Bullshark

Open Source Permaculture

13 posts in this topic

Stumbledupon a lovely vid about some folks setting up to support a group of 30-40 people sustainably.

I've been planning for a 5 acre property for me and mine, I am wondering if there is an established acreage size per person? The region will be west-gippsland which seems reasonably fertile for this kind of thing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stumbledupon a lovely vid about some folks setting up to support a group of 30-40 people sustainably.

I've been planning for a 5 acre property for me and mine, I am wondering if there is an established acreage size per person? The region will be west-gippsland which seems reasonably fertile for this kind of thing

Oh permaculture, permaculture, you fickle mistress...

It is a fantastic dream, and many efforts are begun, but most dribble away in tiredness, disillusion, and low productivity.

Don't let me put you off, though ;)

I think it might work better in tropical or subtropical areas, but in temperate areas it is quite difficult.

I speak from experience as I was brought up on a smallholding that was sustainable/organic/permacultural at various points. (This was a while ago, spanning maybe 20 years.)

It is quite hard work if you want to eat well. I remember it well.

But it does encourage self reliance, attention to detail, compassion and problem-solving ability IMHO. (And either a great tolerance for, or total aversion to, hard work in later life!)

Also, FWIW, my old man used to talk about Gippsland as though it was the Promised Land, awash with decent rainfall and deep fertile soil, so you may find you milage varies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I admit that hard physical work will be a requirement and this is quite the opposite to the hard mental work currently being expended - I am also aware that the flesh may be weak, but still - "a man can dream, a man can dream..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stumbledupon a lovely vid about some folks setting up to support a group of 30-40 people sustainably.

I've been planning for a 5 acre property for me and mine, I am wondering if there is an established acreage size per person? The region will be west-gippsland which seems reasonably fertile for this kind of thing

I became a bit of a convert after reading John Seymours' "The complete book of self sufficiency". Found a 77 copy in an old book store.

Not sure if the term permaculture was around then but he had similar principles, increase bio diversity as much as possible, rotate your fields year on year including your livestock and have lay years for clover etc. He called it High Farming from memory.

From what I've read it's approx 1 acre per person to be self sufficient, John Seymours' book said you could keep a family of 5-6 in meat, veg, grain, clothes, fuel, beer & cider on 5 acres including food for the livestock. Making everything yourself would take heaps of time. Fun, but hard. Might want to consider growing a little surplus unless you want to make your own clothes & vegemite. wink.gif

Many sources on the net say it can be done with less.

I thought this article was interesting - http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/3090

Some good info here too - http://tinyfarmwiki....d_one_person%3F

Vic acreage still seems a bit expensive to me, especially when you factor in all the setup costs, time & labour. Should prices drop in the cities I wonder how rural prices will react.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I became a bit of a convert after reading John Seymours' "The complete book of self sufficiency". Found a 77 copy in an old book store.

Not sure if the term permaculture was around then but he had similar principles, increase bio diversity as much as possible, rotate your fields year on year including your livestock and have lay years for clover etc. He called it High Farming from memory.

From what I've read it's approx 1 acre per person to be self sufficient, John Seymours' book said you could keep a family of 5-6 in meat, veg, grain, clothes, fuel, beer & cider on 5 acres including food for the livestock. Making everything yourself would take heaps of time. Fun, but hard. Might want to consider growing a little surplus unless you want to make your own clothes & vegemite. wink.gif

Many sources on the net say it can be done with less.

I thought this article was interesting - http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/3090

Some good info here too - http://tinyfarmwiki....d_one_person%3F

Vic acreage still seems a bit expensive to me, especially when you factor in all the setup costs, time & labour. Should prices drop in the cities I wonder how rural prices will react.

Good links, and yes prices are high but for maybe $350,000 I can get enough land and a half decent little place.

On the plus side my Old Man is retiring and wants to move out there so I am hoping I can get started by setting him up and leasing the place to him while working it on the weekend - might work, might not (plus I can negatively gear the F*$k out of it - lol)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good links, and yes prices are high but for maybe $350,000 I can get enough land and a half decent little place.

On the plus side my Old Man is retiring and wants to move out there so I am hoping I can get started by setting him up and leasing the place to him while working it on the weekend - might work, might not (plus I can negatively gear the F*$k out of it - lol)

Had a look at Gippsland after your post as the wife's been settled on the west. You're right there are some great ones for 300k+.

Nice idea. NG the F*$k out of it. pisser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I became a bit of a convert after reading John Seymours' "The complete book of self sufficiency". Found a 77 copy in an old book store.

Not sure if the term permaculture was around then but he had similar principles, increase bio diversity as much as possible, rotate your fields year on year including your livestock and have lay years for clover etc. He called it High Farming from memory.

From what I've read it's approx 1 acre per person to be self sufficient, John Seymours' book said you could keep a family of 5-6 in meat, veg, grain, clothes, fuel, beer & cider on 5 acres including food for the livestock. Making everything yourself would take heaps of time. Fun, but hard. Might want to consider growing a little surplus unless you want to make your own clothes & vegemite. wink.gif

Many sources on the net say it can be done with less.

I thought this article was interesting - http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/3090

Some good info here too - http://tinyfarmwiki....d_one_person%3F

Vic acreage still seems a bit expensive to me, especially when you factor in all the setup costs, time & labour. Should prices drop in the cities I wonder how rural prices will react.

John Seymour was our family bible.

(At least initially - we outgrew him after a few years, in terms of local knowledge)

It's a lot more work than it looks.

My family was successful for a couple of decades, we lived well but there was not much time off or recreation for it's own sake.

It is also constant because plants and animals don't take time off and therefore you can't either.

It is a lifestyle in the truest sense, a total immersion thing.

It's good life though, and it has given me a respect for nature that colours everything I do.

Maybe it could be introduced in a scheme similar to the old Nasho service. A couple of years of caring for other living things, and only eating what you can coax to grow would utterly change our civilisation.

Living like that really does occupy all your life if you do it properly, otherwise it is just like a lot of half-arsed hippie initiatives, all talk and broken promises. (I've seen a few of those, too).

By my reckoning you need closer to 5 acres of good land per person in temperate Australia. And good water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John Seymour was our family bible.

(At least initially - we outgrew him after a few years, in terms of local knowledge)

It's a lot more work than it looks.

My family was successful for a couple of decades, we lived well but there was not much time off or recreation for it's own sake.

It is also constant because plants and animals don't take time off and therefore you can't either.

It is a lifestyle in the truest sense, a total immersion thing.

It's good life though, and it has given me a respect for nature that colours everything I do.

Maybe it could be introduced in a scheme similar to the old Nasho service. A couple of years of caring for other living things, and only eating what you can coax to grow would utterly change our civilisation.

Living like that really does occupy all your life if you do it properly, otherwise it is just like a lot of half-arsed hippie initiatives, all talk and broken promises. (I've seen a few of those, too).

By my reckoning you need closer to 5 acres of good land per person in temperate Australia. And good water.

Great to hear from someone who's done it. I'll take your word for it being more work than it looks. I really like the idea of growing a substantial amount of your food locally though, perhaps that includes trading surplus at a farmers market or something. I agree, to do the lot start to finish, growing every variety you want would take up most your time and I've only read a few books and keep a little veggie patch in the court yard...

A couple of decades is bloody good going. The wife and I are hoping to somehow strike a good mix between growing our own and working in our professions. Livestock would add a heap more work but I'd like to give it a go small scale. Hoping to avoid either having a broken body or a fried brain... Somewhere deep down though I think I might be a half arsed hippy

I've done veggie patches with my Dad, done a lot of camping and a decent bit of travel. I think that is what's needed, a respect for nature that influences everything we do. I hear schools are integrating farming topics into history, geography and science and more projects/involvement with conservation, growing food & environmental issues. It's great as I think many city/suburb dwellers have lost connection with the land & food.

5 Acres per person, that much really?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...Livestock would add a heap more work but I'd like to give it a go small scale...

I think chickens are a good place to start as you don't have to kill them for produce and they are pretty good at defending themselves.

Of course you do kill some of them which exposes you to the slightly less fun aspect of self sufficiency. If you can eat them after killing them you at least know you might be able to kill and eat an animal like a pig. I suspect part of the reason they were so popular historically was you could let them go feral and so not get attached to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The acreage required per person is dependant on a lot of variables. For instance, if you need to provide wood for heating you will need more land. If you want a varied diet including substantial amounts of meat that is also going to require more land.

There are many discussions on this topic at the peak oil websites. This issue and many other sustainability issues are discussed at length at the LATOC (Life After the Oil Crash) forum in the gardening and self sufficiency threads. Many of the posters there are actually working quite hard towards sustainability and you will find varying opinions on how much land is required and ultimately whether it really can be done in isolation. The consensus seems to be that growing a reasonable variety of fruits, veg and cereal together with keeping limited numbers of animals and trading within a local community framework (I mean neighbours not an intentional community) is the best way to go. Trying to cover too many bases is extremely hard work and requires a lot of knowledge that can only be built up over a good number of years.

Having read extensively on this I'm initially working towards lots of fruit and nut trees, chickens (their poo is good, eggs nice, and relatively easy to keep), an extensive vege patch and a stocked dam. I figure it will take years to master these before moving on to livestock, crops etc. There's a lot to consider like the quality of your soil and any amendments that may be required. Composting etc. I guess all these things sound fairly easy in theory but take quite a bit of knowledge and trial and error to achieve good results in practice.

You might be interested in Southern Cross Permaculture in Leongatha Sth as they are nearby to where you are proposing to move and they run an accredited permaculture course. I have been to see them but I haven't done the course. My neighbour has recently done it but I haven't seen him to get a review. I will post his thoughts later.

Finally, please be aware that in some parts of Gippsland you cannot currently build a house on under 100 acres (unless a prior permit has been granted). I know this is the case in Sth Gipps but you might want to check potential changes in West Gipps as well.

Edited by fed up

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might also want to get a copy of Mollinson's Introduction to Permaculture and later his design manual (ebay is best - but still not cheap). There's a lot of planning involved in Permaculture and therefore it would be easier to employ a plan from the outset rather than making changes later. He contends that you can turn any piece of land into something usable but I would think you would cut out quite a lot of work if you had the principles in mind when you were looking for a property.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So many good intentions.

And so many theorists.

It would be prudent to bear in mind that Mollison does not make his living from the land, he makes his living talking about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So many good intentions.

And so many theorists.

It would be prudent to bear in mind that Mollison does not make his living from the land, he makes his living talking about it.

Yes I know and I don't think that it's the only solution (if there is one at all). As I said in my previous post, doing a range of things yourself and then having an active role in your local community where you can provide a service, or trade produce is probably the best thing you can do. I don't believe self sufficiency at the family level is viable.

If part of your approach is going to involve Permaculture (which I think is valid in an attempt at some sort of self management) then obviously Mollinson's books are highly relevant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now