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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am making plans to purchase a home with acreage in a rural area, but of course, land is expensive. So I have a hypothetical question: how much land would you need to support a family of 5-6 people if you had to because of food / energy shortages? 1 acre? 10 acres? 100 acres?
 

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CHEERS :p
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Buy as much as you can afford, while still leaving some available cash each month for upgrades and improvements. As SG2100 said 4 - 5 acres would be a minimum.

good luck when the time comes to make the purchase
 

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The more the better and if it's relatively good land I think 10 acres is about a minimum to largely support 5 or 6 people if you eat a typical diet high in meat and dairy. A near-vegan diet can substantially be achieved on a smaller plot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Buy as much as you can afford
Well that is why I am asking. If I buy now I probably couldn't afford much and still have enough money to build a home on it. Maybe a couple of acres. But if I wait until I can afford more then who knows whether or not it will be too late? Is it possible to support a family on 1-2 acres? It sounds pretty inadequate to me but maybe it is possible with the right planning and growing methods? I don't know.
 

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Behind Enemy Lines
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Depending how good the land is for gardening. If its mediocre, then dont rely on just the gardens to feed the family. If its acceptionally well, then you may get by. Bare minimum, get 3 acres if you want a house PLUS gardens.
 

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i would look at about 20 acres, so you can raise goats and a few cows. and you can set it up to hunt deer on as well. 3 acres for the house,chickens, and garden and 17 acres for the cattle/goats,have it divide in 2 fields to rotate the cattle so you can brush hog hay to feed that cattle in the winter. and in the winter you can harvest a deer or 2 if your lucky.

if thats to much how about 15 acres, 5 acres for the house chickens ,garden and a few goats use 10 acres to set up to harvest deer every winter. i like this best beacuse you have no expense with takeing care of cattle but you run more of a risk of haveing no meat. thats why you have the goats as back up.
 

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If your going to heat your home with wood (depending which part of the country) you'll need 10 acres of trees to be a sustainable source of wood.
 

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Tugger beat me to it - whatever you do, don't spend every nickel on land. You'll need money for improvements.

Maybe you can live on the land in a trailer for a while??
 

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Property lines?

A lot of people on here have stressed a number... I don't see it so much that way. When I was growing up we had a 3.5 acre country place that was ajacent to about 25 acres of wooded land and 30 acres of pasture with some nice trees on it. The owners to the property were never out there. We used to rent from the guy who owned the pasture and he said he drove by maybe every other year. No one, in 8 years, had ever seen anyone in the woods but us...

Ok, so how much for how many people, eh? Some folks will tell you this, some will tell you that. I think it all comes down to a few factors...

#1. The comfort level you WANT - Many people in my town complain about the illegal immigrants' living situations, "It's bullsh*t they can afford nice trucks because 10 families live in one house!" When asked if they would want to fave money by sharing a house with 40 other people they declare "HELL NO!" yet still seem aggravated by the fact that someone else has got ahead through sacrifice...

A very small property can house quite a number of people. A garage can be insulated, heated, and 3 tier bunk beds take up no room. A barracks is a perfectly acceptable living situation.

#2. Proper payout of crops - Corn will kill you. For the demands of land, nutrients, and time you get very little in return. Cucumbers however will feed an army if you let them keep growing.

#3. Proper storage and concealment - Do you plan on having multiple acres of land and just storing away food until it happens, then becoming insta-farmers? Orrrrrr, will this become a way of life? Either way I would recommend a very large FBI building or a barn for food and supply storage. A lot of people think food's enough, but shampoo and toilet paper stock up pretty quick too... Concealment. Very important, make sure you don't have a nice little ridge overlooking your property where hungry brigands can see the rich white smoke coming from your chimneys. Sitting right outside the interstate loop isn't exactly where ya wanna be.

#4. Are those you support actually supporting you? - Do you have hapless layabouts eating your lentils and Spam? Cut loose dead weight while you still can...

Just some things to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
#4. Are those you support actually supporting you? - Do you have hapless layabouts eating your lentils and Spam? Cut loose dead weight while you still can...
Right now I am only looking for enough land to support my wife and 3 kids, who are still pretty young (oldest just turned 8). It sounds like one acre per person is a good rule of thumb so I am going to need at least 5 acres. It is just frustrating because good land is so expensive and I just don't see how I could manage to acquire that much right now. My wife's family has 300 acres of good farm property about 90 minutes north of us, but I don't want to rely on that because it is not my land and I am not convinced it is ideally located for a serious SHTF scenario anyway, being only about 50 miles from a heavily populated area, and 5 miles from an interstate. Every year we hunt pheasants on the property and we always catch several people trespassing, and I can just see how huge mobs of people would overrun the land if they were starving and you could not stop them all.
 

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Where you plan to buy land may be more important than how much land; colder (northern) areas have shorter growing seasons so each plant of any species may produce less than in a more southerly location. In Maine we get ripe tomatoes in late August; plant too early and frost will kill your plants or heavy rains will drown them.

A big thing to consider is the proximity to "free food"; a few large lakes nearby can produce fish in greater abundance than relying on shooting deer (which everyone plans to do); so consider how many years you have failed to fill your deer tag???

Keeping critters for food sounds like a great idea until you find it impossible to feed them too! I raised turkeys for several years until "the neighbors" discovered them and wiped me out while I was at work! Two of our goats were also lost to hungry neighbors; must have been chewy eating a four year old nanny... so we gave up on critters.

Also consider proximity to free firewood; many state and national forests will let you harvest dead trees or specifically marked trees for free or a small charge.

During the 1930's big game animals became pretty damned scarce and if you have no means to preserve the meat it will spoil before you can utilize all of the meat; with fish you can catch what you need when you need it. While not a true wild food scavenger I do know where to pick all kinds of "wild berries and grapes in my neighborhood and we have many sugar maples for syrup...

Choose your land carefully but more importantly don't wait too long, an existing homestead may already have fruit trees, berries etc on the property and save you years waiting for them to produce.
 

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no answer

It is not possible to give a direct answer for many of the reasons above.

The size garden needed is a huge variable. What soil conditions, what climate, how much water do you have. What will you grow. If you are dry farming the plants need a lot of space, while using intensive methods can vastly reduce the space requirements.

Most land that has been farmed (recently) is probably dependent on seasonal doses of fertilizer, might take years to build the soil up to operate more organically, by which I mean without fertilizers and pesticides.

If you have deer in the area, they will view your garden as a salad bar, you might have to fence it. Way too many variables.

You may want some of that land to be wooded, a wood lot for fuel and building materials.

You would probably want land for animals of some variety.

The group of people you stated may need to eventually build their own place.

It is a complex problem, and you probably wont know the correct answer until you have been on the land a number of years.
 

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food for thought

Kuting is correct. Corn is a mistake for most, corn is very inefficient to grow, based on the yield vs use of water and fertilizer. By the way, you wont have any fertilizer for the corn anyway, ha. I am trying to go organic myself, to the extent I don't need fertilizer, but I still filled part of a storage building with the stuff, just in case. I don't plan to fail. I am just more committed to eating, than knowing it is 100 percent organic.

Rosesinwinter had a good suggestion, move out to your property in a trailer ASAP, and get going, it will be hard work getting set up. It would be overwhelming to try to do it from scratch after a complete crash.

Getting your own land and doing it your self is very rewarding, I don't want to discourage you from doing this, it is an excellent idea, but do it pretty quick. There is a learning curve, you need time to get settled before you have to depend on your land to sustain you, and time is running out, may have already run out.

Let me say to everyone, In my opinion, if your "survival" garden plan is to simply keep a few packets of vegetable seeds in a drawer, you are doomed already. They are probably hybrid seeds anyway. You would probably have to use a whole packet of seeds to grow enough seeds for the next harvest. Do you (insert your name) even have a garden plot prepared. If you plan to dig up the front yard when the time comes, don't bother it will be too late. Do you even know when and what to plant for your area? If you are not already growing some percentage of your needs, before hard times hit, you wont be able to ramp up to sufficient quantities to make it.
 

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Don't forget about firewood. You only want to take about a cord or two off each acre a years to maintain the forest. That plus gardening, I would say at least ten.
 

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A lot of people on here have stressed a number... I don't see it so much that way. When I was growing up we had a 3.5 acre country place that was ajacent to about 25 acres of wooded land and 30 acres of pasture with some nice trees on it. The owners to the property were never out there. We used to rent from the guy who owned the pasture and he said he drove by maybe every other year. No one, in 8 years, had ever seen anyone in the woods but us...

Ok, so how much for how many people, eh? Some folks will tell you this, some will tell you that. I think it all comes down to a few factors...

#1. The comfort level you WANT - Many people in my town complain about the illegal immigrants' living situations, "It's bullsh*t they can afford nice trucks because 10 families live in one house!" When asked if they would want to fave money by sharing a house with 40 other people they declare "HELL NO!" yet still seem aggravated by the fact that someone else has got ahead through sacrifice...

A very small property can house quite a number of people. A garage can be insulated, heated, and 3 tier bunk beds take up no room. A barracks is a perfectly acceptable living situation.

#2. Proper payout of crops - Corn will kill you. For the demands of land, nutrients, and time you get very little in return. Cucumbers however will feed an army if you let them keep growing.

#3. Proper storage and concealment - Do you plan on having multiple acres of land and just storing away food until it happens, then becoming insta-farmers? Orrrrrr, will this become a way of life? Either way I would recommend a very large FBI building or a barn for food and supply storage. A lot of people think food's enough, but shampoo and toilet paper stock up pretty quick too... Concealment. Very important, make sure you don't have a nice little ridge overlooking your property where hungry brigands can see the rich white smoke coming from your chimneys. Sitting right outside the interstate loop isn't exactly where ya wanna be.

#4. Are those you support actually supporting you? - Do you have hapless layabouts eating your lentils and Spam? Cut loose dead weight while you still can...

Just some things to think about.
Kuting, you have some really good points. Your comment about insta-farmers was funny because lately I have been visualizing people flocking in droves to the country only to find out that they don't know how to survive. Land is great, but if you don't have the wherewithal to make it work for you - you're SOL. No offense OP...I was not directing this your way :D:
 

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Using conventional commercial agricultural methods, scientists estimate it takes about 3/4 of an acre to feed an average adult American. Using unconventional intensive techniques, you can do the same thing in a 50' x 100' plot.
 

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I'll echo the sentiment about moving onto the land in a mobile home, trailer, RV or some portable/small housing unit and get the land prepped in the meantime prior to and during the building of the house.

Heck, I'm a proponent of cash-is-king, and would even advise you to build the thing from scratch with only cash and circumvent the finance aspect entirely!

Point is, you need to get out there and start working the soil and cutting wood and whatever else is necessary. Keep an eye to wasting as little as possible of the resources at your disposal and maximizing your output of what you have. Purchase good quality tools and implements that will last many years. Stay away from low quality stuff even if it seems like "a deal of a price" due to clearance or whatnot. Get out there and do it. Learn from your failures now while you can afford to fail, because a future failure could be truly terrible.
 
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