Are we over-populated? How much land does a person need to survive growing all their own food? 🌱

in hive-123046 •  18 days ago  (edited)


Answering this question with any kind of certainty is not so easy. There are of course many factors to consider... soil type, altitude, climate, access to water, experience, motivation etc... but the general consensus seems to be that a family of 4 needs around 800m² to survive all year round without going hungry. Which means 200m² per person. In order to do this by the way they must also store some of the food they produce for the winter.

Further info on how to preserve food here

Screen Shot 20190812 at 20.38.29.jpg

Here in France what my family and I have is around 250m², seen exactly four months ago in this panoramic shot. It was a blank canvas back then.


I can say with certainty we are going to achieve our goal of eating over 50% of our food from this garden by the end of the year and it will likely be closer to 80%. But we still need to buy stuff like pasta, rice, flour etc from shops. Eggs too, but our chickens are coming soon...

I made a film yesterday showing where we are currently at with our garden. This is the first film I've made in over 4 months.

Sorry it's just vegetable porn, but that's what I'm into now!

The over population myth

Long have I contended with people who believe this myth. The truth of it is that governments & institutions own the majority of the land on earth and if it were to be distributed fairly, no one would be talking about over-population any more!


So, when you consider this...


...bearing in mind a single human needs only 200m² to survive, you can be sure there is more than enough space for everyone to grow what they need.

Question is... how can we make this happen?

Answers on a postcard please ;)


In Conclusion

1/6th of all deaths this year will be due to (preventable) starvation. But where is the media coverage of this? Where is the panic and worldwide call to action?

Oh yeah, everyone is busy talking about the minuscule number of deaths (by comparison) for covid-19. And the riots which have been born as a result of this madness.

The total number of worldwide deaths are predicted to be 60M this year and the total number of deaths by starvation is currently around 5M. Assuming this figure is set to double during the second half of the year, 1/6th of all deaths this year will be attributed to starvation.

Doesn't that seem like quite a high figure to you? Especially in light of all the drama around a relatively small group of people dying with COVID-19. Which by the way is not the same thing as dying of COVID-19.

The irony of course is that the systems put in place to protect us from covid-19 have largely been responsible for causing the food supply chain break-downs along with a massive reduction in planting and harvesting. The amount of food which has gone to waste as a result is disgusting. And not being talked about by the MSM.

So... how much land does a person need to survive?

Not very much.

And is there enough to go around?

Yes there is.

But only when people wake up to the truth that the streets of cities are not paved with gold will they head to the hills and re-awaken their forgotten connection with the oldest and most important skill of all... how to use the land.


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It's a tough question, as not all land is equal, growable etc. LOVE the term "vegetable porn". 🤣 I took the conscious decision to have only one child, having read many years ago about conscious parenting, resources etc. But if she dies before I do or doesn't want to help on my farm, I'm screwed in my old age. 😆 Smaller families and more collaborative village-style farming makes a lot of sense.

Larger families I believe can work if all the children are educated in the ways of nature. I saw an interesting TED lecture recently in which it was concluded that more people on earth does not mean less food on earth, because more people means more ingenuity & greater workforce.

No doubt your daughter is interested in your farm? How old is she?

That image of the 2000 square meters per person is excellent! Honestly, can you imagine feeding yourself if you were given a square piece of land like that? Most likely not, right? However, if we took a thousand of those plots, and grew layers of overlapping perennial systems on it, imitating nature in a food forest, where a great diversity of interdependent plants and animals would constantly be producing some type of food, I'm sure that it could feed way more than just the thousand people whose little plots we combined. Plus it would offer spaces to live, to play, it would look beautiful, and all species would get to eat, not just us. Looking at the even bigger picture, we could just completely get rid of plots, and manage natural systems in entire watersheds, from the mountain ridges down to the oceans, observing natural patterns and guiding it along in favorable ways, like native culture around the world have done for millennia, then food scarcity and overpopulation would not even be issues any more. But yeah, for that to happen we'd have to work together and cut down fences, whether they may be around public or private land. However that is the hardest part right there, a much bigger challenge than the scientific knowledge. Even though we have lost a great deal of ancestral wisdom about nature, with what we do know today, combined with our inquisitiveness, we could make it all possible, if we could all just start pulling in the right direction.

I love the way you think.

Yep, so much potential for this world.

Connectivity is the key. Especially as different regions grow different kinds of food.

I just followed you on YouTube since Vegetable Porn is what I happen to watch the most these days 😅 I'm in total AWE of your garden, My God!!!

I think 200m2, actually, would be more than enough for a family! Plus vertical gardens are really useful!!! Whatsoever, what I don't believe in is living extremely crowded as they do on cities where you can hear everything the neighbors are saying in the 10m2 apartment besides your 12m2 apartment.
But in the countryside? Come on! Plus having a community garden would be great as well.

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Can't beat a good bit of vegetable porn ;)

All really great points here. With vertical gardening much less space is needed. If one were to be feeling motivated & inventive they could cover their entire house!

Did you see my courtyard?


The majority of our food is attached to the south facing wall.

The large scale Ag farms are highly inefficient at calories per M².
If they were actually turned into actively managed farms, the output could be seriously increased.

The water is already there.
But the land is almost completely barren of people.

Oh, we have more than enough land to feed and house everyone, but we don't use it, instead we make these unsustainable cluster of houses that are so close they should have been built together. And all live in a few giant cities.

So happy those city days are over! It's funny though... back when I lived in London I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. Like an invisible addiction.

We are a community in this village. Only 250 people, so easy to feel like one of the family. Well... if my french was a bit better that would help a lot ;)

I also laugh when people come out with the overpopulation myth! We are all still thinking about soil and not aquaponics and growing on land, but I see a future where we will have to start growing in water (due to microbrobes Ain the soil being exterminated by saterlitte 5G) 😜

Imagine not having to care about locations to grow foods on, wouldnt matter about soil quality or rain fall and also is very economical when theres water shortages.

I saw once a while back, a gravity feed setup in the shape of a pitched tent with something rediculous like 200 plants on a 4x 2 m space on the floor 🤣

What can we do. It has been so well entrenched in our thinking, from school onwards. Funny story... In 155 AD a man called Tertullian caused lots of people to get all worked up about over population because his careful calculations led him to conclude that certain doom wasn't far away.

Yet here we are and people are still getting worked up about the same thing today! haha

Interesting thought about growing in water. Hadn't heard about that one. Will look it up... Any recommended links?

Though when it comes to dry regions all one needs to do is use key line farming techniques, following the natural flow of raining season water, collecting it in big pools, distributing it to the land when it is needed. Even deserts can be turned into fertile grow zones with the right knowledge.

By the way, I am enjoying freedomcells. Great concepts.

Seeking 8 people now!

a very motivating post! I thought you would need about 1/2 hectar for a household, so with this even lower number you mention, an opt-out into self-sufficency looks more feasible.

With vertical farming I believe we really don't need much space at all. The trick is being clever ;)

sure. But it can't hurt to have some social distance, too.
Not because of that virus. Because of the people :D

haha! Yes, distance from certain people is no bad thing ;)

Sam! This is bloody amazing!

Here I have experimental lettuce...

My friend, that sounded so Bourgeoisie :D

The red cabbage looks epic, the beetroot too. 30 or 40 apricots ah who'll ever notice haha. I had zero clue that rocket flowered. This is quite the survival store you have going man. You have this stuff sussed, it will become better and better and easier and easier year by year in fact I am gonna say something you have probably been told many times in life Sam...

You could be the next Doris!

Your question. That is trickier to address. Like many people I was always worried about the exponential growth projection chart that you have likely stumbled across before. It predicted a doubling upon doubling upon doubling. When you consider those pesky exponentials it looked bleak for us.

Further research and looking at the empirical birth and death rates around the planet presented an entirely different picture though. Birth rates are falling in many Western nations at rates that look like we could actually be sent in to a population decline from which it may be difficult to recover and arrest the numbers.

I no longer believe that the apocalyptic vision is in any way shape or form correct. I am slightly concerned by the media's desperation to have us believe this narrative. You know as well as I that when there is a narrative being pushed so aggressively... We should be at a state of heightened alert and asking ourselves what is really going on.

I read another of your posts this week that I never got around to commenting on which is more often than I care to admit. I was struck by the comment you made about Esteban is a little disappointed to be returning to school after

living as children are supposed to for the last 3 months.

That resonated massively and as I likely won't get back to comment thought I would tip a nod to the sentiment here lol. You have the coolest storage area of any allotment in the world hands down Sam.

Very best wishes to you and yours from me and mine. May you all prosper and enjoy the bounty that will be on your table for many a month to come. Take good care my friend :)

Thanks brother. Your enthusiastic & encouraging words are always massively appreciated. It ain't easy, but I'm doing my best. And we can't do better than that ;)

Am actually working on another film now... showing the abundance of the garden before presenting the current problems of the world & some realistic solutions.

If you feel like it, here are the last 7mins of the 20min film I edited yesterday. I would be interested to get your feedback before I remove it from YouTube in the next few days.

Too much with the ending? What do you think?

No Sam. Far from too much. Take the following comment in the spirit it is intended :)

It stopped short of being militant I hope you know what I mean by that. It doesn't have that tone that switches many off.

It created a compelling call to action The message needs to be strong and firm enough. We live in a world ruled by sensationalism, you stopped befor that part lol.

It carried your energy, choice of language for the captions that is endearing and can surely only ever be perceived as coming from a place of good :)

Thanks for sharing this and for valuing my feedback man. Take good care and have an amazing weekend and an even better week to follow my friend.

I always feel like you can tell when I am typing quickly before I leave for something, maybe I use my words more quickly, may be it is garbled lol. But I am typing quickly mad-professor style lol. :)

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