How much food does your family eat in a year? The answer may surprise you, unless you’ve been planning a garden to feed them. Deciding how much to plant can make the difference between a lean year and a fat one. Careful planning and recordkeeping are essential if you want to live off your land.
When planning your homestead, it can be useful to know a total goal for food production. According to the USDA, the average American eats about 825 pounds of food a year, plus sweeteners. About 275 pounds of the average diet are derived from fresh and preserved fruit and vegetables. This number only accounts for edible food weight, however; in reality, you must grow much more. The USDA documents that nearly twice as much food is grown. The extra weight is comprised of parts not used, spoilage and wastage. Assuming you will do better than the average Joe at using up all the parts of what you grow, you should account for a 30 percent loss rate. That means you will need to grow at least 360 pounds of fruits and vegetables per person. You may also need to grow food for livestock, which is not accounted for here. If you plan to be truly self-sufficient, the remaining food sources will be whole grains, nuts, seeds, dairy, eggs, legumes and/or meat.