Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

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ira_kart
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Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by ira_kart » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:52 am

Not sure if they qualify for ERE lifestyle, but they are one of my inspirations for moving back to land and thought of sharing it. For those who are lazy :) to click on the link, pasting the content below and the link does have some pictures of those who we are talking about.

I follow one of their blogs religiously. Some of Sriram's thoughts are truly radical talking about the Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but I am surprised to see them own 7.5 acres which is way too much than they need for their needs.

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/bl ... 693514.ece

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Riggerjack
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:54 am

Yeah, this trend is happening here, too. I have a co-worker, come back from early retirement, working for about 100k per year, dreaming of moving to Vermont, buying a farm, and making gourmet goat cheese. But here's the kicker, between her and her fiance, they own a few million dollars in residential real estate, plus the regular 9.9% retirement assets. She could retire today, sell tomorrow, and be shopping for a farm this weekend. But one more year...

This seems common enough, high earners burn out, and decide to go live with nature, like a farm is nature :roll:

These people need a better template. And long term, that's my retirement project, showing people with too much money how to actually get back to nature. And if you wonder what I mean by that, I mean that if you pay to have your poo processed and dumped in a river, or for a piece of heavy equipment to regularly come to your house to remove trash to go fill up a valley, you need a better template.

IRA, from my view, 7.5 acres for one man isn't excessive at all. Dedicating it to very inefficient farming practice is just lacking in imagination, though.

George the original one
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by George the original one » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:21 pm

ira_kart wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:52 am
but I am surprised to see them own 7.5 acres which is way too much than they need for their needs.
"Siddharth only keeps a fourth of the produce for himself. He sells the rest mostly to friends and family directly"


Growing grains takes land. Westerners are very used to grain being something that comes from the store, something never grown in home gardens.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by Riggerjack » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:23 am

Growing grains takes land. Westerners are very used to grain being something that comes from the store, something never grown in home gardens.
Top
What? You don't grow your own wheatgrass? But what do you make smoothies from? Maybe you have been outside of Portland too long. :D

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:41 am

@Riggerjack:

You might want to try reading "The One Straw Revolution" by Masanobu Fukuoka.

ira_kart
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by ira_kart » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:15 am

Riggerjack wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:54 am
IRA, from my view, 7.5 acres for one man isn't excessive at all. Dedicating it to very inefficient farming practice is just lacking in imagination, though.
I do not know from where you get that impression that it is not excessive. India has seen social movements to redistribute the lands from the wealthy landlords to the peasantry less than 100 years ago during its freedom struggle. May be in US, where the average land holding size is a whooping 442 acres, its not considered much. But India is a totally different story. The average land holding size is around 2.3 acres. I remember in the story above they own it along with one of their brothers, so jointly they maintain the whole land though their share may be just around 3~4 acres. For a family of four in a tropical country where there is Sunshine for more than 300 days of year, one does not need more than 2 acres for their own needs. May be some of these thoughts are socialist in character, but everyone of us share the Earth's resources and owning more than one needed because they have money "power" is a way of economic war on the depressed classes.

@George - unfortunately no. We do not need so much land. please read the above response. The article talks about three people. Siddharth, the more recluse one with no internet owns 2.25 acres while the "connected to the Internet on a dial up" Sriram/Karpagam husband/wife duo owns 7.5 acres. I was talking about the latter.

@7W5- that one is an awesome read. So much radical in thought and that is one book which revolutionised the paddy farmers of SE Asia against the IRRI and their national governments. The below article tears the whole "Green Revolution".

https://orientviews.wordpress.com/2012/ ... e-alvares/

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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by enigmaT120 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:57 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:41 am
@Riggerjack:

You might want to try reading "The One Straw Revolution" by Masanobu Fukuoka.
I like that book. I have another of his too, can't remember the name.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:54 pm

@7w5, thanks, it's on hold at the library, I'll let you know what I find.

@ ira_kart
I've never been to India, your knowledge is infinitely more detailed than mine, which is based on Western media and a few hours if looking at Google maps.

But my point is that even when living the life of a subsistence farmer, there are land uses that are also not agricultural. Even if you can grow all you eat, there is the issue of where you live, how much water you use, the fuel you use, the waste you need to process, and all the land that produces all the other resources to make the circle of life work. When you factor in all the ways we use land, 7.5 acres doesn't seem like much.

While I wouldn't expect a typical urbanite to think of all these factors, what else does someone dedicating their life to subsistence farming (after a career that should end personal resource scarcity) have to distract him from wanting to close those loops?

And this is no criticism of the protagonist in the link, but rather of the whole "9.9% to righteous farmer conversion" template. I like the concept, but feel it could be implimented better. Though I haven't done it yet, so maybe I am wrong.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:40 pm

Even if you can grow all you eat, there is the issue of where you live, how much water you use, the fuel you use, the waste you need to process, and all the land that produces all the other resources to make the circle of life work.


Riggerjack be Perma-culturist :D

ira_kart
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by ira_kart » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:43 am

Riggerjack wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:54 pm
But my point is that even when living the life of a subsistence farmer, there are land uses that are also not agricultural. Even if you can grow all you eat, there is the issue of where you live, how much water you use, the fuel you use, the waste you need to process, and all the land that produces all the other resources to make the circle of life work. When you factor in all the ways we use land, 7.5 acres doesn't seem like much.
I get your point using land with inefficient farming methods will be wastage of precious resources in Permaculture parlance. But I am trying to understand how much land/ resources you think you will need for the whole "cycle of life" to be work/complete? I have plans to be a homesteader and out of curiosity, seeking input from you in more detail and not to confront you on your thinking.

May be the ways we grew up in different environments and culture makes us think in divergent ways. We (Indians who grew up in India and I think I can include most of Far East and SE Asians) grew up with constrained and very limited resources and thus we try to seek the maximum value out of everything we spend our resources (read money for most cases) on. As a perfect example - you have the fuel efficient Hondas/Toyotas Vs the gas guzzlers of the American brands (in previous generation models?). Thats why I felt why someone needs so much land. Hope you get where my thoughts on this are coming from.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:13 am

I get it, and I didn't mean to sound critical, though that does seem to come naturally to me.

From my perspective, a former extremely poor person in the US, (which is a completely different experience from being poor in other areas. Mainly social deprivation rather than physical...) Is that I can't trust anyone else to do things right, or do right by me. But as I have gotten older, and life has gotten easier, I see that most people are not as callous and harsh as they appeared, they were just doing what everyone else was doing, because that is the guiding principal of humanity, to stay as close to the center of the herd as possible. Most folks think they are really out there when they go from one set of norms to another.

So the office job to homestead/organic farmer/hobby cheese production template is out there. But, since it is funded by office money, rather than by the actual production of the "farm", there's room for a lot of idealogical garbage to creep in. Read some blogs of people following this path, and some blogs of actual farmers, to see the difference.

So, given my basic distrust, my goal is to set up a better template. And part of that template is owning land for nature. Because if all we do is maximize food for humans, all that left are humans. Many people think this can be left to government and parks, but I don't. So, my ideal retirement place will be at least 40 acres, and considerably more if all goes well. My house, my garden, and my greenhouses will take up a few acres, but most of the land won't be cleared or used for much human purpose. Thinning out the forest is about as invasive as I will get. When I get it right, I will publish the template in hopes that others will see it as a better way to live their principals than current templates.

Your example shows a man who had money, trading that life for that of a subsistence farmer. Cool, if that does it for him, fine. But if we are to aspire to his example, well, I have some reservations. How is the world a better place for having one fewer executive, and one more subsistence farmer? I have no doubt he is better off, but how much better off is everyone else for his choice?

Now I understand that India has more population density than is sustainable, and in looking at Google maps, nature seems nearly non-existent. Starting from there, adding in CC, I don't know what the right answer is, but subsistence farming seems an unlikely solution. I'm sorry for the pessimistic viewpoint, but that seems like too much work, for too little reward. If he's not doing it to display his sacrifice, I don't know why he would do it at all.

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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:42 am

Riggerjack wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:13 am
that is the guiding principal of humanity, to stay as close to the center of the herd as possible. Most folks think they are really out there when they go from one set of norms to another.

So the office job to homestead/organic farmer/hobby cheese production template is out there.
I agree with all of this, but would add that human satisfaction is driven by progress. Meaning a change from one state to another. A poor farmer's son moves to the big city and hustles his way to the top of the corporate food chain. A dissatisfied corporate executive gives it all away to become a farmer; closer to nature. Both of these stories are appealing to different sets of people, because nothing is more depressing than the absence of change.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:01 am

So, my ideal retirement place will be at least 40 acres, and considerably more if all goes well. My house, my garden, and my greenhouses will take up a few acres, but most of the land won't be cleared or used for much human purpose. Thinning out the forest is about as invasive as I will get. When I get it right, I will publish the template in hopes that others will see it as a better way to live their principals than current templates.
I admire your idealism, but there is currently only approximately 2 acres of non-polar/extreme desert land per human. So, long-term planning for population reduction would have to be included in template, if subject to strong "What if everybody..?" rule. Of course, that is not to say that I believe that "W.I.E?" is very compatible with complexity of real ecological systems.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:46 pm

I admire your idealism, but there is currently only approximately 2 acres of non-polar/extreme desert land per human. So, long-term planning for population reduction would have to be included in template, if subject to strong "What if everybody..?" rule. Of course, that is not to say that I believe that "W.I.E?" is very compatible with complexity of real ecological systems.
Yeah, I knew this would bother you, so I have been reluctant to bring it up.

But I believe the human population problem is self solving. I don't have your professional's ability to labor in the face of futility. I have no plan to save humanity. Certainly not at current levels.

My plan is simply to make one, small community, with as many loops closed as I can. Then let someone more personable sell it as the next great opportunity to live our values, selling it to the rich. The aspirational middle class will have another template, and if it becomes more popular, more brains will find better ways of accomplishing each aspect, until it's within the grasp of the aspirational lower class.

But this lifeboat has a definite carrying capacity limit, and it is far smaller than billions.

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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:50 pm

Well, the aspirational class is already down to negative population growth, so giving females something else to do in their 20s than procreate seems to be a fairly win-win long-run solution. The problem is that in the short-run, the aspirational class lifestyle is very resource expensive on per human basis. So, if there was the will and brains to quickly enact a best of both worlds scenario, maybe even 10 billion could be possible. But, there isn't, so it won't be.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:56 pm

I'm curious. Have I misunderstood the problem this whole time? :oops:

I was thinking we have this planet until the sun burns out or we get wiped out as a species. So I was optimizing for best life, then for best example, in hopes others would take this more seriously. But time was never a constraint in my thinking. But
So, if there was the will and brains to quickly enact a best of both worlds scenario, maybe even 10 billion could be possible. But, there isn't, so it won't be.
makes me wonder if the goal was just to achieve a high score before the crash? That would fit the data... :geek:

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:17 pm

Sorry, I didn't make it clear that according to my judgment of most optimistic, rational math, 10 billion is already a foregone conclusion barring near future crash given just replacement level reproduction by current youngest generation and increased lifespan due to world-wide trend towards urbanization. Therefore, best case scenario would be smooth application of brakes to this population point, as opposed to numerous other crash or multiple crash scenarios. Of course, it is also within the realm of possibility that population could go well above this level either before crash, or in lull between crashes.

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Hobbes
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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by Hobbes » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:26 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:54 am
And long term, that's my retirement project, showing people with too much money how to actually get back to nature.
Care to elaborate :) ?

For a bit of context, my long term plan is to work for as few years as possible to purchase land upon which I can establish a permaculture farm, with the intention of getting my food from said farm (once established) and 'get back to nature,' as you say. Any income I derived from passive income (ie, my portfolio) during that period would mostly serve as a safety net\provide access to internet\pay for taxes.
But I'm all ears for others' methods to get back to nature as well, so as to, you know, make the plan more failsafe :D

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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by Farm_or » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:52 am

I started out half idealistic and half realistic. (Semi) retiring to farm was a lot of new for me, despite having grown up on a ranch.

My default plan was mostly sticking to what I knew would work. My first major project was building corrales, barn, sweeper gate and squeeze chute. And everything was overbuilt for the intent of working cattle. But I wanted to be more diverse than that.

I got a small band of sheeps, some chickens, cleaned up and saw to the orchard and started a vegetables garden. Then I started growing my own hay, grew too much so I sold some of it. I grew wheat also just to try something different and my very first crop was blessed with beginner's luck.

As time went on, I began to realize more of what I was naturally good at and hence, coincidentally tended to find more enjoyable. I liked and did better with sheeps than cattle. Same for hay over wheat. I am more farmer and less rancher.

I've evolved far different from where I started. I've learned what was fantasy and what was realistic. What surprised me the most was the relative ease of it all. My years of fantasizing and preparation expected every facet to be more difficult and sacrificing.

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Re: Subsistence farming & Extremely simple way of life

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:26 pm

@Farm_or:

I am curious. What was your approximate initial financial investment in your farm?

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