By Michael Smith (Veshengro)
With food prices at an all-time high at this present time (and stirring up social unrest worldwide), and with no sign of those prices coming down soon (rather the opposite) you might be considering growing your own food, but wondering how much land is actually needed to provide you and your family food for a year.
Though the precise figure of acreage to feed a family of four can vary from one source to another, from One Block Off The Grid (1BOG) (1bog.org/) comes this helpful infographic (1bog.org/blog/live-off-the-land-2/) showing approximately how much backyard would be needed to provide the alimentary basics for a year. Full graphic after the jump:
If you don't have two acres of land, even with a vegetarian diet that has the lowest ecological footprint, you can still maximize what space you do have by growing vertically or in containers, or also by using methods like square foot gardening.
But eating meat isn't out of the question, though more land is required if you want to add in extras like eggs, meat and dairy.
I must be noted that 1BOG is a "community-based program that organizes group deals on residential solar panels" – so it has also included the square footage of solar panelling needed for a family's annual electricity use. An interesting concept if you can't afford to buy on your own.
This infographic, obviously, also considers that you are growing your vegetables in beds and rows, in the spacing advised on the seed packets. However, when using the deep soil method, aka the deep root method, in planters, you can throw those guides away and plant much, much closer. Thus you can grow more food in a smaller space.
Without wishing to throw water onto the flames I would like to also say that total self-sufficiency may not be possible in any small back garden. But that does not mean you shouldn't have a go at growing your own, especially if you can get plants and seeds cheaply. The taste alone is worth it.
In square foot gardening and the deep soil method you can grow, as said, a lot more in a small space than you can do with ordinary raised beds or fields. And with deep containers and planters, such as builder's bags, you can grow a lot of food in places where other beds and “fields” are not possible. Any amount of homegrown food is better than none.