How Much Land To Survive?

Prepredness and Land Use

Hey Prepper Nation,

Preparedness starts with answering some questions.  Have you ever wondered how likely it is that you’ll be able to produce all the calories you’ll need on the piece of land you have?  How much land for livestock?  How about those solar panels you were thinking about?  How many square feet of panels will provide you with the electricity you’ll need?  The folks at one block off the grid, that’s have figured this out for you.
Let’s start by talking power.  In a collapse situation, you’ll probably be able to rely on the sun and wind and not much else, unless you’ve built a watermill.   The best answer might be installing some solar panels on your roof. This is a commonly available option that many people are considering nowadays.  Let’s say part of your roof is facing South (the best place for a solar panel) and you get 7 hours or so of sunlight, on average.  To get the amount of power that an average home uses in a year, you’ll need 375 square feet of panels.  These things aren’t cheap, and that much hardware is going to be beyond the average family’s financial reach.  This means that you’ll have to make decisions regarding how to ration the power you ARE able to produce.  Look around the house, and you’ll probably see lots of things that are plugged in that you can eliminate if the you-know-what ever hits the fan.  This is part of the planning you’ll need to do now, so that you’ll be better prepared for times of trouble.

Food and Survival

How about food?  If you have a family of four, you’ll want to provide at least 2000 or so calories per adult, more if you’re a big guy, maybe a little less for kids.  The formula is simple:  At least 30 calories per kilogram of body weight.  One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds, so an 80 kilogram adult would weigh 176 pounds.  30 x 80 = 2400 calories/day.  Less for kids, of course. You’ll need to provide 8000-9000 calories a day to maintain your family’s weight.
 One block off the grid separates your garden out in three categories:  fruits, berries and vegetables, then wheat, then corn.  If you went totally vegetarian, you would need a little less than half an acre per person to provide all of those calories.  That means a family of 4 needs almost 2 acres of farmable land!  If you stock up on wheatberries and use your handy dandy wondermill, you can cut that down a bit.  Corn isn’t a very land-efficient crop, but you might need it for your livestock.  An alternative if you need to trim that acreage more is to stock up on bushels of corn feed; that’s about 56 pounds of feed for about $8-10.  This is a good idea, but you’ll use a lot of it.  It takes 10 bushels of corn to get a hog from weaning to slaughter.  Btw, corn prices are going higher, they were less than 5 dollars a couple of years ago.
Don’t forget, you’ll need some land for hog wallows, goats, rabbits and chickens.  All of these animals can be raised in relatively small amounts of space.  A good 200 square feet for 3 hogs, more if they have piglets, less for each of the other animals.  You might have to forget about cows, they aren’t land-efficient.   If you want milk, think about goats, especially Nubian Goats.  This variety can produce 1800 lbs. of milk a year, according to 1 block off the grid.  That’s a lot of milk!  How about eggs?  The average family of four will eat 1000 eggs a year or so.  To reliably get this quantity, you’ll need about 13-15 birds in your henhouse, depends a lot on the breed.
You could probably squeeze this all in with an acre and a half of land.  If you don’t have that much property, now you know you’ll need that much more food storage to make up for the difference.  This is information I thought was important for me to know, and now you know it too.
Dr. Bones
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