If you follow our mission here at Mezzacello you know I never have any expectation of full sustainability. I shoot with confidence for 40% offset in food costs. I actually get closer to 30% with loss, pests, and poor storage prep. That’s the cost of working organically with Mother Nature. I am am good with that.

This past year I experimented with increasing yields and succession planting as well as hydroponics and alternative food sources. I think I hit closer to a 45% yield to food cost ratio. I was pretty proud of that. I have a cellar pantry that is pretty well stocked going into January. That’s a milestone for me.

I did the math (topology, geometry, statistical analysis, and simple algebra) early on and I knew my 231 sq meter (758 sq ft) would not be enough to grow enough food that could also be properly preserved, stored or saved.

Mezzacello Urban Farm campus diagram. North is to the left, east at the top. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

There are additional limitations to maximizing yield like initially poor soil structure, poor micro flora and fauna, urban pests like rats, racoons, squirrels, and birds. But I was never able to find a source for HOW much food one would need to grow to sustain a family. Until now.

i came across this website this morning while I was researching the most efficient way to preserve carrots and leeks. It’s not exhaustive, but it is enlightening. We eat a lot more than even I had imagined. Mind you, this does not include grains, meat or dairy. So here is a great resource for how much food you need to grow to sustain one person:

How Much Should You Plant To Provide A Year’s Worth of Food

I will update this blog when i get back to a desktop so the data can live in this post as a static resource. Cheers!

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