environment & politics gardening & foraging

Living Off The Land

Should you wish to make a go of things on your own, this is what it would now take. Figures are US-centric, but you get the idea. Click the image to see all the detail.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

8 replies on “Living Off The Land”

The question is: how much time per day would one need to devote to such a project. Because 2 acres wouldn’t be too hard to find for a reasonable price in some parts of the world (the U.S., for example).

This is very true (save me a plot). It probably depends on what time of year it is. Come Spring, when you’re planting seeds and potting up, you’d be at it all day. In the Summer, it’s probably mostly watering, weeding and keeping pests away. Then harvesting in late Summer and Autumn. I’d say it’s probably a 9-5 job. 🙂

That’s all well and good, but is it truly practical for a family to do? If you’re busy sustaining yourself, you’re not going to have time to work and earn money, unless you grow more than what you need and sell that at market, but you’d have to grow a *lot* to make any sort of reasonable profit.

Those solar panels, though? Wouldn’t it just be cheaper to pay for electricity? The biggest criticism I hear of them is that they’re expensive for what they are. I’d have thought it’d be more cost effective to make sure your house is properly insulated, that your electronics are efficient and only plugged in/used when needed, and that you subsidise your power with a wind turbine or two.

So, overall, isn’t it just cheaper, easier and more practical to shop sensibly, buy local/organic and grow a few bits of veg here and there? :p

Well, depends how badly you want to do it. Many people have allotments (and a few plots) with full time jobs, which takes up stacks of their time.

As for Solar panels – it depends. Yes they’re expensive, and in the UK would probably take just under 20 years to have earned their value back in savings; and of course, it doesn’t say what you’d have to do with electricity at night, when there is no sun.

But don’t forget, at no point has the infographic suggested this is about cheapness. This is about living off the land, and what it would actually take. Most people in the UK wouldn’t even be able to afford the land in the first place.

Oh, I understand that, Mark, I just wonder if it’s a bit too idealistic to want to fully sustain yourself. In this age of utility bills (As they call them in the US of Eh?) and other necessary payments, you have to make some form of income, which would require you to grow surplus and be able to find a buyer *and* make enough profit. Seems more like running a business than it does living 😉

I wonder what the true cost involved would be. I would wager it’s cheaper, easier and more practical to go into something like this as more of a community project or even a commune than it is to go it alone. One family could tend to some animals, one to some others, one family on the crops, others on vegetation, etc.

Well you don’t just do it in one go obviously. You can phase things in – the electricity perhaps if you’ve got the cash. You grow enough of certain foods to keep you going, and you’ll find sure, in the summer you’ll have a surplus of some things (beans, courgettes). Get a few chickens for eggs and so on. But yes, of course it’s like a business – you’re managing and planning your food. This is even the way when you’re just preparing even a small plot for the next year: work out what you want to eat and plant accordingly.

You’ll have bills (council tax and so on), but if you’re lucky you could have a career that means you can work from home. That would be the best of both worlds. Or win the lottery.

That’s a fair point, I forgot to consider that. I suppose you’d also have to plan for bad crops, bad harvests and so forth, which would potentially be mitigated in a bigger situation where the choice of alternatives (Such as green vegetables) would be likely be bigger than if you did it yourself.

It’s an interesting infographic, though.

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