By Laura Navarro
I want to share with you my experience with Ecology Action so far. I have been with Ecology Action for two weeks now and holy guacamole it has been such a treat! I have been placed at The Golden Rule site in Willits, California. The property of The Golden Rule is five thousand acres! Five thousand acres of beautiful land that I get to call home for the next two months, complete with a redwood forest, a lake, a cattle ranch, a poultry farm, horse stables, beehives, and a beautiful garden. There is so much to do and see on the property, it is impossible to ever be bored at The Golden Rule. Plus, the community is very friendly, I feel like I have joined a huge family of unique and talented people who can’t wait to share their knowledge with me. This is the perfect place for someone like me who is trying to learn as much as possible everyday.
Each day I learn more and more about sustainability and the Biointensive method. Grow Biointensive is all about sustainability; the goal is to grow as much food as possible on as little land as possible without adding in any inputs. It takes 2 acres of farmable land to grow a complete diet for a typical U.S. family, but with the biointensive method it takes an eighth of the area to grow the same amount of food! This is done using eight Biointensive principles: deep soil preparation (double digging), the use of compost, close plant spacing, compatible crop combinations (plants that enhance each other’s growth when planted together), carbon-efficient crops (60% of the growing area is dedicated to carbonaceous crops that will be used for compost), calorie-efficient crops (30% of the growing area is dedicated to root crops that produce large amounts of calories per unit of area), and the use of open-pollinated seeds (preserving genetic diversity).
It is important to use all eight of the principles in order to be sustainable, otherwise the gardener can have negative effects on the land – which is not the goal of Grow Biointensive. Some of the advantages of the Biointensive method include: at least 50% less purchased fertilizer, soil building 60 times faster than nature (this is very important because the amount of farmable soil in the world is depleting quickly), ⅛ of the area needed, 200%-400% increase in caloric production, 94%-99% less energy, and 67%-88% less water. Grow Biointensive is a spectacular method of agriculture, I believe that the world is in need of this method, especially with resources (such as farmable soil, water, and open pollinated seeds) depleting so rapidly.
In addition to learning about the Biointensive method, I have been becoming more familiar with the grim future ahead for agriculture. Less and less farmable soil is available every year yet the world has more and more people to feed everyday. In countries like the US it takes about 2 acres of land to grow the diet of one person! So with a growing demand for food but depleting land for growing food, the human race will soon face a troubling situation, and that is starvation. The agriculture industries around the world will need to adopt new methods in order to maximize efficiency and sustainability in order to feed the world’s people. Grow Biointensive can help increase crop yields with less resources, so less starvation will happen with Biointensive agriculture!