Striving to be self-sufficient does not mean you have to be very wealthy with lots of land at your disposal. Anyone’s home can be made more self-sufficient. Whether it is a rented apartment; small home on a small city lot, or even a small homestead or farm there are always things you can do to increase your self-sufficiency without becoming a pain to your neighbors. From keeping bees; running a home business, building your own smoker, growing food or keeping poultry or small livestock you can do it in the space you have.
So How much Land is enough to be Self Sufficient?
For a start, everybody wants more land whether it is a farmer and entrepreneur, a business or a homesteader wishing to become self-sufficient. The land is valuable and can always be made to produce more. We would all love to have fields producing crops for us; beautiful woodland and meadows and perhaps a number of livestock. Whether you’re looking for land that can accommodate equipment like 100 hp tractors or a small piece of land that is enough to start growing fruit/veg, this choice depends on the reason behind owning land.
However, if you are limited with space self-sufficient can still be partially accomplished, even in a small suburban garden. This means that if you work all day, your self-sufficient life will take up some of your free time.
Space is always an issue if you live in an ordinary sized home but being self-sufficient should not be a problem if you want to be living more sustainably, the suburban life can still be a productive one. From your greenhouse; beehive, chickens or vegetable patch, there’s always something you can do. You do not have to ‘conform’.
Having an immaculate lawn like your neighbors is effectively a non-producing effective desert area for your home, so it is worth checking with city ordinances to see what can, and cannot be allowed. The last thing you need is one of your neighbors ringing the city inspector because you are unaware there is a bylaw against keeping poultry in your municipality.
If you live in a city, your self-sufficient life also incorporates such things as using public transport as much as possible. It is even possible in the city to have less impact on the environment than those in the similar rural property who are required to drive hundreds of miles every year for work or to get their basics from the store.
Land, of course, is always at a premium and many landowners are reluctant to sell. Particularly farmers; not only is their land producing capital for them. But their long-term intention is usually to acquire even more land and therefore selling is not something that comes across in their vocabulary even land left fallow or unproductive is usually government subsidized, so there is no real need for a farmer ever to sell.
If you are very short of land and incapable of purchasing it could be worthwhile joining a number of land share programs or community gardens which are available across the USA and in many other countries. Land share programs are also available for the citizens and are usually provided by each State. In some cities land is also made available for ‘community gardens’. However, there may be a long waitlist. If you wish to join these groups or bodies remember they can also come with a number of restrictions on what you can do with the land.
Work with what you have available and maximise the space as much as possible. Utilise container gardening, vertical space and raised beds. Look into hydroponics and aquaponics, use a rain barrel to collect water, and make use of a composter or wormery. Consider exploring the use of solar energy or wind power.