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What’s the difference between 700 and 30,000?

March 19, 2012

What’s the difference between 700 and 30,000? 29,300 of course! You already knew that though. Perhaps what you didn’t know is that 30,000 square feet is the estimated area needed to grow enough fruits and vegetables for a single person for a year in the current and industrialized agricultural model. You also might not have known that using bio-intensive growing methods (such as square food gardening or other systems) it is estimated that you can grow all the fruits and veggies for a family of three in 700 square feet. Yes, you read that right, THREE! Throw in another 700 square feet and you can grow much of what you need for compost to keep that original 700 square feet thriving. (source: Mini Farming: Self Sufficiency on 1/4 acre by Brett L. Markham)

So maybe my question should have been “what’s the difference between 233.33333333 and 30,000”, but I just don’t think it has the same ring to it. Either way, the numbers are staggering. Imagine what we could do with all that extra room!

A 35′ x 20′ garden is all it would take for you to grow most of your food. Most of us at the Well’s Branch Community Garden only have a 10′ x 20′ plot, some have two of them. That means that if we really worked at it and designed our gardens well, we could provide almost 1/3 of our produce needs for the year! If you spend as much as we do on groceries, that will really add up! I think that most people who garden don’t get the chance to realize any savings from their garden. I think the reality is that most of us pay extra money for the pleasure of growing our food. That’s fine, I’ll happily pay that price, but wouldn’t it be so much better if we could basically get paid for doing what we love?? I hope that’s a rhetorical question…

The best part about it for me? That’s easy. I know what I am eating. I know everything that went into my soil. I know that I didn’t spray my plants with toxic chemicals. I know that I can feel good about letting my son pick and eat anything in our plot. I know that I didn’t force anyone to work in terrible conditions or force them to work for low pay, or worse, to feed me.


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