Start a 1-Acre, Self-Sufficient Homestead

Article Excerpt:

“Everyone will have a different approach to keeping a self-sufficient homestead, and it’s unlikely that any two 1-acre farms will follow the same plan or methods or agree completely on how to homestead. Some people like cows; other people are afraid of them. Some people like goats; other people cannot keep them out of the garden. Some people will not slaughter animals and have to sell their surplus stock off to people who will kill them; others will not sell surplus stock off at all because they know that the animals will be killed; and still others will slaughter their own animals to provide their family with healthy meat.

For myself, on a 1-acre farm of good, well-drained land, I would keep a cow and a goat, a few pigs and maybe a dozen hens. The goat would provide me with milk when the cow was dry. I might keep two or more goats, in fact. I would have the dairy cow (a Jersey) to provide the pigs and me with milk. More importantly, I would keep her to provide heaps and heaps of lovely cow manure to increase my soil fertility, for in order to derive any sort of living from that 1 acre without the application of a lot of artificial fertilizer, it would have to be heavily manured.”
Read more:



In our S2MFC “whole community” vision … we feel the one big drawback is lack of a larger community of independent micro-farms and homesteads that also operated interdependently, augmenting each other as a micro-farming system within the same developed area… A whole-community approach to sustainability.

It is a very tough haul alone unless someone in the house has a full time job… even then its tough and who knows what’s going to happen to that full time job in the future.

In our whole-community-based (NOT a commune) sustainability development vision we have a min of 2 acre homesteads/micro-farms and up to 5 plus acres lots.

We also dedicate acreage to the whole-community for common grazing and potentially some acreage for common crop growth which would augment and buffer in tough times and could also be used for dedicated outside sales.

The prototype community is seen as a min of 20 families and max of 30 on 2, 3, 4 or 5 acre lots on a total Phase 1 development acreage of 200 acres. A community operated Farmer’s Market is also a significant revenue source for the each independent micro-farmer’s. A “group” wholesale sales channel would also be developed by the community for outside sales to local restaurants, caterers, and commissaries.

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Self-Sustaining Micro-Farming Communities (S2MFC) – Design Parameters Vr 1.01

The Vision

Creating a Land Development Model for the Successful Replication of…

Self-Sustaining Micro-Farming Communities (S2MFC)
Design Assumptions Worksheet for Prototype Development

Objective: To effectively and significantly nurture the “self-sustaining” micro-farming life movement by designing and building dedicated self-sustaining communities – not quite communal, not quite 100% off the grid but micro-farming and bartering centric as well as human synergy centric with a self-sustaining focus.

Success Defined
1) Proof of the community’s vibrancy, potency, and quality of human synergy as quantified via productivity and sustainability as a human/nature eco-system.
2) Financial perspective – a specific percentage of the lots are sold at a minimum price and within a specific timeframe;  the “human + nature” eco-system that evolves as a community is healthy, creative and productive wherein the S2MFC Vision proves a qualitative and quantitative success allowing for the birth of the next generation of S2MFC’s; and, finally, land and property value increases at a minimum rate/time.

Next Steps
First Macro Step-of-Steps: Design, build, test and learn from the first Prototype community.

First Micro Step-of-Steps: Develop the prototype design and feature and benefit variables.  To this end the below document is a knowledge development and group/team discussion starting point for those  team members involved at this early “Visioning” stage.

Assumptions-of-Design: Here is a list of variables for consideration within the S2MFC design model.  This is simply a starting point for discussion and tuning.

  1. Basic land development and property and building feature variables
  2. Are there common yet fundamental self-sustaining community development parameters that will allow for a “development model template” design?
  3. Is the application of systems thinking applicable?
  4. Property natural resource parameter minimums, as a matrix?
  5. Building type, design of whole, basic “home” structural design + additions + options?

Assuming some form of template and replicate-able model can be created let’s us look at the basic parameters-as-design-assumptions and the associated questions that we would need to consider:

  1. Min/max rainfall?
  2. Watershed quantities and qualities?
  3. Min days of sunshine?
  4. Optimal or min/max temperatures
  5. Plant season lengths/duration?
  6. Quality of soil/fertility?
  7. Quality of ground water or existing well, or, optimally, healthy spring availability?
  8. Proximity to “the electric grid” if chosen-as-necessary;
  9. Proximity to towns, cities and other types of communities for farm goods and other market purchases, community sales of goods and bartering/exchange… and more.

Would we need to develop and share a core and aligning “Community Philosophy; and as self-sustaining community Brand for marketing and attracting he right folks to these communities…

We are assuming a prototype development here, and then, if proven successful as a vital and potent self-sustaining experience-as-community, more developments.

  1. Community vegetable, grain fields and livestock yards, or not?
  2. Is this an option in the S2MFC or not?
  3. Community gathering space, or not?
  4. “Buyer” filtering based on, for example, the seriousness of “buyer/member” interest in farming their property, etc.), or not?
  5. Optimal size of community 10 owners/families. 20? Less than 50?
  6. How does size affect community self-sustaining quality of life… and other variables?
  7. Optimal lot size: 1.0/2.0acres? 5 acres? Or multiple options of: 1, 2 and 5 acres per owner/family?
  8. We assume 1 residential home structure per lot so, what should these have as standard features:
  9. Wood burning stove(s)?
  10. Solar roofs, and electrical sys – per housing unit  and per Community?
  11. Propane, electric and water
  12. Sewer/septic
  13. Garage/Tools shed
  14. 2bds/1.5bth, 3bds/2bths and 4bds/3bth, other config’s
  15. Home features, e.g. interior/exterior, rooms, additions, building materials
  16. How much construction and out-building design-control is optimal? Why?

Additional property structures/buildings-as-features or multi-purpose outbuildings for processing and more, such  as:

  1. Processing and storage building/shed(s) for:
  2. Vegetables/Canning?
  3. Dairy?
  4. Poultry?
  5. Meats?
  6. Meat production life-cycle (rendering rooms/outside structures)?
  7. Green house(s)/lot?
  8. Drying?
  9. Root cellar?
  10. Hay, grasses, anaimal feed & other dry storage?
  11. Tools & storage structures?
  12. Larger equipment storage structures? (large community use barn?)
  13. Separate workshop structure?
  14. Smoke house/shed?

What build types of building structures and food processing might naturally and conceivably be used and performed, respectively,  as a team, group or whole community; or be simply added to the total development so it would be effectively used when needed for the community or groups of micro-farm owners, e.g.:

  1. Community central smoke-house?
  2. Community meeting space?
  3. Classrooms and training room(s)?
  4. Community kitchen and dining area?
  5. Non-denominational community spiritual space/building?
  6. Playground; nature walk; developed lake, pond, river, hills or forest, etc recreation area?
  7. Do we really need ANY of these added “community spaces?” (They do cost money to build and the “developer” is doing the building.)

Finally, it would be wise to consider the ecology of the land as a feature and as a valuable resources, e.g.:

Is there an abundance of mature trees (firewood, building materials, worm feed from organic wood scraps, natural shade, health-ier air, etc.)?

  1. Open, non-flowing, water, e.g. lakes, ocean, ponds, swampland, etc.)?
  2. Rivers and streams (energy, fishing, growing food)?
  3. Minerals that can be utilized by the community?
  4. Plant-life ecosystem that can be utilized?
  5. Geo-thermal resources?

Land Purchase and Development Assumptions and variables.

Some of the above assumptions, after they have to be fine-tuned, would affect the prototype and future land purchases.  Other critical land-purchase assumptions are not indicated above, including:

  1. Land price-to-value ratio?
  2. Total terrain topology and type-feasibility, e.g. degree of farmable land versus non-farmable and/ or non-buildable; natural resources; distance to more concentrated populations?
  3. Natural resources assays’ and assessments of the land –  local to regionally available?
  4. City, township, county, state building permit restrictions and permit process ease or difficulty?
  5. Unscrupulous tendencies of various permit agencies and personnel?
  6. Materials transport distances and material supply availability as a cost variable?
  7. Local construction supplier and talent resources per all aspects of land and structural and infrastructural development?
  8. Social issues of building a self-sustaining micro-farming community – local people antagonism or positive response?
  9. Social-political issues per municipal, county and state and federal government antagonism, neutrality or positive interest?
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New Yorkers branch into ‘beyond organic’ urban fish farming (Another example of Urban-Homesteading and support for emergent sustainable-Ag lifestyle)

So you recycle, drive a small car, and try to eat organic. But what about running an eco-sustainable fish farm combined with a naturally fertilized vegetable patch in your kitchen?

Christopher Toole and Anya Pozdeeva, two former New York bankers who founded the Society for Aquaponic Values and Education (SAVE), are there to help.

“We call it ‘beyond organic,’” Pozdeeva, 39, said.



Risky? Yes.

“But understanding risks is something they teach you a lot about in banking,” he said.”

See news story here:

See their website here:


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Grants, Loans & Support “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” (KYF2) Potential Micro-Farm Community Development Support via USDA

USDA website excerpt:

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) is helping communities scale up local and regional food systems and strengthen their economies. Not every community will need the same assistance; and navigating USDA’s offerings is no small task.

We want to simplify the process and help communities put USDA programs to work for them, so we’re playing matchmaker. This page lists over two dozen programs at USDA that can help build local and regional food systems. This list is not the entirety of USDA’s offerings, but it is a great starting place.

Whether you are an individual farmer looking to extend your growing season, a cooperative of growers looking to rebuild a food hub, a farmers’ market that wants to accept SNAP benefits, a community kitchen that needs cold storage to store locally procured meat, or anyone in between, this short guide to our programs might come in handy.

Also, for more details on how these programs can be put to work in your community, check out our blog and our program memos. In our program memos, USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan mixes program information with real stories about how communities have successfully partnered with USDA to scale up local food systems and address challenges facing their communities. For the latest updates and announcements regarding programs, make sure to check out our blog’s Grants and Loans & Support categories..

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Exploring Sustainability of a Private-collective Community

Setting the Stage: Exploring Sustainability of a Private-collective Community


While the nature of the firm has long been established as the dominant form of organizing for value creation, emergent forms of organizing such as the private-collective community model have recently gained attention from researchers and practitioners. Little is known about how such communities, where private goods from stakeholders are shared and freely distributed among a public collective, sustain themselves.  The purpose of this research is to examine how the resources, stakeholders, and overarching network structure in which these are embedded influence the sustainability of the community.  Using semi-structured interviews, archival data, and social network analysis, we explore these items in detail and provide initial findings from an ongoing research study of the OpenSim community.  We conclude with future directions, expected contributions, and the limitations of this line of research.


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Hyperlocavore – Our mission is to match people up in yardsharing groups and neighborhood produce exchanges.

Another instantiation of the efficacy of the S2MFC Proposal.

Website Excerpt:

Hyperlocavore - A yard sharing community

Our mission is to match people up in yardsharing groups and neighborhood produce exchanges. We help build resilience where people live. Times are tough and it makes sense for a lot of folks to join forces. People who have land or extra space in their yards often need help growing all the food they would like. Many gardeners lack space to grow. When people pair up they can grow more, work less and save tons of money.

Sounds GREAT – Sign me up!

Contact us at
Liz McLellan owner/builder of

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“Village Gardens Cultivates Community” – Supporting Trends & Confluences for the S2MFC Concept


“One of the most notable projects, Food Works, uses an urban farm to teach young adults from ages 14-21 about farming, business, community, and themselves. The youth operate a 2.5-acre certified organic farm on Sauvie Island where they grow over 40 different types of vegetables. In this past year alone, they produced 12,919 pounds of food. They sold their produce at the Village Market, New Seasons, the St. Johns Farmers Market, and the Portland State University Farmers Market, bringing in a total of $14,000.”

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Cohousing Directory – List of Cohousing Communities – Supporting Trends & Confluences for the S2MFC Concept

I consider this another confluence and supporting market movement for the concept of S2MFC’s – Self-Sustaining Micro-Farming Communities – a unique residential rural land development design-build concept and vision.

Cohousing Communities (USA and Gobal) Directory website:

Website Excerpt:

“Cohousing usually refers to communities structured as small neighborhoods where each household has its own small, fully featured home and the community shares a large common house. Cohousing communities generally share some meals together as well as some other resources but generally don’t share income. A cohousing community is usually designed and built all at once with a pedestrian focus but some ‘retrofit” cohousing communities utilize existing buildings. The list below includes communities that self-identify as cohousing and so not all will meet these broad criteria. The Coho/US Cohousing Directory provides a more carefully selected directory of cohousing communities.”

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