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GB's Place in the World Food System
By John Jeavons, Director of Ecology Action

Ecology Action's first GROW BIOINTENSIVE mini-farm in Silicon Vally in the 1970s

Ecology Action's first GROW BIOINTENSIVE mini-farm in Silicon Vally in the 1970s
We've come a long way since then!
PHOTO CREDIT: Ecology Action

Ecology Action is excited with the collaboration and initiatives we are carrying out in 2018 and beyond, including increased online educational opportunities for everyone, everywhere, plus 2-, 4-, 6-, 8- and 12-month internships and 1- and 3-year apprenticeships..

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) recently noted that smallholder farms produce 80% of the world's food, making the small-scale, widely applicable GB approach especially helpful and important. .

The GROW BIOINTENSIVE (GB) closed-loop sustainable farming method currently provides soil- and food-growing localization successfully in 152 countries, with approximately 7 million individuals participating so far, in virtually all soils and climates where food is grown. Its higher yields are accomplished using a fraction of the water, nutrient in organic-fertilizer form, and energy per pound of food produced, compared with standard farming practices. The manual system involved is very low-cost and works with locally available resources. .

All of this is accomplished while building farmable soil 60 times faster than in nature. In contrast, other farming approaches deplete the soil 18 to 80 times faster than nature builds soil. Put another way, the six inches of farmable soil needed to grow food takes an average of 3,000 years to develop, although it can take much longer in some places including California. In contrast, GROW BIOINTENSIVE has the capacity to grow six inches of farmable soil in only 51 years—much, much faster than nature! – according to a Master’s Thesis from the Soil Science Department at the University of California-Berkeley. In a world with as little as 22.5 years of farmable soil remaining, this is particularly relevant.

Imagine how much soil we could build if every farmer and gardener started using the GB method! We're glad to report that a growing number of organizations are using Biointensive techniques, including the non-profit Mercy Corps and the governmental aid group Peace Corps. This trend is important to changing the world's food producing picture.

You can be part of the solution: it's easy to get started. Take a class or a workshop with us. Start teaching yourself using our free Self-Teaching resources. Even if you only have a small space, you can start growing a better world today. Let's GROW more with less now!

"Grow the Earth" is the motto of John Jeavons Facebook page, featuring weekly posts on food, soil and other sustainable agriculture-related topics, at His posts can also be found on his new blog, at

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