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Feeding a family of four

  • Subject: [cg] Feeding a family of four
  • From: "Sharon Gordon" gordonse@one.net
  • Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 12:48:10 -0400

On a group working to increase the amount of local food available in the
community a question came up about how much land it would take to feed a
family of four all their food.  The only hard data I could supply were from
the work of John Jeavons and Albie Miles with the qualifiers that the data
was based on a minimalist vegan, biointensive, US-PNWish growing conditions
and an eight month growing season without four season harvest techniques.

I'd like to encourage people to use permaculture techniques in addition to
biointensive ones.

Does anyone have intensive data from Jeavons, Square Foot, Lasagne, French
Intensive, Asian style or similar style gardens?  Even things like "our
family of five grows 60 % of our food on X square feet with an 8 month frost
free season would help.

What sort of baseline answers could I give from a permaculture perspective
along with other more permaculture oriented qualifiers for people with
vegan, vegetarian, or meat/fish included designs?  I'd be interested in
answers from people who are trying to see how small of a foot print they can
grow all or a nearly complete diet on.  And I'd be interested in answers
that go beyond immediate food needs to include other items that might be
grown for household use like:

On X acres(hectares, rods, square feet) we feed four family members and an
average of 1.5 visitors per
day on 2/3 of what we grow and sell the rest of the food.  Last year we grew
a total of  D pounds/kilos of food.  The X acres also supply all the
compost/fertilizer for the food crops.  On Y acres we grow all our cooking
and heating wood, cutting Z cords per year.  On B acres we grow medicinal
herbs, dye plants, plants for scenting soap, oil plants for soap, basket
materials, fiber for all household plant based cloth needs, fiber for half
of our paper needs, and stakes for the garden.  On C acres we graze a herd
of nE and nF.  We use one E each year for meat and to make replacement
shoes.  We use fiber from the Fs for other clothing and household textiles.
We make cheese from the milk of the Es and Fs.  We sell the extra Es and Fs
to maintain the herd size.  We have a G acre pond which provides us with H
pounds/kilos of fish a year and J ducks.  We harvest K pounds/kilos of wild
rice from the pond edges each year.

On X acres we feed four family members and an average of 1.5 visitors per
day on 2/3 of what we grow and sell the rest of the food.  Last year we grew
a total of  D pounds/kilos of food.  The X acres also supply all the
compost/fertilizer for the food crops.  On Y acres we grow all our cooking
and heating wood, cutting Z cords per year.  On B acres we grow coppiced
willow which we sell/trade for all our other household nonfood items and the
few food items we use that don't grow in our area such as chocolate, coffee,
tea, bananas and vanilla.

So any ideas you could give about a food oriented amount of land or a
solution that includes more than food would be a great help.  Thank you!

Sharon
gordonse@one.net


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