Friday, 2 August 2013

Low Acre Lifestyles

I'm working on a paper at the moment so don't have enough time to properly write some of the blog posts I have lined up (including one about how local the fish in your seaside chippy is). Instead I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some interesting links about land and self sufficiency - more particularly, links about being self sufficient on limited landholdings. Just how much land is actually necessary to live 'the good life'?

Barbara Good: both my 1970s style icon, and my self sufficiency gardening icon.
First off, we have an input from 1864: a charming little book called Ten Acres Enough, a practical experience showing how a very small farm may be made to keep a very large family. This can be downloaded and read in full online at, which must be one of my favourite sites on the web.

Next up, another advocate of ten acres and another favourite of mine - a 2011 report by UK organisation The Ecological Land Cooperative entitled Small is Successful. This reports on the possibility of running a successful land-based business on ten acres or less - and even down to two acres in some cases. Click through to download the PDF.

And now, with even smaller acreage, we have 1907 classic Three Acres and Liberty by Bolton Hall (who in this case is a man, not a building in Yorkshire). This is provided by Australian website Soil and Health Library, which publishes loads of interesting out of print books about agriculture and self sufficiency online, and is well worth a browse.

Bolton Hall

Not Bolton Hall

Finally, we have this super-inspirational video about the US based Dervaes family, who are self sufficient off a tiny 1/10 of an acre urban garden! Have a look at their website for more fascinating information about their amazing and unusual way of life.

So there you go. How much do you need to be self sufficient? If you're as talented as the Dervaes, just 1/10 of an acre. Imagine what we could do if we used all agricultural land so fruitfully.