One common question people ask when looking for a more self-sufficient and sustainable way of life is how much land they need. To be honest, one might as well ask “how long is a piece of string?”. Before we can begin to answer this question, we need to ask a series of questions:
- Where is the land? (Climate, soil conditions and fertility and a range of other factors will determine how productive the land can be. An area of desert obviously won’t be the same as an area of productive agricultural land.)
- How many people must the land support?
- What will be the composition of their diet? (Will they require dairy/ meat/ grains?)
- What level of self-sufficiency is desired or required? (A family might very easily be self-sufficient in fruits and vegetables on a very small site. But if land is needed for a broader diet, to grow feed for livestock, or to be self-sufficient in wood fuel, then obviously more land will be required. )
- How much work is someone considering a homestead able/willing to put in? (Land will be more productive, and be made to provide for more of our basic needs when it is more intensively managed. So there is a correlation between how much time a homesteader can spend on their property, and how productive a given piece of land can be. There is a saying that the best fertiliser for a small farm are the farmer’s footsteps.
You don’t necessarily need to have any land at all to live a more sustainable way of life. But if you do decide to go down the homesteading or smallholding route, then you should ask yourself the questions above before progressing.
If you are contemplating a homesteading lifestyle, I can help you move closer to your goals. Please get in touch to discuss exactly how I might be able to help.