Sustainable agriculture solutions in Kenya since 1989
The GROW BIOINTENSIVE® Food-Raising Method developed by John Jeavons and Ecology Action is an easily learned whole-systems, organic method of raising food crops that dramatically increases crop output and soil health. Some important components are:
1. DOUBLE-DUG, RAISED BEDS
3. INTENSIVE PLANTING
4. THE USE OF OPEN-POLLINATED SEEDS
5. COMPANION PLANTING
6. CARBON FARMING
7. CALORIE FARMING
8. A WHOLE-SYSTEMS GARDENING METHOD
Training in double-digging.
Most life in nature occurs at the interface of soil, water, air and sun. GROW BIOINTENSIVE soil preparation creates growing beds with more surface area, maximizing nature's life processes.
Beds are double-dug, with soil loosened to a depth of 24 inches to aerate the soil, facilitate root growth, improve water retention, and allow healthy growth of micro-organisms. Fertility of the soil is maintained through the use of compost. Close spacing (intensive planting) of plants increases yields, facilitates the optimal use of nutrients, light and water, and creates a vibrant mini-ecosystem under the canopy of leaves. The use of open-pollinated seeds helps to preserve genetic diversity and enables gardeners to develop their own acclimatized cultivars. Companion planting takes advantage of natural synergies that increase yields, and some plants attract helpful insects while others repel pests. A focus on the production of calorie farming for the gardener and carbon farming for the soil ensures that both the gardener and the soil will be adequately fed and that the farm will be sustainable.
HISTORY The Biointensive methods were first developed at Santa Cruz, California, in the 1960s by English master horticulturist, Alan Chadwick. Chadwick synthesized the wisdom of farming techniques from ancient China, Greece and early Europe, and then built upon two more recent systems: 1800s French Intensive Farming, and the Biodynamic Techniques of restoring soil fertility developed by Rudolph Steiner in the 1920s.
Inspired by Chadwick’s work, John Jeavons founded Ecology Action to apply pragmatic, scientific research in order to further develop this whole-systems approach to small-scale farming. Jeavons is the author of HOW TO GROW MORE VEGETABLES, FRUITS, NUTS, BERRIES, GRAINS, AND OTHER CROPS THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE ON LESS LAND THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE (seventh edition now available) which provides a primer on the synergistic, combined Biointensive methods found by Ecology Action to produce the most food on the least land. His book provides the basis of the course for Biointensive trainers at Manor House Agricultural Centre in Kenya.
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