How so much land would you like? (free calculator)

Most of my subscribers plan on buying some land to enhance and farm sooner or later, perhaps even arrange a meals forest – however usually, it’s only a pipedream in the mean time.

What’s holding them again?

“I can’t afford to purchase land but. Realistically it will likely be X years earlier than I can get the funds in place, and I’m prepared to maneuver.”

Yes, shopping for land would possibly simply be a pipedream proper now.

It is perhaps a 12 months or two, or 5, till you get your geese in a row and might begin trying to find land for actual, however right here is the factor: you may by no means be too ready or too early for a venture of this dimension.

You ought to take into consideration your plans, how a lot land you’ll want, and the place to relocate, all earlier than you begin taking a look at particular person properties. You can do that forward of time with out having cash within the financial institution for the dream property.

And by studying upfront what makes a great property from a permaculture perspective, you’ll be ready and in a position to run out of the gate as quickly because the alternatives current themselves.

Here is the very very first thing you must do:

Figure out how a lot land you really need to purchase.

(Hint: You don’t want as a lot land as you suppose!)

Let’s calculate it collectively:

Step 1. Decide in your supposed way of life and the general use of the property. (5 min)

Which of those finest describes what you propose to do in your land: homesteading, farmsteading, or farming?


The core theme of homesteading is self-reliance – producing meals, drugs, vitality, assets, and so forth., to help your loved ones.

The purpose is to be as self-reliant as potential, not depending on the “grid” public utilities, and, as a homesteader, you try to make the most of the land and its assets for that goal.

In apply, which means that you develop and protect your fruit and veggies, increase your individual meat and protect it and that you simply produce your individual energy via the usage of renewable applied sciences; photo voltaic, wind, and water.

You minimize and retailer wooden for heating, develop grains, minimize hay in your animals… and so forth. It doesn’t essentially imply that you simply’ll do all these items, however that you simply take your self-reliance critically, and it’s a job in itself.

When working a homestead, you may need a surplus of your merchandise and promote them, however you aren’t making an attempt to run a enterprise on the land. Your earnings comes from elsewhere, and you reside off the land.


In farming, the core theme is producing cash by promoting farm merchandise, i.e., making a dwelling off the farm, whether or not that’s livestock, fruits, greens, mushrooms, or different uncooked supplies you develop on the land.

The purpose is to create a sustainable earnings for your self by using your land. The farm is a enterprise, and also you run it that method, creating gross sales and advertising and marketing, more than likely having workers, working with apprentices, decreasing your inputs and labor prices, and maximizing effectivity and income.

You can opt-in for various kinds of farms. For instance, you would concentrate on particular domains, focus solely on vegetable manufacturing in a market backyard setting, or increase animals similar to cattle or perennial crops in a permaculture orchard mannequin. Or you would have a various farm based mostly on agroforestry ideas and run all aforementioned enterprises collectively.

The choices are quite a few, however the level is you rely in your earnings from farming to pay your payments – though, in actuality, you would possibly nonetheless have an off-farm job to make ends meet.


In farmsteading, the core theme is homesteading and stacking some business enterprise into your property web site. So the purpose is, like in homesteading, to be self-reliant by offering for your loved ones’s wants, however you additionally try to revenue from sure operations in your land.

As in farming, you’ll run your business enterprises as a enterprise, preserve separate accounts for house and farm, conduct gross sales and advertising and marketing, and have skilled tools that maximizes effectivity within the manufacturing course of.

However, provided that farming will not be all you do, and being self-reliant is a job in itself, you’ll are inclined to deal with a particular kind of manufacturing – whether or not that’s, for instance, pastured pork, high-turnaround greens, microgreens, goat milk merchandise, a nursery, or the rest that the market wants. And then, as time and circumstances permit, you would possibly begin and stack different enterprises.

Your primary earnings supply is perhaps a job off the farm, however the farm “facet job” is making you a revenue, and finally, it would grow to be a full-time job as with farming.

Action merchandise: select one class that finest describes what you propose to do in your land and make a remark of it.

Step 2. Map out the forms of permaculture methods you’ll have in your land. (10 min)

Once you understand the general theme, we are able to begin defining the methods you’ll have in your land. Each of us has completely different wants, needs, abilities and preferences, so the forms of methods we’ll have on our land might be completely different and distinctive to our context.

To simplify issues, here’s a desk the place we’ll break up these methods into 5 classes and description the commonest parts for every.

Use this desk to outline the forms of methods you need in your land.

For instance, for an off-grid homestead:

  • From the infrastructure column, you may want a home, outbuilding, and energy-generating infrastructure.
  • From private meals manufacturing, you’ll need perennial meals manufacturing (house orchard or meals forest), annual greens (house backyard), and small livestock.
  • You gained’t have any income-generating actions that require scale and specialization.
  • Still, you’ll need wooded areas for uncooked materials for gas and heating,
  • And you may want wildlands for privateness and as a buffer from any neighbors who is perhaps spraying.

For an agroforestry farm:

Action merchandise: decide and select parts from these classes that may apply to your scenario and context. Tick the related packing containers on the ‘Land Plan’ sheet of the Land Size Calculator.

Step 3. Calculate how a lot land you really need in your dream based mostly on the general land use and permaculture methods you chose in steps 1 and a pair of (20 min)

Now, let’s crunch some numbers and get a great guess of the acreage you’ll want for every part you need to do.

Note that this calculus assumes that the land you’ll be taking a look at is common. It has common soil, a median rising local weather, common water availability, sufficient mild for issues to develop…

Going past the typical would wish some adjusting of the numbers. For instance, you would wish much less land to realize the identical objectives in a tropical rainforest biome and extra in a desert or tundra.

With that, I counsel you watch this video, which particulars the land dimension necessities for numerous methods outlined in Step 2. You can watch it at a 2x velocity to save lots of time.

Below the video, I’ll create a fast abstract of the details mentioned, and also you’ll then enter the related information into my Land Size Calculator, which can compute every part for you.

(10 min) Watch this video at 2x velocity:


Video |Transcript | Slides


-> Housing, outbuildings, and entry factors similar to driveways and parking. 

General house advice: the entire infrastructure envelope with your home, outbuildings, and entry factors will be from an 0.25 acres to as much as 2 acres of house, with the typical infrastructure house requirement being round 0.5 an acre.

->  Off-grid vitality infrastructure

Does not want any specific house necessities. It will be fitted on a roof or floor house that the above-mentioned infrastructure parts are already taking over.

Personal Food (and drugs) manufacturing

-> Veggie manufacturing

General house advice: 0.25 – 0.5 of an acre is sufficient house to supply sufficient veggies for a household of 4.

-> Personal manufacturing of fruit and nuts, together with medicinals – meals forest

General house advice: 0.25 of an acre to 1 acre is sufficient house for the sort of manufacturing.


-> Free-range chickens (and different poultry)

General house advice: every rooster wants at most 100 sq. toes or 10 sq. meters of house. If you need a flock of 20 chickens to get all of the eggs you want plus some meat for the freezer, you’ll want 2000 sq. toes or 185 sq. meters of house. This quantity of house will be offered by the 0.25-acre to a 1-acre meals forest that’s already supplying you with fruits and nuts.

Bigger livestock – sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle

General house advice: You’ll want to seek out the carrying capability of the area you propose to seek for land by way of the native extension workplace. And based mostly on that, make guesstimates on how a lot pasture land you’ll want for the actual kind of livestock you propose on having. Some tough estimates on the house wants of assorted animals for elements of the world with roughly common rising situations will be seen within the desk under.

Income-generating actions 

Note: these are principally based mostly on the inputs from Richard Perkins’ Regenerative Agriculture e-book.

-> Nursery

General house advice: If you need to run a nursery as a worthwhile enterprise, you are able to do it on as little as 3000 sq. toes or some 300 sq. meters. Count that you simply’ll want between 0.1  and 0.25 of an acre at most.

-> Market Garden

General house advice: If you need to develop veggies for the market, you are able to do this profitably on as little as 0.5 an acre, with 2 acres being the utmost quantity of land manageable as a single individual’s full-time job.

-> Pastured broilers

General house advice: To increase chickens this manner, you would wish 1 acre of pasture per 500 birds. Joel Salatin and Richard Perkins suggest that you simply want some 5 acres of land to make an honest revenue on these operations.

-> Pastured layers

General house advice:  To increase chickens this manner and switch an honest revenue, you would wish twice as a lot house as pastured broilers, some 10 acres of land.

-> Pastured or forest-raised pigs

General house advice: The really helpful stocking charges are some 10 – 20 pigs per acre for pasture-raised or half of that for elevating pigs within the forest. This interprets to 10 – 15 acres of land for the sort of operation.

-> Permaculture orchard

General house advice: For a permaculture orchard enterprise, you would possibly want not less than 5 acres of land. To make this scale worthwhile, you would wish to emulate the Stefan Sobkowiak gross sales and advertising and marketing mannequin.

-> Agroforestry crops

General house advice: To acquire economies of scale for rising fruit and nuts past the permaculture-orchard kind of operation, you’ll need to take into account some 20 –100 acres planted underneath tree crops to show an honest revenue.

-> Pastured dairy 

General house advice: The minimal quantity of land for what Richard Perkins calls pastured micro-dairy is a few 60 acres, which assumes having some 45 animals. On the higher finish, a full-size dairy operation with extra animals can require twice as a lot land dimension.

-> Pastured beef 

General house advice: According to Richard, you’ll want some 135 acres of land to make sure an honest return in your funding. And this quantity will be a lot larger, relying on the variety of animals within the herd you’ll be elevating.

-> Pasture-raised sheep

General house advice: You’ll want the same quantity of land as beef, probably even barely extra. The advice is a few 150 acres of land at minimal to make this enterprise worthwhile.

Action merchandise: Use these suggestions listed above and write down your estimated house necessities on the ‘Land Calculator’ sheet within the Land Size Calculator. 

When you’re carried out, you’ll see a display screen like this with the ultimate quantity (in addition to a breakdown of the dimensions necessities for every permaculture system):

P.S. Here’s what subscriber John needed to say concerning the Land Size Calculator: “glorious mainframe information, very concise. I actually respect your thorough group of those concerns.”

Further studying…

Everything you see on this web page is premium materials extracted from my Finding Land course, which helps you keep away from “deadly flaws” and discover the suitable land in your permaculture property.

For some purpose, nearly none of my subscribers appear to know that this course exists. So I’ve put collectively an “inside circle” alternative for a few of my readers:

Until the twenty fifth of November, 2022, you may get the Finding Land course for 25% off, and this VIP low cost will solely be out there to a closed circle of people who find themselves in search of land or planning to take action sooner or later.

If you’re studying this web page, it signifies that you’re eligible.

Watch your inbox for the announcement subsequent week so you may get the course for 25% off when the particular supply goes reside.