A recent report found that more than 2 in 5 U.S. families are now growing their own food. Of course, the majority of these families are just supplementing the food they get from the grocery store. But some can feed their family solely from the food they produce.
If you’d like to reach that point, then you’re in the right place. This guide will help you get started. Keep reading to learn how to start producing all of your food independently.
1. Get Enough Space
First, it’s important to make sure that you have enough space to become food-independent. But this can be tough to do so since estimates of the exact amount of acreage you need vary from source to source.
Some experts say you need 5-10 acres to safely have enough space to produce your own food in a year. But other sources have demonstrated that you can actually grow most of your own food in a year with just a fifth of an acre.
The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. If you have 1-2 acres of land that you can use for growing food and raising animals, then you should have the space you need to feed your family.
With less space than that, you will be restricted in what you can do. You may still achieve food independence, but it may require some inventiveness and highly-structured framing methods to get the job done.
2. Know How Much Food You Need
Once you’re positive that you have enough space to become food independent, you can start getting specific about what that means in terms of food production.
For example, you may need as many as 75-200lbs of potatoes per harvest for a single adult. If you can produce 10-20 pounds of potatoes in a single 10-foot row, then you would likely need about ten rows of potatoes per person in your family.
You can perform this kind of math for each crop you plan on growing to get an overall picture of what you’ll need to feed your family for the year.
One thing to note while doing these calculations is that things can, and often do, go wrong when growing food. Therefore, you may want to plant more than you need just to be safe.
3. Make the Most Of Your Space
When trying to become food independent, getting as much as possible out of your property becomes essential. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure you do that.
Plant in Every Season
There are many different varieties of crops that you can grow to feed your family. This makes it possible to produce food year-round so that you always add to your stockpiles no matter the season.
For example, cold-weather crops include kale, spinach, and collards. Hot-weather crops include squash, berries, and tomatoes, among others. When you rotate between these types of crops, you get to take full advantage of the growing windows on your property to produce more fresh, healthy food for your family to enjoy.
Get Creative with Infrastructure
Raising animals like chickens can significantly increase the amount of protein you create to give your family in the form of both eggs and meat. But you don’t necessarily want to install permanent chicken coops that reduce your amount of growing space.
Getting creative with infrastructure by installing things like a mobile chicken coop may be your solution. These allow you to keep chickens on your property so that you can produce eggs while also being able to move the chickens’ enclosure as your growing needs change.
For example, you could move your chicken coop in-between seasons so that you can always grow seasonal crops where they’ll perform best.
Focus on Calorie Crops
If you’re going to become food independent, then you need to produce enough calories for your family to live on. The best way to ensure that happens is by focusing on so-called calorie crops.
This is a list of foods that includes potatoes, corn, beans, avocados, squash, sunflower seeds, and other kinds of calorie-dense crops. The more of these you grow, the easier it will become to give your family the calories they need to stay healthy year-round.
4. Execute Your Plan
Now all that’s left to do is to get out there and begin executing the plan you’ve created. To do that, you’ll need some equipment and a willingness to put in a lot of time and effort.
The real secret to becoming food independently is simply putting in the work. If you can do that consistently, you can absolutely reach the goals you’ve set. It may just take a season or two to get there.