When considering off the grid living, do want to know how much land you need to get you started? If you want to start living off of the land, then these numbers should help.
Off The Grid | Land Usage Tips
Living off the grid can be tough. I should know, since I’ve been a homesteader for years now. There are a lot of things you have to consider: land, animals, plants, and so much more… So what would you need to start living off of the land you own? It takes careful planning and of course, time. You can’t just go out one day and say that you won’t depend on anything or anyone else to live. So to get you started, here’s a very informative infographic from visual.ly that will help you with what you need in living off the grid, should you have a family of four. Read on!
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 backyard. 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 the land requirements to sustain yourself for one year.
Average U.S. Roof Size: 2000 sq. ft.
1 year of electricity requires 375 sq. ft.
According to the EIA, the 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 are 7 hours of sunlight, it would take about 5 solar panels (using panels of average efficiency) to fulfill those energy requirements, which would take about 375 sq. ft. of roof space.
If you think carving out a sustainable homestead on only a few acres while raising your own groceries is impossible, you would be terribly wrong. Rick Austin, also known as the Survivalist Gardener, has done just that in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Read our interview with Rick on HOMESTEADING.COM! (link in bio) | 📷: Clark Young
9,200 Calories for a Family of Four per Day Requires 76,666 sq. ft.
Maintaining a vegetarian diet of 2300 calories per person, per day requires .44 acres per person. This includes 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 others, including potatoes and cucumber.
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 four 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 goats, 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 1000 eggs in a year, it would require 13 birds to put scrambled eggs on the table in the morning.
1 Year of Wheat Requires 12, 012 sq. ft.
The average person eats 1.5 pounds of wheat a week. In order to maintain that diet of wheat, you must allow for at least 3,003 sq. ft. of wheat per person. If some of this wheat is going to livestock, adjust for the extra.
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 sq ft. 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 a family of four is 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.
You can maintain a vegetarian diet and start living off vegetables, or get 207 square feet more and have room to grow your own meat. It really isn’t as complicated as you think. With careful planning and a bit of hard work, you can start being self-sufficient in no time. Happy Homesteading!
Do you think you’ll start living off the grid? Did you find this land usage helpful and interesting? Let us know in the comments section below.
This post was originally published on December 2015 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.