How Much Land Do You Need to Be Self-Sufficient?

A few weeks ago, I shared some tiny homestead plans that are 1 acre or less. Likewise, we have a post about off-grid homes that you can get today. These plans are great because they show you how little land you need to become more self-sufficient.

But what a lot of would-be homesteaders want to know is this: exactly how much land do you need to be 100% self-sufficient?

What Does Self-Sufficient Even Mean?

Before I give you the exact number of acres required to be self-sufficient (and don’t worry, I will!), let’s first define what “self-sufficient” even means.

According to Wikipedia, self-sufficiency is:

A type of sustainable living in which nothing is consumed other than what is produced by the self-sufficient individuals.

Yes, this definition is in line with what most people think of when they hear self-sufficient homesteading. They imagine the pioneers of old who made everything themselves and were miles (if not days) away from their nearest neighbors.

But here’s the thing:

100% self-sufficiency is a fantasy.

I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble. And there most certainly are families who live 100% off the land and produce everything themselves.

I admittedly don’t know of any, though, because they obviously wouldn’t have an internet connection to share their feats with the world. 😉

The only encounters I’ve had with completely self-sufficient peoples were tribes in the jungles of Peru (I spent one youthful winter trekking there).

And, again, sorry to break your bubble, but those people were dying from weird parasite infections and the infant mortality was crazy high. Not exactly the idyllic life we associate with self-sufficiency!

One of the biggest myths about self-sufficiency is that you’ll never have to buy anything. This is simply not the case. Unless you are prepared to live like a caveman, at some point, you are going to have to use money or the trade economy.

Even the pioneers weren’t completely self-sufficient. They would trade with neighbors or go to the local trading post.

Or, as I learned from reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s (Amazon Links) books, they’d wait for the yearly visit from the traveling salesman so they could buy shoes. If he was late, they just went barefoot.

No One Is Really Completely Self-Sufficient

There is no shortage of blogs that tout how they achieved “complete self-sufficiency” on just a small amount of space. I love these blogs as they are inspiring and have lots of great tips. Read more about homesteading for beginners.

But, when they say they’ve achieved “self-sufficiency,” what they really mean is that they are able to produce excess food, sell it for cash, and use this cash to buy other things they need.

This is a noble accomplishment, and by no means should it be negated. However, claiming that they are “self sufficient” ignores all the hard work that other people did to make the tools and supplies down the supply chain.

Even if it Was Possible, Would You Really Want to Be 100% Self-Sufficient?

Trying to close any of the many self-sufficiency leaks is VERY hard. As our friends over at Ready Nutrition write:

I once tried to make a pair of sandals from cloth thongs and discarded tires. After a few hours of work, I gave up. Even then, I wasn’t really starting from scratch. A factory had made the tires and another factory had made the cloth… not to mention the needle and thread I was using or the razor knife I used to cut the rubber.

And that’s just footwear we are talking about.

Let’s consider some of the other leaks in self-sufficiency.

Would you really want to:

  • Harvest crops by hand?
  • Eat food without salt?
  • Spin wool into yarn, and wear nothing but (itchy) wool socks for the rest of your life?
  • Deliver your own children? (I’d personally prefer a midwife to be there and a doctor nearby in case anything went wrong. Remember that women used to routinely DIE during childbirth!)
Homemade Sandals

Define What Self-Sufficiency Means to You

Just because 100% self-sufficiency isn’t realistic, it doesn’t mean you can’t strive for it. But before you set off, you’ve got to figure out your goals.

Is it:

  • To live completely off-grid and produce all your own power?
  • To produce all of your own food?
  • To get rid of all “costs of living” associated with modern life, such as utility bills, grocery bills, childcare, and the cost of commuting to a job?
  • To make your own supplies, such as clothes and tools?

That last one is going to be tough. I mean, really tough! Running a sustainable farm is hard enough without having to spin your own flax thread into fabric for clothes!

So, realistically, self-sufficiency probably is going to mean being FOOD self-sufficient.

How Much Land Is Required to Be FOOD Self-Sufficient?

Obviously, the amount of land you need to produce all of your own food varies depending on factors like:

  • The climate of where you live
  • Quality of the soil
  • How much sunlight the property gets
  • Amount of rainfall
  • What you grow and raise
  • Your diet and lifestyle

Depending on whom you ask, you’ll hear numbers as low as ½ acre of land to be self-sufficient all the way up to over 50 acres.

Here’s what various sources say:

  • According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, the minimum amount of land needed for self-sustainable food in North America or Western Europe is 17 acres per person. This number assumes absolutely no land degradation, crop failures, or waste.
  • An infographic by breaks it down to about 2 acres of land for a family of four. This includes approximately 12,000 sq. feet for wheat, 65 for eggs, 2640 for corn, 100 for dairy, 207 for meat, and 77,000 square feet for vegetables.
  • Proponents of aquaponics say that 90% of our dietary needs can be grown in 50 square feet.
  • Permaculture advocates say that ¼ acre per person is adequate when permaculture is combined with poultry, fruit trees, and possibly aquaponics.
  • Clive Blazey in his book The Australian Vegetable Garden claims that 42 square meters of space is enough to support four people.
  • John Seymour in his book The New Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency  (Amazon Link) says that 5 acres is enough to be food sufficient in high-rainfall areas of the UK.

The General Consensus is 5-10 acres to be self-sufficient

Even though a lot of those sources put the number at a lot less, the general consensus is that you really need at least 5 acres of land per person to be self-sufficient. And that’s assuming you have quality land, adequate rainfall, and a long growing season.

Oh, and that’s also assuming that you are mostly eating a vegetarian diet. You probably didn’t know this, but meat used to be a luxury that people only ate on Sundays!

If you want meat in your everyday diet, you are going to need A LOT more land to be self-sufficient.

With livestock, you’ll likely need at least 30 acres.

You don’t actually need that much space for livestock to roam. However, you need extra land so you can rotate their pastures. For whatever reason, those websites making claims like “you only need ½ acre to be self-sustainable” fail to mention pasture rotation!

Thus, if you are going to have cattle, sheep, or goats, you are going to need at least 30 acres for pasture, feed crops, and veggie crops. 50 acres is probably more realistic though.

Smaller land = more initial investment

When working toward self-sufficiency, a lot of people think they will buy a small lot and gradually invest in it. But it usually makes sense to think in reverse:

Invest in more land now because a larger homestead is cheaper to build up.

The smaller your land is, the harder it is to design. You can’t just say, “Let’s just put that crop over there” when there is no “over there.” Every single choice you make – from species selection to crop orientation – is significant.

This makes the learning curve of small-acre homesteading a lot higher. There’s no wiggle room.

  • You’ve got to have seedlings ready today to occupy any empty space.
  • Your fences need to be amazing, so predators don’t eat your poultry.
  • Those canning jars need to be ready before your fruit rots because every single peach needs to be sold if you want to be able to buy wood for heating this year!

And to make a small plot of land get close to self-sufficient, you have to initially invest in a lot of expensive equipment and systems. As one farmer said on the real deal of being self-sufficient,

Is there anybody out there on a small acreage, able to raise 90% of their own food for the year, that hasn’t spent thousands of dollars on fancy hobby farm equipment?

By contrast, if you buy a larger parcel of land now, you have a lot more room for error. You have lots of wiggle room to design your homestead how you want. And you can gradually invest in the systems and knowledge which will truly make your land self-sufficient. With limited space, every choice is significant!

Start Working towards Community

One of the issues I have with the prepper community is that it often promotes the “lone wolf” mentality.

You know what I’m talking about – a person (almost always a guy) taking off into the wilderness and surviving with just the bare necessities in his Bug Out Bag.

In reality, that guy by himself probably wouldn’t survive for long. Eventually, he’d have to team up with others… or be content with eating bugs in a dank cave for the rest of his life.

While it is great to work towards self-sufficiency, the reality is that no man is an island. As humans, we are stronger when we work together. If you really want to be free of all of the traps that come with modern living, then build a community of like-minded people.

I like how Toby Hemenway of The Permaculture Society puts it:

I see much less need for self-reliant people who can do everything themselves, and much more need for self-reliant communities, where not everyone knows how to weave or farm, but there is clothing and food for all.

So stop sweating about how much land you need to be 100% self sufficient. Instead, start learning ONE skill that you are really, really good at and would be valuable to others. Then start finding others like you with diverse skill sets.

Do this and you’ll find that practicing self-sufficiency on the homestead doesn’t just connect you more to the land, but also to your community.

Are you raising your own food? How much land do you have and what does it reap?

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Leave a comment

  1. The question should not be about self sufficiency but about proper utilization of the land we have. The more you can grow yourself is the less that has to be farmed, thus preserving nature. A nature that keeps every person on the planet alive. It is better to ask how will your children’s children survive when the planet is dead.

  2. Mark howell yeah you would be able to survive off of 5 acres you would just have to be able to get creative with it and build troughs over top of your other vegetables or things that can hang down like tomatoes and cucumbers and then like you could plant your corn in the middle of your beans that way you can pick your corn high and pick your beans low you know you just get creative with it and save space as long as you fertilize your ground good keep good nutrients in it you shouldn’t have a problem with having not enough nutrients for all the close content and also the closer you grow everything together then that would be you know less work having to keep all the grass hold out of the garden and also you might not be able to grow luxury items like watermelons and cantaloupe and things of that sort of nature that take up a lot of space but you would be able to get your necessities like here green beans purple whole peas that sort of thing or pinto beans and then have your corn grow in the middle of it alternate your beans with squash you know squash Bean squash beans corn out through the middle of it and you should come out pretty good I mean as long as you have good yields water it pretty regularly and try to always always either water early in the morning or later in the evening you don’t want to water midday you just be wasting your time especially if you have hot Tennessee weather it is here

  3. Let’s say we could have a “just in case” approach. Begin trying to get more control over your water, food, energy, etc.; it will be very useful in the future.

  4. Great article. I was watching a TED video on YouTube entitled “why we believe things that aren’t true” It details that we have advanced beyond all animals because we rely on the intelligence of the group, not the individual. That being the case, it’s worth asking why there is an interest in being self-sufficient as this ultimately goes against our genes.
    Being self sufficient appears to be a lot of hard work, compared to not being self sufficient. Interestingly in the 1960s hippies “dropped out” and lived off the land (being disillusioned with what thee government was doing at the time). Maybe self sufficiency is a way for our individual/collective intelligence to search for new ideas/understandings. Or maybe it’s to relieve the guilt we are encouraged to feel in supporting the environmentally destructive aspects of a western way of life. Unfortunately, there is a thinking that future generations can be left to clean up this generation’s mess (e.g. UKs nuclear waste strategy).

    • You bring up so many excellent points. I think a lot of the desire to become self-sufficient does come from a good place — a rebellion against how dependent we’ve become on the current destructive systems. However, there’s a big difference between wanting to gain more knowledge for the collective good/living in a community vs. succumbing to the macho/romantic notion that we can live off the land all by ourselves. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Well I won’t disagree but I can’t agree on the amount of land one needs. I have 4.5 acres, and have not bought at a store any veggies for the past 8 years and very little meat, we eat meat and veggies every day/night and raise all our own chickens and goats and sheep. 100% of our electricity is from solar and wind, water from a well, recycle everything so it can be done it just takes work and commitment. I think the main reason most people today fail is for lack of commitment and people today are afraid to put in real work. But for the record I’m in North Carolina, have 2 to 3 growing seasons per year and blessed with excellent soil and rotate crops ever year.

  6. *The Helpful Garden*

    The idea is to design a homeless shelter using Aquaponics and permaculture to feed them as well as make money for them. Each place will have 9 to 13 (12 x 18) 216 sq ft building for living in. So the *”Helpful Garden”* will be shelter to up to 13 people as well as a farmers market. The one thing about homeless shelters is that one can be built every 80 miles about or so. I can see a minimum of 3000 homeless shelters of the “Helpful Garden” being built worldwide. (Powered by solar & wind) To build said place is about $500,000 depending where it built. Though it won’t need donation or government grants to run for all it’s money comes from it farmers market.

    40% profit breakdown:

    Money needed for sheltered women: $15,000/each allotted to each tiny home each year. plus stables (Example: coffee, sugar, flour, salt and pepper)

    60% profit breakdown:

    10% to building new Helpful Gardens
    20% to maintenance
    15% to college grants
    15% to etc.

    _*Budget : $500,000*_

    *1.)* Land : 3+ acres (Budget $25,000.00 or less)
    *2.)* Tiny Homes: 9 to 13 (12 x 18) 216 sq ft [on ½ acre] (Budget $156,000.00 or less)
    *3.)* Intake Office: 600 Sq ft (Budget $25,000.00 or less)
    *4.)* Farmers Market: ½ acre (Budget $45,000.00 or less)
    *5.)* Parking Lot: ¼ acre (Budget $5,000.00)
    *6.)* Aquaponics and Permaculture Farm: 1 ¾ acres (Budget $109,000.00 or more)

    a.) Up to 3 different fish
    b.) Tiger shrimp
    c.) Crayfish
    d.) 3 different apple and pears trees so [to have them throughout the year]
    e.) Citrus trees like lemons, oranges and 2 two others.
    f.) Chickens (meat and eggs)
    g.) Goats (milk and cheese)
    h.) Honey Bees 4 to 6 hives
    i.) 2 fig trees (maybe)
    j.) Freshwater mussels (maybe)
    k.) Rabbits (maybe)

    _*Powered : [Total Budget $135,000.00]*_

    *1.)* Solar (Budget $90,000)
    a.) Tiny Homes 13 set of 4 – 250 watt cell with light sensors (52 solar cells) cost between $27,287.00 and $36,387.00
    b.) Aquaponics System – (?)
    c.) Intake Office – set of 6 – 250 watt cell with light sensors
    (cost between $3,148.50 and $4,198.50)
    d.) Farmers Market – (?)

    *2.)* Wind Power – (Budget $45,000)
    a.) Windmill electric generator 15 to 30 KW cost between $18,000 – $48,000

    *Just some working notes:*

    Payroll for security : $3,900/wk $16,900/mo $202,800/yr
    3 full time: ($24/hr) $2,880/wk $12,480/mo $149,760/yr
    4 part time: 17 hour work week ($15/hr) $1,020/wk $4,420/mo $53,040/yr

    Payroll for gardeners : same as security

    Volunteers : 36 (though it’s like $6/hr to help pay for their gas and childcare if needed).
    $4,320/wk $18,720/mo $224,640/yr

    Total payroll : $427,440/yr

    Money needed for sheltered women: $144,000/yr or $12,000/each allotted to each tiny home (12)
    Money of the other 60% profit equals $270,000

    $450,000 plus payroll equals $958,769.04
    Needed $263.34/hr@70/hr@52/wk=$958,769.04

    235,000 lbs vegetables
    @$0.5/lb=$32.28/hr or 64.56 lbs/hr or 645.5 lbs/day

    30,000 lbs fish/crayfish/shrimp
    @ $3/lbs = $247.251/day or $90,000.00/yr

    *These are all low ball figures*
    $174,720 online sales per year
    $117,500 vegetable sale per year
    $90,000.00 meat sales per year
    $500 honey sales per year

    At point soda sales per year

    Snack & hot food sale per year

    Cloths & wares sales per year

    Frozen food sales per year

    Canning goods sales per year

    Dairy/cheese sales per year

    • Interesting idea .
      But just change the word homeless to sharecroppers or something like that. Because if you are giving them a place to stay in exchange for work they are no longer homeless.
      Also you dont have to pay out as much if anything for most people.
      Just make sure they know they are going to work to grow food and keep livestock in exchange they will be fed and clothed and housed. And during the selling times they keep half the profits or some percentage I would do it myself for 20% profit.
      If I knew I had a place to stay.
      You wouldn’t need so much security if you got good hard working honest people that dont drink alcohol and do drugs.
      You can call it a sharecroppers community living.
      Homeless is such a negative term and invites drug addicts runaways and alcoholics and manic depressive people. Not saying those are bad people but you would have to be very selective in picking and choosing people off the street.
      Which you can do for some but not for all. It would be better to select hard working people who just want some change in their lives. I bet you would find a better quality of people that way. Again I’m not saying homeless people are bad,but let’s face it the majority are alcoholics drug addicts runaways and depressive people.
      I can help you with this kind of thing if you really are serious about it. I’ve been thinking on it for a long time
      One last thing I have been homeless before, my wife and I lost our apt. During Hurricane Ike and lived in a tent for 2 yrs before we saved up and got back in a house. So I am not judging homeless people.

  7. _*It all came about after a project I worked on to design a green subdivision with many others. I thought I could do more and started gathering info. That was when G+ was still invite only. A village is a 50 million dollar undertaken. Then broke it down to a what I call Dartanyan’s Restaurant & Farm but again that was 5 million dollar undertaken. So I decided trying a homeless shelter with my knowledge.*_

    *1.9848 acre per person living in a sustainable village (234 people [35% are child under the age 12] and 464.4432 acres for the village)*
    80% crafted, made and grown in said village And 20% are raw materials, food not grown, medical equipment/supplies, electronics and etc.
    – 0.6250 acre of farmland/person (146.2500ac)
    – 0.0892 acre of farmland products to be sold/person (20.8728ac)
    – 0.2321 acre of living area/person (54.3114ac)
    – 0.0214 acre of wine vineyards/person (5.0076ac)
    – 0.0714 acre of ponds/person (16.7076ac)
    – 0.1069 acre of coffee/person or 3,456 trees (25.0146ac) [555 trees/2.4711 acres or 1 Hectare]
    – 0.0071 acre of teas/person (1.6614ac)
    – 0.0142 acre of herbs/person (3.3228ac)
    – 0.1428 acre of schools/person (33.4152ac)
    – 0.2142 acre of park & wildlife/person (50.1228ac)
    – 0.1428 acre of village square/person (33.4152ac)
    – 0.1785 acre of livestock/person (41.7690ac)
    – 0.1392 acre of roads & etc/person (32.5728ac)

    Side Note: (avg. births worldwide is 8/1000 or 3.36/year of 420 people)
    Future people of 300 (avg. 15 people/year for 20yrs)
    An extra 595.44 acre needed or basically another Village would need to be formed with a max of 13 Villages/region
    A central Village as the capital and 12 outer Villages surrounding it

    *By using a mix of permaculture and aquaponics which in turn use 90% less water to grow food and a minimum of twice as fast :*

    * Reduces Labor by 75%
    * Reuses 95% of the water
    * Low Electricity Need (use solar to stay off the grid)
    * Faster Vegetable
    * Longer Shelf Life
    * Organic Mineral Rich
    * Produces Its own Fertilizer
    * Non-Contaminated Fish
    * Use of Tiger Shrimp &/or Crawfish to clean algae
    * Uses of the Bacteria and fecal matter are collected to make Methane in place of natural gas &/or Decomposed solids to worm bin which turn is used to make Compost Tea is brewed from worm casting and water. The tea can be used for Fruit Orchard to increase Microbial Content in the soil.

    • Side Note: 1
      With about 52 different jobs and at min. of 3 people doing each job, that’s 156 people and other 35% are made up of children under the age of 12 years. With a total of 234 people and 444.6 acres for the village.
      1.) Butcher
      2.) Bakery
      3.) Produce
      4.) Fish market
      5.) General Store
      6.) Cloth Store aka Drapers (where you bought materials for making clothing, important in an age when a lot of people still made their own clothes)
      7.) Shoemaker
      8.) Dressmaker
      9.) Tailors
      10.) Jeweller
      11.) Ironmonger (sellers of tools, kitchen implements, gardening implements etc)
      12.) Sweet Shops
      13.) Bookshops
      14.) Toy Shops
      15.) Stationers (sellers of writing paper, envelopes, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc etc – these would be important in the days when most people wrote a lot of letters)
      16.) Chemists (pharmacies).
      17.) School (teacher and other people) would a min. 6 to 8 people all on it’s own.
      Side Note: 2
      Water Buffalo – Water buffalo produce half of the milk consumed in India. Ghee, a kind of liquid butter, is made from water buffalo milk.

      Goat – Some people find goat’s milk easier to digest than cow’s milk. Fat globules in goat’s milk are smaller than in cow’s milk.

      Reindeer – The fat content of reindeer milk is 22%, six times as much as cow’s milk. It is the only source of milk for Laplanders in northern Scandinavia, because no other dairy animal can survive in such a cold, hostile environment. It takes two people to milk a reindeer – one to do the milking and the other to hold the reindeer’s horns.

      Horse – Over 700 years ago, Mongolian warriors made a dried-out concentrated paste from horse milk. When they were on the march, they added it to water and drank it. In southeastern Russia, people use horse milk to make a slightly alcoholic drink called kumiss.

      Sheep – Milk from sheep has twice the fat content of cow’s milk. Sheep milk is used to make French Roquefort and chevre cheeses.

      Camel – In the hot desert, camel milk lasts longer than other types of milk. It can last for seven days at 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), and will last for three months when properly refrigerated.

      Yak – In the cold mountains of Tibet, people make yak butter tea. It tastes like a salty, creamy soup that has been whipped to a froth.”
      Side Note: 3
      Greek style theater
      Spiritual Garden
      2 Taverns
      Side Note: 4
      1. All homes built in the village must be built to last at least a min. of 150 yrs
      2. All town square building built in the village must be built to last at least a min. of 200 yrs
      3. All crafted items for sale must be built to last at least a min. of time determined by the High Council and the Craft Guild.
      4. A Greek style theater with the seating of for a min 200 people, that is to host plays and shows at least 3 day a week.
      5. When a villager become 16 years of age which then has the right to live on the other on. Then can live
      with their family if need be or move into an apartment in the Village Square onto such time they get a home.
      Side Note: 5
      Apprenticeship for a craft starts at age 12 (at age 10 with High Council approval)

      The Craft Guild Apprenticeship lasted between 5 and 9 years depending on the trade.

      The Main Craft Guild ensured that their craft or trade effectively become a ‘closed shop’ or monopoly preventing any outside competition. Prices are fixed between members of the Craft Guilds. And the Craft Guilds ensured that high standards of quality are maintained. The number of Craft Guild members are also regulated, allowing a restricted membership in order to ensure that the numbers of Craft Guilds did not exceed the business requirements.
      Side Note: 6
      There is a High Council of 13 women (only a mother can hold the 13th seat.
      be a High Priestess)
      There is a Lower Council of 6 men and 1 woman (who is the tiebreaker on votes and bring cases to the High Council)

      • I liked your article, however, the math of 5-10 acres per person does not stand up well against typical farm yields unless you are trying to produce excess food for trade.

        A cow can conservatively be rotated on 2 acres of land and produces about 1 million calories per year. Typical land use for a cow (even with rotating pasture space) would be closer to 1 acre by supplementing with grains since grains produce so well. Corn produces well over 10 million calories per acre, and even the lowest vegetables yield around 1 million calories per acre.

        Since an average person will consume less than 1 million calories per year, and a family will likely eat less than 1 cow per year, you can likely feed your family what you want on the 4 acres mentioned. However, a farmstead has extra space for buildings and other unusable land, so you probably need 5-10 acres in total.

        • There are a lot of variables to consider when figuring all of that out. I did my best to discuss all those nuances. Yes, 5-10 acres per person often isn’t necessary if the person really knows what they are doing, has a productive year, and so forth. But realistically, people have bad years, need extra space for storing all that corn for their cows, and so forth. I hope people read this and start to really think about what their goals are with regards to self-sufficiency and then realistically plan their land accordingly. Thanks for your comment!

  8. Your little cartoon stating that unless you are living off the grid and are using stuff you made, grew, and hunted you aren’t self-sufficient. You are living off the backs of people who made those tools, sandals, clothes, etc. Sounds like something a past president said about building your own business. Even the pioneers carried tools and clothing made by someone else. Are you saying they weren’t self-sufficient?

  9. This article is jaded. You can live 100% self sufficient. But it’s not practical to do so, cause some items are too cheap there is no point producing from scratch.
    The main thing is that you can easily be 80% self sufficient for a family of 6 with an eighth acre of land. WHo cares about reports from Food and Agriculture. Learn on your own how small families product an amazing amount of food on a small lot of land.
    If you expect to eat meat for every meal, then that’s not realistic. But you don’t really need meat. You can do just fine on 95% vegas diet. We did it for thousands of years. In fact we did not eat much meat in our hunter gather period.

    • We make very similar points in the article about 100% self sufficiency being impractical for most. Also mentioned is the meat eating, a mostly plant based diet simply requires less space.

    • Actually, Sean McKee is absolutely correct. You can live 100% self-sufficiently – until you can’t and you die. Diane’s point is that, if we want to live and enjoy life, we need others, both for companionship and to share the labor and knowledge required to exist happily in this life. If those like Sean want to live 100% without that, they can do so – but they will most likely live very shortened lifespans and not enjoy life as much as others of us.

    • Not eating much meat in the hunter gatherer period? Huh? Do you realize only 2000 years ago we didn’t even have cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower? Have you looked at how plants and fruits looked like before selecting breeding? They were all very small and very poor in calories. Why would a hunter gatherer spend so much time and energy gathering foods that barely have any calories? The caloric bombs that nuts and fruits deliver now are recently new development.

      Also, plant based foods are seasonal. Hunting can happen during all seasons.
      Historical research also shows hunter gatherers had a very meat heavy diet, barely any cavities and no dental misalignment. Dental caries started developing at a larger scale only with the advent of agriculture. The byproduct of chewing starch and sugar caused the dental cavities. There’s even studies on isolated tribes that suddenly started eating a lot of tubers and their dental health decline. Not to mention that plants contain anti nutrients to prevent herbivores form eating them, thus some plants need processing to get the most out of the ( sprouting, soaking, fermenting).

      • True, but only to a point. Research shows that our ancestors actually ate a nearly 100% plant-based diet OR a nearly 100% meat-based diet OR something in between. Consider that humans have been living places including tropical deserts, jungles, and frigid places like Siberia… What makes humans so uniquely able to survive is that we can survive on a wide-variety of foods and diets. Not trying to start an argument here — just to point out that diet isn’t so clear-cut.

        • Also “True, but only to a point.” 🙂 a nearly 100% meat-based diet among the Inuit (they get carbs from whale blubber for glycogen, berries and seaweed) exists but I’m not aware of any 100% plant-based diet tribe. The research I’ve seen says at most 70% plant-based in Tropical areas, so they still get at least 30% of their calories from animal sources which is most often seafood. So I’ll give a shoutout to aquaponics here that I just learned from this article-sounds best to grow fish and veggies, the 2 food categories which we need most and are healthiest, especially when combined with permaculture where the presence of chicken increase vegetable & fruit production. Community and moderation in our relationship w/ civilization were good points too. Thank you.

    • What are you growing on only 1/8 acre that feeds your family of 6 80% or more or their total diet? Even beans, by my calculations, wouldn’t suffice. Share your secrets.

      If beans yield 70 lbs per acre on a really good luck harvest, then that means you would have a whole 8.75 lbs of beans to feed your family of 6 with for the whole year. Even if you guys live somewhere you can get two crops a year, that’s not sufficient at all. Unless you guys are actually garden gnomes, explain how that is 80%?

      Who is jaded now? lol

      • 70 lb/acre for beans? That’s a poor yield. Even heirlooms should produce at least 1/2 ton per acre, and hybrid varieties should produce at least double that.

      • “If beans yield 70 lbs per acre on a really good luck harvest,”

        Just a suggestion, I don’t want to tell you how to grow your farm, but you don’t need 50 feet of space between your individual bean plants. I’m not sure how else you could get such an insanely low yield, unless you live in a super arid climate, and you don’t water at all.

  10. Bloody good read..great to present a reality of this planet and resources..there are too many human beings!!
    And…like minded humans critical to survival.
    Good balanced words and thoughts.
    Is it american based?each country has a different wealth.
    Our aboriginal people…..had a wealthy, balanced , healthy plan firmly in place..before it was foolishly ammended a coupla hunded years ago….did the american indians have it the same wisdom taken ?
    They were all community based self sufficient survivors who added value to planet earth .
    I think…we need to relearn that.
    If i could teach my children how to grow enough vegetables and fruit with a high vegetable protein source of interest…for themselves and 2 others…that is a start!!
    When i learn……that will help!!

    • I had an aboriginal friend who told me that before Europeans invaded Australia, if a person broke their leg, being nomadic, they were left behind to die. So western civilisation and it’s heritage has real practical benefits accumulated since the success of farming which started from around 11,000 years ago in the “fertile crescent” of the middle east. Around the same time, at the same place, non-verbal records were kept in clay which evolved into the written word. Then more information could be accumulated, and built on generation to generation. Although, along the way leaders have burnt books, and succeeded in stopping progress for a while, humanities quest for knowledge continued, and has accelerated even more with the internet.
      It’s hard to imagine, but it was only 240 years ago when germs were discovered, and that was by a member of western civilisation (Louis Pasteur 1881), and it wouldn’t be possible for a nomadic tribe to have done that.

      • Just so you know, people have been found with (relatively) perfectly healed femur fractures (those take months to heal and you can’t move) as old as Homo Erectus fossils.
        At that time, humans were not even on the majority of Europe.
        Wester civilisation didn’t create altruism.

    • Vegtable protines arent enough unless you have access to b12 fortified food for life. You can only get B12 from animal products. Look it up.

  11. I know, Liver EATER. It’s not even 7 AM, I haven’t finished my coffee, & my old eyes are failing. That’s my excuse. Hmph!

  12. I like this article. The only change I’d make is in the formatting. I’d put the section on community first & foremost. Even the most sociopathic mountain man looked forward to the yearly rendezvous, & he didn’t live alone very long either. He usually had a country wife or two (AmerIndians). Recall that the sadistic Liver Easter had a wife. Really, who wants to be alone all the time?

    As for hunting– forget it. If there’s a real TEOTWAWKI, the animals that are left will be hunted out in a matter of weeks. Or does everyone think there are billions of deer & antelope & elk & moose to be had for the taking? Then there are the other predators that are far more efficient at hunting than puny man. You’ll be eating worms & grubs & roots, & you’ll be getting sick. A lot.

    No community=No survival. Even monkeys know that.

    • Stereotyping a sole person surviving on some land as a sociopath is rather underrating
      their skills I would immagine.
      It may show your own lack of making meaning in solitude.

    • Some remote tribes were decimated after millennia from their first constant with the “Civilised World”. There are remote communities all over the world and individuals who survive every day. Your understanding of transmittable disease totally misses that many need a carrier host and contact to move amongst a population. The recent pandemic should be a clue.

    • I agree, additionally I think too much emphasis is put on the “100% self sufficiency” model. No one is entering this model as a baby so give up the dramatic approach to “recycled materials were built by someone else, pay tribute to society”. And no one is entering this lifestyle because society is great otherwise they would stay and not leave for a clearly better lifestyle combining thousands of years of knowledge and data collection and technology to live their best lives. Other than that good info and reference materials. Enjoyed the shout out to little house on the prairie.


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