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Martin
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Im doing research for a novel I am writing.Say you were

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I'm doing research for a novel I am writing.

Say you were trying to be self sufficient. If you had 1 acre of land solely for farming, how many people could you feed if you strictly only ate what you grew? The land would not be used for livestock, strictly vegetation. This is a hypothetical question, considering the best conditions with adequate sun and water supply. Additionally, what kind of vegetables would you need to grow each season (winter, fall, spring, summer) to retain adequate nutrition?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Martin replied 2 years ago.
Hello. In physic calculation i always put all the data in energy term as i find it easier to calculate things with the same units. Let's do the same thing with food. The energy unit of food is calories.

Let's take potatoes as it's one of the most energetic one. 400 calories for 1 pound of potatoes. An average human will need 2000 calories and 730000 for a whole year.

One cycle of production will give around 39000 pound. As it take 10 week to do that we can multiply by 5 for a full year, so it give 195000 pound for 1 acre for a whole year. Multiply by 4/5 to account to have potatoes to plant for the next year, we get 156000.

156000 * 400 = 62400000 calorie available in total / 730000 = 85 human.

That is quite an approximation as many factors are not took into account. If i take the following info to verify the ball park data:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato

"A single acre of potatoes and the milk of a single cow was enough to feed a whole Irish family a monotonous but nutritionally adequate diet for a healthy, vigorous (and desperately poor) rural population"

As family of 7 x 5 possible ideal harvest in a year give 35 human. Taking into account the yield of the time and added calorie intake because of manual labor, it make 85 very plausible with ideal conditions.

The additional vegetables needed would be carrot (beta-caroten), onion for sulfur, green things for iron like spinach, lettuce for calcium. All the recommended fruit and vegetable. Those produce lot less calorie so they dent a bit into the potatoes area. Perhaps the 85 would go down to 70 if we add the healthy factor. Also we did not count the field rotations and wait period (assuming we have plenty of fertilizer as you mentioned ideal conditions).



Martin, Engineer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4040
Experience: i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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