Want to know what a subsistence farm is? Is producing enough food on your homestead a problem? Read on and see if you have the characteristics of subsistence farming on your homestead.
Subsistence Farming | How to Grow Your Own Food, and Nothing More
Subsistence farming is the practice of self-sufficiency in which the farmers focuses only on producing enough food for personal consumption. There is a direct and immediate relationship between production and consumption. The main goal of this kind of farming is the family survival.
Mostly, subsistence farming appeals to rural farmers because it provides them sufficient food, lessen expenses in transportation to a city and provide the opportunity to continue living in rural areas where life expenses, such housing, and land are more affordable. It also means that a family who practices subsistence farming is self-sufficient in terms of food and nothing needs to be borrowed or purchased from another source.
Characteristics of Subsistence Farming
Mostly only family members work on the subsistence farm. However, during the busy time of the year, they may hire another member of the community. The family farm members may and do increase their income by working off the farm during a relaxed period on their own farm.
Usually, the land used for subsistence farming is very small, only 1 to 3 hectares since the main goal is only to produce consumption for the family.
3. Fruitfulness and Efficiency
The subsistence farming is designated as low of inputs which are commonly provided by the farmer himself. The overall productivity tends to be low.
4. Power and Transport
Almost everything in subsistence farming is done without any help of fancy contraptions. Farmers plow the field, carrying out procedural tasks like grinding sugar cane and transport products. The technology is mostly very simple.
5. Income and Level of Living
The income and level of living of most subsistence farmers are below poverty line.
6. Importance of Livestock
Livestock provides a special safeguard to the farm families. Farm animals are like savings for farmers. When it is fully grown, it can be consumed or sold during crop failure or it can use for expenditures. Plus the eggs, meat, and other livestock products comes free to the subsistence farmers.
7. Rationality and Risk
Subsistence farmers are can be motivated to raise their standard of living, so long as the changes must fit into their current farming operations. They are now mentally ready to take risks and use the advantages of modern inputs.
8. Element of Uncertainty
Though the element of uncertainty ins subsistence farming is very high. The failure of crops may ruin the farmer.
A special shout out to eatdrinkbetter.com for the amazing infographic below.
How Big A Backyard Do You Need To Live Off Of The Land?
More and more people are turning away from grocery stores and utility companies in favor of 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 land requirements to sustain yourself for one year.
Average U.S. Roof Size : 2,000 Sq Ft. 1 Year Of Electricity Requires 375 Sq Ft.
According to EIA average home in the U.S will consume 11,040 kWh of electricity in one year. It may fluctuate higher or lower depending on your heating or cooling needs. Assuming the house is facing south and there is 7 hours of sun light, it would take about 25 solar panels (using panels of average efficiency) to fulfill energy requirements, which would take about 375 square feet of roof surface.
9,200 Calories For A Family Of Four, Per Day Requires 76,666 Sq Ft.
Maintaining a vegetation diet of 2300 calories per person, per day requires .44 acres per person. This included fruits, grains and of course, vegetables. In an ideal setting, suitable farm land can also grow fruit trees to provide a well-rounded diet. Some vegetables require much more land than other, including potatoes and cucumbers.
1 Year Of Wheat Requires 12,012 Sq Ft.
The average person 1.5 pounds of wheat a week. In order to maintain that diet of wheat, you must allow for at least 3,003 square feet of wheat per person. If some of this wheat is going to livestock, adjust for the extra.
If You Eat, Meat, Eggs And/Or Dairy
1 Year of Meat Requires 207 Sq Ft.
If you wish to add a little bacon to your self-sustained diet then starting off with 3 pigs can feed a family of for twice per week, for a year. If you wish to add some piglets to the mix allow 9 square feet per pig or piglet.
1 Year of Dairy Requires 100 Sq Ft.
If you wish to add dairy to your diet forget about getting a cow for they are not land-efficient. Think about a Nubian goat instead. A Nubian goat can produce 1,844 lbs of milk a year. Keep in mind that goat, like cows, do require some grazing land and companionship.
1 Year of Eggs Requires 65 Sq Ft.
A hen can lay anywhere from 80 to 300 eggs in one year. The average American eats about five eggs a week. For a family of four eating 1,000 eggs in a year, it would require 13 birds to put scrambled eggs on the table in the morning.
1 Year of Corn Requires 2,640 Sq Ft.
Corn is a multifunctional produce that is necessary when growing animals in your backyard farm. However, corn is not land-efficient. You would need at least 2,640 sqft of corn to produce enough for your family and animals. We did not include corn in our final calculations, assuming instead that you’d prefer to buy bushels of corn feed (a bushel of corn is 56 pounds) for less than $5 each.
You will need a backyard that is at least 89,050 Sq Ft this is about 2 acres.
If our family of four was willing to buy flour instead of growing their own wheat, they’d only need about 1.5 acres to have a mixed diet of veggies, eggs, meat, and milk.
What do you think about subsistence farming? Let us know in the comments section what your thoughts are on Subsistence Farming | How to Grow Your Own Food and Nothing More.
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