In the thread on Ag: villain or boon companion, PaleoGardener pointed out that in the Rodale study where organic agriculture fields improved over the 30 year period studied, that this happened with imported manure (and possibly other inputs).
Lierre Keith has made the same point, she said she created amazing soil on her farm in MA (?) but it took massive importation of leaf mold and manure from other places… robbing their soil.
So I have been wondering if anyone has tried to develop a full cycle homestead… in the sense of – what would it take it to feed one person year round, and keep the soil regenerating from inputs on the site? Jeavons has tried something similar, he only inputs compost, but I am not sure if he did not jump start things in the beginning. In any case, his 8,000 sq ft (beds and walkways) means you mostly eat beans.
What would it take to feed a human omnivorous and varied diet year round with only local inputs: humanure, compost, and say chicken and rabbit poop. Would that be enough? How much land would be needed?
There are islands in the Pacific where such cultivation has gone on for hundreds of years. So it must be possible, and not be that hard, at least in the tropical areas. Of course they do get mother nature’s fertilizer delivered gratis (volcanic ash). What would it take to do in more moderate climes?
And while I am at it, how much land, and what kind of strategies, would it take to feed a human who wished to emulate the ancient “best practice” and get say 50% of her food from cultivation, and 50% from foraging? Which veers off into permaculture. I am trying to imagine it all…