Co-Op Village
Free plans for sustainable intentional communities.

Cottage Industry

        Back to Infrastructure Menu                                    See also: First Year Feeding

The main cottage industry will be food and soil production. Amazingly, this will only require about five minutes each day!

Each home will produce enough food to feed its inhabitants for the entire year. This is easily doable by using the Square Foot Gardening method. The only labor required to do this is daily watering and harvesting. These small gardens will be located alongside each house

  Square Foot Gardening:

What Is It: Square Foot Gardening is a method of horticulture in which you lay out 2 X 6's in a rectangle 4' X 12'. You then fill the boxes with a mixture of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 various potting soils. This soil mixture is like a sponge that contains all the nutrients a plant needs.

                        See: Square Foot Gardening           Web Site     

                        See Also: My Gardens Feeding 5 Adults

What are The Advantages?   

Once the boxes have been built, you never have to turn soil, till, do extensive weeding, use fertilizers or pesticides, or invest more money in them. They are virtually labor free. Only a minimal amount of water is required for this farming method, as the water goes into a "sponge" directly around the roots.

You only have to plant the seeds, water the plants, harvest the crops and save some seeds.


Another major advantage is that with normal raised bed gardening or row gardening it takes from 5 to 7 years to balance the ph and chemistry in the soil. Under the Square Foot method, the soil is perfectly balanced the day you build it and stays that way. This guarantees maximum production immediately. This is a guarantee we need if we intend to feed 500 residents.


What Is The Cost?    To feed one adult for a full year a plot of ground only 14' X 14' is required, with an initial outlay of $300. No other expenditures are needed. This investment will be recovered the second month the garden produces.


Who Will Tend Them?    Since the gardens are outside of the homes and because they require such little labor, most residents, including feeble bodied persons, will be able to spend five minutes a day on the farming. This can easily be done early in the mornings before it gets too hot outside.

  Soil Making :

Each spring a thin layer of compost will need to be added to the raised gardens. Therefore, we will have to compost during the year. The best method is to use human as it provides nitrogen needed by the plants. This enables us to avoid fertilizers.

This is a safe method of composting that requires no turning of the pile. Because it is aged for an additional year after the pile is built, all biological scraps can be added to it, including meat, baby diapers, milk products, feminine hygiene products, and humane manure.

       See: The Humanure Handbook         Web Site


  Food Savings

All of the above might bring our food costs down to about 10% of what we are experiencing now. That cost will be for food products we do not raise ourselves, such as wheat and for food storage and canning supplies.

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