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Aurélie abel
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Hi there,
We are in a transition where we are looking to buy some land for a homestead but are also thinking of selling products as well in the future. I wonder how much land, as a minimum, I would need to have both a variety of crops for the homestead and some specialists crop to sell. I know it all depends on soil type, how we do it and how much we would like to sell but trying to have an understanding of the land size difference between a homestead alone and one with a selling production area. Our goal is not self sufficient for everything, mainly veggies and fruits.
At the moment we are looking at land around 1500 square meter, house included for the homestead. We could probably find some agriculture land around later on but would we be able to get started on such a small piece of land?
Thanks for some examples or ideas.
Cheers
 
Matthew Lewis
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Location: Canada
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Can you describe what climate or location you are in? Growing zone, precipitation, approximate soil type? Etc.

Not all land is equal.
 
Lakota Myers
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I am interested in this topic. I am looking to buy a homestead myself with similar goals. I was wondering if 5 acres was about right. Here in Missouri, the land tends to be somewhat rocky and timbered. I am concerned I will have trouble finding land cheaply except fully timbered.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Jean-Martin Fortier has a great book about market gardening in Quebec on only 1.5 acres.
 
Matthew Lewis
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I think 5 acres of decent land will be enough just about anywhere and will give a family a lot options for how they want to manage their land.

Aurélie

1500 Square Meters is about a third of an acre. Curtis Stone has a lot of information on growing market gardens on small plots of land you can find him on YouTube and also some excellent podcasts at permaculture voices.

http://www.permaculturevoices.com/the-urban-farmer-show/

Personal I think a third of an acre is a bit too small. If climate and soil are decent I think 1 acre is about as small as I would want to go. That would let you have 1/4
Acre for vegetable plots, 1/4 for fruit and nut trees and small livestock, 1/4 for the home, garage, shop and other outbuildings (if you have a homestead you will probably have small machinery and stuff that needs to be built and maintained).

That will leave 1/4 acre left over to expand what projects are best suited for you so if market gardening (or whatever you are planning) does well you would have expansion room.

All that said Curtis Stone got started with no land so 1/3 acre home base should be sufficient if you can use other people's land to expand your production.
 
D. Klaer
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Location: Queensland Australia
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Definitely check out Curtis Stone. 1/3 of an acre is fine for quite a bit of production with the vegies but you can always have more space for fruit trees (and stock if you decide to add them). I wish I had 20 acres but currently work with my 1/2 an acre permaculture site. If I am honest with myself it will be a long time until I run out of space, a lot can be done with stacking. I grow big tropical trees too (mango, various sapote, avocado, jackfruit etc). Pruning works wonders in these situations and my climate allows for dense planting, I have plenty of sun. The limiting factor here is the limitations regarding stock but quail have been my answer and I raise them outside in tractors. I keep a few chickens too to keep the wife happy but if I am honest they have nothing on the quail, look into quail

With the intensive management possible in a smaller space you can really do a lot per meter and the beauty of an urban situation is that you can convert waste streams to be your inputs. Would love to follow your project when you get started.
 
Wayne Veasey
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Many of our gardens are less than 1/10th of an acre (~3,500) sq. ft. and we can grow a ton of food on those small plots. For each 3,500 sq. ft. garden, we can support about 15-20 weekly CSA shares per garden.

Not sure how much land you would need for animals and other homesteading practices, but the vegetable garden portion doesn't take much land at all to be profitable.
 
Marco Banks
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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If you really want to create a holistic system with hogs, chickens/turkeys/ducks, ruminants and space for a large market garden, I'd argue that 80 acres would be what you should be shooting for. 

But it all depends on where you live and what your plans are.  If you are planning to milk cows or goats for dairy products, then you need land.  A rotational grazing pattern of, for example, a half-acre a day, would require you to have enough land to only graze them two or three times a year across that land.  Thus, 60 acres of pasture, split into half-acre paddocks, would be 120 grazing days.  If you ran your stock across the same land 3 times a year, you would have enough land for a year. 

If you want to have income from timber, finished lumber and mushrooms, you'll need some forest (where you could also graze goats and hogs). 

You'll need enough land to take advantage of natural water resources—creating a pond or enhancing a natural spring so that it supplies your needs.  A pond would be a huge asset in raising ducks and perhaps even fish. 

80 acres may actually be too small.  Perhaps you'd want a quarter?  Farmland varies in cost, but lets go with an estimate of $4000 an acre.  If you bought an 80, that would be $320K.  If some of that is woodland, wetland and otherwise less desirable land, maybe you could buy an 80 for a quarter-million.  $250,000 at 4% interest works out to about $1200 a month on a 30 year mortgage.  That's reasonable --- you think you could make $1200 a month to pay for it?

Joel Salatin has a lot of good stuff to say about renting land, and then getting multiple "crops" off of it.  Plant your cash crop, with a grazable cover crop intermixed in the rows.  Once you've harvested it, graze cattle,  Run chickens behind them in an egg mobile.  And then get a second cover crop planted so that you can graze the land a second time.  That would be 4 passes over the same land in one year, and at the end of that year, the soil would be significantly improved, even though you've taken thousands of calories off of each acre.

How ambitious are you and how hard do you want to work? 
 
Maureen Atsali
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I have two and a half acres, and I have found it is about perfect for what I am able to manage by myself.  Oh I daydream of having 100 acres to play with, but in reality, I can barely keep up with what I have.

I saw s short Jeff Lawton clip about a successful urban farm that was I think 1200 sq meters.  Wagtail farm. I don't have a link, but you could search it on you tube of you are interested.

If you can afford it, I would definitely go for more land...even if you leave it as a fallow nature reserve until you want to use it.
 
Amit Enventres
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Location: Ohio, USA
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I think Paul did a video on this topic years ago too. My calcs and his interviews suggest 2 acres is a good homestead minimum size. That said, permaculture small scale technology has increased dramatically since then, so those numbers could have gone down. I know in CA there's a intensively planned suburban lot that provides the food needs plus a little extra of the family that lives there. I have 0.22 acres, about 0.1 or less is in garden and I'm in Ohio so about 8 month growing season. I expected, though the garden is still young, to get my fruits and veggies off it in the future for at least 6-8 months. Right now I'm struggling with soil quality, youthful quantity, time, and varmints. I also barter some of what I grow with an herbologist, breed my own seeds, have huge shading tree for wood, etc. because I'm experimenting on how far sustainable I can go.
 
Chris Barrows
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Location: Western Side Of The Great Oak Savanna
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John Jeavon produces a full years worth of food for 1 person on about 1/4 acre, but there are many details.

He's in a year-round growing condition in California.

He's veganish, as far as I can tell and hence has no animals as far as I know.

His garden is EXTREMELY intensive.

Personally, I would go for a minimum of 10-20 acres as some areas have zoning regulations for lands of 5 or fewer acres.
 
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