Ecology Action
submit search

August 2006: News

Newsletter Home



In March a group from San Luis Obispo, California, interested in having all the food in their community grown locally, visited the Mini-Farm. Roland Bunch, who founded COSECHA and worked for many years in Honduras researching the growing of velvet beans with maize, was part of the group. Roland made a PowerPoint presentation of velvet beans being grown in challenging soils in Central America. There was a tremendous difference in yields when the beans and corn were grown together. At Ecology Action we have produced 5 pounds of dry biomass for beans per 100 square feet. In Central America the yields were 15-45 pounds of dry biomass for velvet beans per 100 square feet when the beans and corn were grown together!

• In May we gave a special tour for 5 farm advisors from North Carolina (which wants to become known as a farm state). The group was looking for insights into vegetable production. There were two representatives from tobacco farms converting to vegetables and herbs and one from 32 nurseries that work cooperatively with a network that supplies the needed products. The cooperative sells bushes and trees for new homes and grosses about a million dollars a year. There was also a representative from an area where a significant number of financially independent retirees in their 50s are moving to farm.

• Robin Mankey of East Palo Alto, California, who is on the track to become a certified teacher, sent us a drawing of her own vision of the food pyramid, using 60/30/10. She writes: “This year I’m working on growing nutrition and calories. And in the 60/30/10 pyramid of GROW BIOINTENSIVE, tomatoes will hold a very small piece of my growing area. They taste good, and are certainly a common garden choice in our community, but provide a small calorie/nutritional content, overall. Square inch to square inch, they are not a valuable food choice, therefore garden choice. They will be a welcome addition, or ‘topping,’ to the primary diet I am choosing. So the challenge I’ve made to myself this year is to grow high calorie crops and high carbon crops to feed the people and feed the earth. The trade-off for that choice is to have fewer tomatoes, more potatoes!”

• This is part of a letter sent to us by Bob Fitch of Santa Cruz: “I credit double-dig Biointensive gardening with ‘saving my family’s life’. During the 70s we were very poor and living in Weed, California (near Mt. Shasta). In summary, we had very little money, lots of family labor. Due to intensive techniques, augmented with a home-made drip irrigation system and newspaper/straw mulch, our 2/3s of a former rock riverbed (great drainage) acre grew us huge amounts of food. We not only had plenty of veggies and fruit but also enough roughage and comfrey to feed critters—chickens, rabbits, with some left over for hogs. We begged, borrowed and built most everything…but always ate very well. Additionally, my yields so impressed the…locals that they eventually adopted some of our practices and consulted regularly about their trials and triumphs in the garden.”



Ecology Action has been a small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization since 1971.

©2006 Ecology Action.

Memberships/Contributions | Site Map