By: Tom Chatham
Any size homestead that fulfills your needs is a good size but here are some things to look at when designing one. Different people desire different things and that will determine how much land you need.
I have determined that 7 acres is a good size small homestead that can provide all of the items you need to be self sufficient to a large degree.
Two acres for a wood lot
One acre for buildings, garden, orchard
Two acres for pasture
Two acres for grain crops
Two acres of mature timber will produce about 1.5 to 2 cords of wood per year sustainably. That will provide you with wood for cooking and heating during the winter months.
One acre is enough for a home and out buildings, a large garden and a small orchard. This will provide enough food not only for your family but extra to sell.
Two acres for pasture will provide enough grass for two cows. A milk cow and a beef cow to provide dairy products and meat throughout the year.
Two acres will produce enough grain for your family’s needs and extra to feed hogs or chickens and still have extra to sell.
The amount of acreage you need will depend mainly on the systems you decide to have for food production and how much extra you want to produce for sale but the 7 acres outlined above will satisfy the needs of most people. It is important to understand that different people will have different needs. Some people may not want to produce meat for consumption and elect to rely on a vegan diet. This would require much less land, while others may want to produce excess meat for sale that requires more land.
Whatever you decide your ultimate goal will be, this 7 acre plot is a good starting point to insure you allow room for the production systems you plan to use. A farm of this size is within the ability of just about anybody in terms of cost and work load. The ability to produce food, shelter, products to sell and even a large portion of your energy needs can provide a good nights sleep when the world around you ceases to function as normal.
A homestead of this type can not only provide a means of income but provide a survival position to insure your family has the basics they need if financial difficulties grip the world once again. Having little money on hand becomes less of a problem if your needs are provided for internally. This is something many people never think about until they suddenly find themselves in desperate need of resources.
Most people work for a paycheck to provide enough income to buy the resources they need on a daily basis. The more resources you provide for yourself the less income you will need to produce. Producing a dollars worth of resources for yourself is worth much more than a dollar when you take into account taxes, transportation costs and other assorted expenses associated with making that dollar at an off sight job. Producing most of your resources internally can greatly reduce the income you need to get by which is becoming harder every day for many people.
Something as simple as a small homestead can provide you with many benefits depending on your situation. It can provide relaxation from a fast paced world, a retirement home to reduce expenses, a means to produce extra income or an escape when chaos engulfs the world. Building a small homestead does not have to be expensive or difficult. All it requires is a solid plan and the will to make it happen.