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RE: [pfaf] Re: Mininum land for vegetarian garden.

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  • Paul
    I have not seen the study you refer to but I should think it would be very difficult to be self-sufficient on such a small piece of land with only vegetable
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 6, 2002
      I have not seen the study you refer to but I should think it would be
      very difficult to be self-sufficient on such a small piece of land with
      only vegetable input and output. Apart from dealing with the problem of
      months of plenty against months of little as you mentioned, there is
      also the problem of nutrient loss. Without using animal waste, the
      amount of vegetable matter required for composting would be large (even
      with a system for using human waste) and the space to produce this
      material would not be there, as it would be necessary to grow food crops
      on most of the available land quite intensively I would have thought.

      I also don't think that using animals necessarily uses large amounts of
      space. Obviously keeping cows or pigs uses a lot of land, but what about
      chickens, rabbits or pigeons? All tasty and nutritious and can create
      perfect compost from vegetable matter in about 12 hours. It would be
      quite possible to keep either or all of these creatures in free range
      conditions without great demands on space. Eating them during the lean
      winter times could make self sufficiency far easier.



      From: Ken Fern [mailto:ken.fern@...]
      Sent: 06 June 2002 11:54
      To: grahamburnett@...
      Cc: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [pfaf] Re: Mininum land for vegetarian garden.

      Dear Graham

      Long time no see. I hope everything is well with you.

      I read your comments on minimum land use with some interest. I think you
      will find that the one fifth of an acre for a vegan figure came
      originally
      from a scientist called Kenneth Mellanby. He was commissioned by the
      government of the day (back in the 70's if my memory serves me well) to
      see
      if it was possible to grow all the food needs of Britain in Britain
      instead
      of importing so much food. His findings were eventually published in a
      book
      called, I believe 'Can Britain Feed Itself'.

      Amongst his many findings were that a meat eater needed up to 10 acres
      to
      provide their annual food needs (depending on the types of meat they
      ate) a
      vegetarian up to 2 and a half acres (depending on the amount of dairy
      produce they consumed) and a vegan one fifth of an acre. These findings
      were
      average figures based on the population as a whole. They were also based
      on
      average conventional (not organic) agricultural yields.

      Whilst these figures, used as a comparison, work well to show how much
      easier it would be to feed a vegan world, as you point out they can be
      confusing for individuals with their own small plots of land.

      I think it would be very difficult for one individual, even if they were
      very healthy, to grow all their food needs on one fifth of an acre, even
      if
      it was prime agricultural land. There would be bound to be times of glut
      and
      times of shortage. However, if a group of, say, five people shared an
      acre
      of land then it would be easier to smooth out the gluts and there would
      also
      be more space for growing the larger crops such as nut trees.

      As regards comparing yields from conventional agriculture with those
      obtained from a perennial gardening system, particularly using woodland
      gardening, there are no figures yet published (as far as I know) to show
      how
      productive a perennial system can be so no comparison is possible. It is
      up
      to all of us to start getting our acts together and recording what we
      are
      doing and how much food we are obtaining from our land - when we do this
      then we might start influencing mainstream agriculture.

      Look after yourself

      Love and Peace

      Ken Fern
    • quercusrobur2002
      Thanks for your reply ken, this makes alot of sense, and puts this oft- quoted figure into a more meaningful context! I m also pleased for the more substantial
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 7, 2002
        Thanks for your reply ken, this makes alot of sense, and puts this
        oft- quoted figure into a more meaningful context! I'm also pleased
        for the more substantial reference than an old vegan society leaflet!

        Cheers Graham

        --- In pfaf@y..., "Ken Fern" <ken.fern@l...> wrote:
        > Dear Graham
        >
        > Long time no see. I hope everything is well with you.
        >
        > I read your comments on minimum land use with some interest. I
        think you
        > will find that the one fifth of an acre for a vegan figure came
        originally
        > from a scientist called Kenneth Mellanby. He was commissioned by
        the
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