How Much Land Do You Need to Live for a Year?

Have you ever wondered how much land you'd need to grow everything you'd need? You might be surprised at how much you can grown and supply in such a little space.

More and more people are turning away from grocery stores and utility companies in favor or their own back yard! The idea of becoming self-sufficient is an alluring one, but exactly how much land would you need? Assuming a family of four, here are the land requirements to sustain yourself for one year.

Check out this infographic below to see how much land you'd need to run your home on solar power, grow food, raise chickens, cows and more.

How big a backyard do you need to live off the land?

Source

20 thoughts on “How Much Land Do You Need to Live for a Year?”

  • Rebecca

    This would be my dream. Right now we have a large garden and 12 fruit trees. But we get our raw milk from a local dairy (5 miles away) for $2/gallon, we are so lucky. I can make cheese and butter, and kefir. We buy a whole cow in the fall, and split it with siblings. We may start doing that in the spring as well. We have learned to can and freeze our harvest, so while I am not there yet, one day I sure hope to be. I am learning all the skills I can so that I can be self sufficient.

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  • Thomas Walters

    This is a eye opener who has that much land for all of that these datable the money.

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  • jeannieC

    I would love to be able to afford to buy the land - after that I couldn't afford to do all that needs to be done in this lifetime. BUT - I CAN buy my meat and eggs from local small farms and am planning a small orchard and veggie garden. I know that veggies can be regrown after harvesting, so usually I can (now) get 2 crops per season. Getting better all the time :-)

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  • Blue Duck

    Some growing using hydroponics and going vertical can cut down considerably on the amount of space needed, simple to build from scratch, and even nutrients are easy to find to mix up on your own way less expensively than purchasing the commercially available versions [though somewhat more convenient as you start out]

    Intensive space gardening and successive crop planting through out the season will also cut back the needed room for plant production, as will growing your spuds in a garbage can/cage and mulching it so they grow deep [can get upwards of 50 pounds per can/cage]

    chickens penned under rabbit cages, or wormbeds under rabbits is another way to increase production and reduce the area needed and also reduce the odoriferous ammonia the rabbits produce.

    Great visual aide, though the amount of square footage for electricity production differes north to south, and the 375sqft of roof is not quite enough for North Central Idaho [though close]

    William

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  • Jackie

    Even using the Print Friendly Version you lose everything on the far right side of the page.

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  • Brandon

    I live in a suburb on 3/4 of an acre. Using raised 4'x4' beds I can better garden and not break my back. You also do not need the space to walk to intensive gardening is the only way that makes sense. Then add a hoop style green house and I'm good even into early winter. I have salad greens into november. Now I am in south PA but is still Brett's cold for zone 6.

    I keep chickens for eggs and meat. Super easy to raise them too. They eat almost anything that people eat. So any leftovers from dinner or fruit and veg that don't pass my standards go to them and they gobble it up. Especially the seeds of things, which is usually the part discarded anyway.

    Also fruit trees but that goes without saying. They are obviously perrenial but they are lots of perrenial veg not to be forgotten. As pages the most common but sea kale and many others are delicious as well as prolific producers.

    Last is electric. I have been systematically reducing my energy requirement over the past few years. Getting that down means an off grid system becomes smaller and more importantly cheaper. My system which now runs the house was less that $1500. Not the $30k tag that would sustain the "AVERAGE" home. Keep in mind I still have a fridge, chest freezer, tv, lights, and everything else that others have. I just came at it from a different angle.

    So it is possible on a budget. I'm not loaded, just creative.

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  • NameTerri

    Please note that this information is for the State of NY. Other areas of the country will require different amounts of land to reproduce the results of this graphic. As one reader noted, vertical growing and raised square foot gardening significantly reduces the land area. Also, raising livestock is not allowed in many areas. Be sure to check your local codes before you invest!

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  • b

    Brandon... Care to share more about your power setup and use?

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  • Brenda

    I came across this wonderful book titled "The Secret Garden of Survival" by Rick Austin. By incorporating his growing methods, I wonder if you could reduce the amount of required space, and the amount of man-hours needed to maintain your garden. Basically, he explains planting in guilds, placing plants together that have a symbiotic relationship, and growing in "three-dimensions." He also proposes planting once and harvesting year after year...just a thought :)

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  • joe thinker

    If you can grow your own food, so can commercial farmers. And you need not worry about food production. You need to plan for catastrophes that can cause a lack of food production such as drought, or contaminated water supplies, or lack of transportation to deliver food to you. Store water instead. Its easier, cheaper and you can use it to grow food, or trade for it.

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  • Amber Green

    This graphic is more pretty than accurate. I have seven hens and collect 5-6 eggs per day except in December through mid-February. Those seven hens need much more than 65 square feet of ground. They're overcrowded when I shut them up in the 100 sq ft pen. Four or five hens for four people would be a nice fit both production-wise and space-wise. Nine square feet per feeder pig is a tenth of the room they need. You want sick, destructive, angry, dangerous critters? Try to pen them up as tight as this graphic shows. And where in your calculations is the room to grow the food those critters need to eat?

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  • Jorge María MIRANDA - de la República Argentina
    Jorge María MIRANDA - de la República Argentina September 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Leo con mucha atención todas vuestras publicaciones, porque son muy útiles. Deseo que me sigan enviando sus correos. Pero, ¿porqué no utilizan el sistema métrico decimal y siguen usando las irracionales, anticuadas y abandonadas medidas inglesas, si hasta los ingleses las cambiaron?. Afectuosos saludos. JMM

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  • Johnny

    Just food for thought. As for water storage consider a swimming pool. Plenty for everything, and of course filtration devices for purifying. Also have a way to connect gutters to the pool for replenishing hen it rains, kind of like an old fashion cistern. Consider a solid cover as well to keep sunlight out and the water a little cleaner. This use of water of course is for emergencies. The land requirement for vegetable garden is a little high in my opinion. I have seen a 20x 40 garden yield enough vegetables for a family to freeze and store till next harvest with some left over. Naturally canning would be the better option to survive for a real shtf scenario. Brandon I would like to know more about your 1500.00 solar for your house

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  • Idaho Cary

    @Brandon - I too would love to learn about your solar system. I live in N. Idaho, so I imagine our weather is similar. Feel free to email me @ CaryRW at usa dot net.

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  • kathy

    Brandon, please share your ideas concerning solar. Kathy

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  • Nancy

    I love these posts!I'm a disabled widow who is planning a 'widow's co-op' with two other disabled widows. These posts are great to info me on some ideas we can use.

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  • Jake

    Two things to consider, although I have only done extensive research and hundreds of conversations with professionals, since I live in an apartment for now, In my opinion, Aquaponics is a superior method for growing the most in the smallest space. For those of you who do not know, it uses a fish tank and circulating the fish waste as fertilizer to the plants in a kind of "loop" system. So that you have fish and fruits and veggies available all the time. Please research for yourself. Regarding power, I intend to be completely off the grind soon and it is clear that efficiently storing the power generated by solar or wind is the key, since the most power is generated at mid day but is primarily needed in the evening. Great strides are being made in energy storage, but it is possible to use a house generator that automatically kicks in when stored energy is insufficient. I intend to use Biofuel that I produce myself, as fuel for the back up generator, but you can use stored propane, gas, diesel, etc. Please research for yourself.

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  • jake

    I found that the "Friendly Aquaponics" website is an amazing source of quality information. Their Aquaponics business is in Hawaii and incredibly smart and willing to help. Food for a family of 4 can be provided in a shockingly small space. Check it out.

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    • Jack

      Thinking ahead and planning for the future is admirable, but much of the current thinking neglects to address the vast number of people living in the arid southwest, whose primary need for self preservation and subsistence is WATER. This precious commodity is more precious than gold in dry areas. Wise use and re-use of domestic water and new water source development could be the key to our actually being able to have a future. There is no more critical issue facing us.

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  • Kim b

    We have 35 acres of cleared land we currently have up for sale makes me think maybe I should keep

    Reply
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