushes per guild, and I am only using about one and three quarters acre total.  I still have room for chickens, pigeons, goats and a couple of hogs, mushrooms, fish in the ponds and some nice things in my greenhouse.

I have ten acres of second growth Oak and Hickory forest, upon which I could "survive" if I had to on just what grows there naturally.  I know this because I have had occasion to put it to the test.  I say "survive" because these ten acres already produce the calories I need to keep on living.  Liking it?  I didn't say that.  Even when my guilds are popping, however, I do not expect that I will be able to produce all that I "want" from my place.  I like too many items that can only be produced in other climates.  But if speaking in terms of calories really means survival, I could do it. 

My ancestors survived from generation to generation this way.  They were also almost always hungry.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Mt.goat wrote:
Taking a formularic approach to this seems very problomatic.I live on a relativaly recent alluvial deposit that easily leaches organic matter.My soil rates at 1/5 the production of soil less than a mile from me.Furthermore,I am surrounded by mountains,making perhaps less than 5% of the land around me suitable.It might also be dangerous to only eat off of one soil type as minerals might be lacking.But I live in a very diverse location.I spend most of my time outdoors even in winter and consume easily twice the calories of my more sedentary land mates.The west coast is renowned for summer drought so hopfully the caloric expence of irrigation is included and I am on the paleo diet and would rather just die than eat potatoes and corn for my sustinance.


Could you list out what you grow that you consider staple foods/calorie crops (like jmy has corn as his staple)?

Interested in what others are growing as their main calorie crops.

 
Matt Ferrall
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I have at least 200 nut trees(oldest 10yrs old)which should start really coming on in the next 10yrs.Double that #of fruiting shrubs and vines which are very slow to bear on the poor soil here.I have over the years grown 1 or 2 hundred #s of certain veggies(parsnips,squash)but its much more efficient for me to trade my labor at an organic farm 1mile away in the good soil.Ive planted over 1500 cedar trees to draw in wild deer and elk for winter harvest(this is working great as a draw due to the lack of cedars near me and them being a favorite food source)And of course all accompaning management is a draw as well.Ive eaten all manner of wildlife from wild bird eggs to insects.I could go on but really its ubsurd because I have lots of space.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks, mt goat, so would you say wild meat is your staple food?

 
Matt Ferrall
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No because Im an opertunist and their are lots of give aways plus friends with food stamps.But the wild meat I do get provides a large portion.Im not keeping track of stats because Im too busy doing.I figure if I just keep planting and managing than eventually there will be alot more food.My soil would not grow corn without outside inputs for even one year.There are too many variables to sort this all out.I dont even totally know which nut trees do good yet.I think its dangerous to eat off of one space and avoiding localised trade has little historical presadent.Ultimatly though,its also about quality of life and limiting my consumption to the confines of "my property"would constitute a reduction in that quality.Polycultures are at a distinct disadvantage here because they are less easy to quantify and measure than annuals.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ok, I'm just trying to get a sense of what people are growing or foraging/hunting etc for the bulk of their calories. 

 
                  
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Ludi Ludi wrote:
Ok, I'm just trying to get a sense of what people are growing or foraging/hunting etc for the bulk of their calories. 




I would like to know also  ...  what is the diet that is being grown ?

If hunting /foraging what % is animal ?  How much land ?


Peter Goodchild writes .....

"In North America up to about the 50th parallel, the most important crops would be open-pollinated corn, beans, and squash - the same crops on which the native people were living for thousands of years."

http://www.countercurrents.org/po-goodchild040906.htm
 
                  
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velacreations wrote:
Animals do not require more land.  Here is a basic permaculture principle: stacking functions.  What happens to corn stalks/leaves?  Feed them to the goat.  What happens to weeds in the garden?  Feed them to the rabbits.  What happens to kitchen waste? feed it to the pig/chickens or go earthworms >> pigs/chickens.  Meat is a much more dense form of nutrition, even compared to corn, so if you can produce some meat from the waste of your efforts, you increase your efficiency by a good margin.

Stacking functions increases efficiency in general.  I have yet to see any plants grow as well on pure veggie waste compost as they do with animal manure + veggie waste.

Now, I am a big fan of no importation, but in practice, it is actually less sustainable.  Supporting the businesses of your neighbors increases the sustainability of your community, which, in turn, increases your efficiency and sustainability.  There is definitely a limit, but trade/commerce for certain items within 5 miles from your property is not a bad thing. Supporting your local community helps to develop a local stability that helps everyone.

I do question a corn/grain based diet as far as health goes.  Depending on mostly grain can bring on the diseases of civilization (heart disease, diabetes, etc) because of the large starch intake.

That said, Robert Hart raised a considerable amount of food on 1/8 an acre using Forest Gardening/Stacking Functions techniques.  Animals should be a part of any homestead, they really help with the process of nutrients while producing an energy dense food.


Animals , like us , require calories ...  those calories have to come from soil , water, and photosynthesis...  that requires space.

Eating animals requires an extra step ...  Entropy ...  and requires additional soil , water , and photosynthesis.

I am not opposed to eating animal products but it does require the above.

Seeds are the best storage, and calorie dense food. 

I agree that too much starch can be detrimental..  But sprouting can change that. 
 
Abe Connally
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Animals , like us , require calories ...  those calories have to come from soil , water, and photosynthesis...  that requires space.

Eating animals requires an extra step ...  Entropy ...  and requires additional soil , water , and photosynthesis.


That assumes that you are currently using all of the nutrients and space to the full potential (which is very rare).

My earthworms don't require more space or additional calories from my garden.  They are stacked in the sames space and nutrient cycle.  They are taking advantage of otherwise unused calories/space.

Additionally, chickens feeding on weeds and earthworms don't require more space or calories, either.

That is the essence of stacking functions and making cycles more efficient, you make use of otherwise wasted nutrients and/or space.
 
Irene Kightley
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...chickens also eat a lot of pests and they spread their own contribution to the soil as they go as well as giving us eggs and good meat and eventually bones for their final resting place.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Is this a debate about what we should be growing?  Or what is this conversation about, actually?

What is the purpose of this discussion?



Is this supposed to be convincing us we shouldn't be practicing permaculture?  Or what?

Sorry, just kind of confused, I guess.

 
                          
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jmy wrote:
It comes down to soil and photosynthesis.

You have to have enough of each

raising animals is not growing your food if your are importing feed



http://www.theoildrum.com/user/oldfarmermac/stories_with_comments
 
                          
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jmy wrote:
It comes down to soil and photosynthesis.

You have to have enough of each

raising animals is not growing your food if your are importing feed

http://www.theoildrum.com/user/oldfarmermac/stories_with_comments
It depends.  If your animals produce a marketable excess then the outside inputs will be offset by export.  After all, we do not live in a bubble.  Excess meat, eggs, and milk can be sold, or fed to other livestock.

Think about it.  You raise a pig.  Half of it's diet comes from farm produce and half comes from purchased feed.  If you sell half of the pig and it covers the purchase of off site feeds it is a zero net/loss proposition. 
 
Kirk Hutchison
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  I'd say its best not to worry too much about squeezing the maximum yield out of the property right away. Just set up a nice little starter system and see what happens. Always keep an eye open for empty niches. The unused coarse alfalfa stalks are an example of this. If you have a slug problem, get ducks. If you have a grasshopper problem, get turkeys. Plant things all over the place. Grow vines up trees and buildings. Your yields will always be increasing.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Like I said before,quantifying a permi garden is probably impossible.What % of a wild animal was grown on "your "land?What % of the deer someone else harvested came from "your"land?Tree crops?People are always disapointed if I cant say that I am growing a large % of my food.What does a forest garden dinner look like 5yrs in?:It looks like vegies from down the road to me.Every vegi I grow myself means less time for growing trees. What about building materials and medicine?its easy to outsource everything else to make the food #s look good.Corn,beans ,and squash were only grown in suitable areas for them(summer rain)which is really only a small %of NA(20%?).Irrigation has a big caloric expense!If imporing grain is justified by exporting meat,than factory farms would be sustainable.
 
Ed Waters
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I'm not sure if this helps, but I have a study that was done in the UK called.

Self-sufficiency on a vegan diet: the land needed.  I know I found it on the internet but I cannot recreate it, in fact it is done on a typewriter and scanned.  It even includes herb plot and compost heap in the area required.  Vitamins, minerals and amino acid requirements are also considered.  They also supply yields per acre or square yard for all plants considered.

Their conclusion:  It is theorectically possible to supply the food needs of an average adult on a singularly uninspiring diet from a quarter of an acre of average land using only organic inputs.

If anyone wants to see the details, I will try and scan it and find a way to put it up here, if I cannot put it up here, I'll post it to our blog.

Ed
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ed, that looks a lot like the work done by David Duhon for the book "One Circle" in which a nearly complete vegan diet can be raised on about 1000 square feet (more for men).  This space doesn't include room needed to grow compost ingredients.  The design is based on Biointensive techniques so the total amount of land needed per person is about 4000 square feet or 1/10 acre.
 
                  
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Ed wrote:
I'm not sure if this helps, but I have a study that was done in the UK called.

Self-sufficiency on a vegan diet: the land needed.   I know I found it on the internet but I cannot recreate it, in fact it is done on a typewriter and scanned.  It even includes herb plot and compost heap in the area required.  Vitamins, minerals and amino acid requirements are also considered.  They also supply yields per acre or square yard for all plants considered.

Their conclusion:  It is theorectically possible to supply the food needs of an average adult on a singularly uninspiring diet from a quarter of an acre of average land using only organic inputs.

If anyone wants to see the details, I will try and scan it and find a way to put it up here, if I cannot put it up here, I'll post it to our blog.

Ed



I would like to see the report or a link to it.

Was it Kenneth Mellanby ?

again  , like Jeavons , Duhon , etc.  these are all "back of the envelope" extrapolations.

http://www.landshare.org/reports/sample_report.pdf

I read David Duhon study but he never tried it as a total diet.  He was basing most of the diet on Hazelnuts.

Where are these people ?  would like to contact them...  have questions.
 
Tyler Ludens
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jmy wrote: He was basing most of the diet on Hazelnuts.


There wasn't one diet, there were a few.  Not all contained Hazelnuts.

A Woman's Prototype Diet:  Potatoes,sunflowers,onions,turnips,parsnips,garlic

A Man's Prototype Diet:  Filberts(hazelnuts),potatoes,collards,parsnips,garlic

1400 square foot Diet A: Wheat,garlic,sunflowers, potatoes, onions, parsley, turnips, collards, parsnips, filberts

1400 square foot Diet B: Sweet potatoes, soybeans, potatoes, sunflowers, peanuts, turnips, onions, wheat, parsley, garlic, leeks

Reference:  One Circle by David Duhon

Seems like one can base one's diet on hazelnuts if one wants to, just as one can base one's diet on corn if one wants to.


 
                  
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Land required for Vegan Self sufficiency (slight return) (fwd from Plants For A Future elist)

"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) a
vegetarian up to 2 and a half acres (depending on the amount of dairy
produce they consumed) and a vegan one fifth of an acre. These findings were
average figures based on the population as a whole. They were also based on
average conventional (not organic) agricultural yields."

http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/vegetarian-forum/1143195-land-required-vegan-self-sufficiency-slight-return-fwd-plants-future-elist.html
 
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Who cares about studies? You can find a study to support virtually any argument or theory. The handy thing about these message boards is you can ask other members to tell of their experiences  and very often get much more down to earth answers.
 
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