A SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION FOR GROWING FOOD
“43 years ago, I began a quest to create a sustainable food production system that would nourish me, yet use the fewest resources necessary. Experimenting with Alan Chadwick’s wonderful biodynamic/French Intensive method, I and Ecology Action developed a method called GROW BIOINTENSIVE.
This has led to a life-long collaboration with a team of avid international farmers and researchers determined to identify and expand on the universal scientific principles that under-gird biologically-intensive food raising. Our research has drawn from a rich reservoir of knowledge developed over millennia by a wide variety of cultures—including the Chinese, Greek, and Mayan. This understanding has now evolved into a systemized, quantifiable food production system that is approaching true sustainability.
The collective efforts of biointensive food raising, agroecokogy, permaculture, biodynamics, and a range of other disciplines are retrieving and creating a revitalizing farming knowledge that is crucially important to the Earth’s and our survival. We have worked diligently to incorporate all that we’ve learned in working with Natural ecosystems and anthropogenic constructs to create an exciting vision for planetary harmony.
We are proud to be a part of this passionate group of ‘unconventional’ farmers. I encourage you to join us in creating a healthy future. Through loving care for the Earth and its soil, we can achieve a sustainable relationship with Nature’s abundance. It builds on our shared heritage, and it provides for our children the keys to a fully sustainable future!” – John Jeavons, Executive Director
At Ecology Action, we have dedicated our research to rediscovering the scientific principles that underlie millennia-old traditional farming systems. These have guided us to the eight essential aspects that are the foundation of GROW BIOINTENSIVE:
1. Double-Dug, Raised Beds
3. Intensive Planting
4. Companion Planting
5. Carbon Farming
6. Calorie Farming
7. The Use of Open-Pollinated Seeds
8. A Whole-System Farming Method
Most life in nature occurs at the interface of soil, water, air and sun. GROW BIOINTENSIVE soil preparation practices create growing beds with more surface area to maximize the effect of nature’s life processes. Double-dug beds, with soil loosened to a depth of 24 inches, aerate the soil, facilitate root growth, and improve water retention. The health and vigor of the soil are maintained through the use of compost. Close plant spacing is used to protect soil microorganisms, reduce water loss, and maximize yields. Companion planting facilitates the optimal use of nutrients, light and water, encourages beneficial insects and creates a vibrant mini-ecosystem within the garden. A focus on the production of calories for the farmer and carbon for the soil ensures that both the farmer and the soil will be adequately fed and that the farm will be sustainable. The use of open-pollinated seeds helps to preserve genetic diversity and enables gardeners to develop their own acclimatized cultivars. All of the components of this system must be used together for optimum effect and to avoid depleting the soil.
GROW BIOINTENSIVE mini-farming techniques make it possible to grow food using:
67% to 88% less water
50% to 100% less fertilizer
99% less energy than commercial agriculture, while using a fraction of the resources
These techniques can also produce two times more food, build the soil up to 60 times faster than in nature, if properly used, and reduce the amount of land needed by half or more.