an Ecology Action Initiative in Afghanistan
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Since 2002, Ecology Action has been working with Afghans to develop a program for teaching GROW BIOINTENSIVE in Afghanistan. In 2004, two Afghan representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture came to Ecology Action’s headquarters in Willits, California to learn how to develop a demonstration site and how to teach the method to Afghan farmers. Following their five-month stay in the USA they returned to Kabul and with the cooperation of the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture have opened a demonstration garden in Kabul where farmers test the principles of GROW BIOINTENSIVE agriculture including carbon farming, double-digging, intensive planting, and the use of open-pollinated seeds. Learn more about the GROW BIOINTENSIVE food-raising method. They have called their demonstration site the Afghan Organic Agriculture Training Center.
In its two seasons of operation, the Afghan Organic Agriculture Training Center has witnessed noticeable improvements in soil quality and crop yields, and hundreds of farmers as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations have been introduced to the possibility of increasing their yields by sustainable means. Ecology Action continues to offer assistance to the staff of the Afghan Organic Agriculture Training Center to ensure that GROW BIOINTESIVE methods are used accurately for the greatest impact on soil health and crop yields.
Gardener On The Ground
Naqibullah Salik was born in Parwan Province, Afghanistan into a family of farmers. In 1978, war forced he and his family to move from their home to Baghlan. Salik went on to study at an agricultural high school and subsequently received his Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Kabul University. Following the completion of his undergraduate degree, Salik was chosen for study at Borne University in the Czech Republic where he received his Master’s degree in Plant Breeding. Salik returned to Afghanistan where he has since worked for the Ministry of Agriculture in a variety of capacities, including study at the Horticultural Research Institute. In 2004, Salik spent 5 months at Ecology Action’s headquarters in the USA where he learned how to teach GROW BIOINTENSIVE sustainable mini-farming and operate a demonstration site for the method in Afghanistan. Salik currently serves as the general manager of Badam Bagh, a Ministry of Agriculture operated 250-acre research farm and nursery in Kabul which includes the Afghan Organic Agriculture Training Center- the only site in Afghanistan that currently researches and teaches Afghan farmers the high yielding, soil improving GROW BIOINTENSIVE method developed by Ecology Action. Salik is the director of the Afghan Organic Agriculture Training Center.
Action is the premier research and training organization for the
high-yielding, resource-conserving, small-scale GROW BIOINTENSIVE
After 32 years of research,
Ecology Action has developed a method of mini-farming appropriate
to the family-scale farmer.
Our Project Coordinator
Devon Pattillo has been
practicing GROW BIOINTENSIVE techniques for three years. He received
his Bachelor's degree in Biology from Reed College in 2000. He is
passionate, motivated, and creative. Devon is learning Dari, the
local dialect of Farsi, and should prove to be effective in bringing
sustainable mini-farming to Afghanistan.
This method, now called
GROW BIOINTENSIVE, is appropriate for the situation in Afghanistan
- Brings food security
to areas that are lacking in nearly all basic needs, including
water and sewage systems, roads, and electricity,
- Generally uses only
locally available resources,
- Avoids use of chemical
fertilizers and pesticides, which can be difficult and expensive
- Makes optimal use
of limited water and seed supplies critical for Afghanistan,
which has experienced a drought for the previous four years and
has a semi-arid to arid climate in the best of times,
- Provides the farmer
with a significant legal income while also producing nourishing
food for families,
- Relies on no machinery,
thereby being accessible to anyone with basic hand tools,
- Has proven capable
of producing the highest yields per unit area compared with other
- Builds a healthy,
fertile soil while achieving all of this!
Oct 2004-Oct 2006
Establish 2500 square foot garden in Kabul, Afghanistan. Practice GROW BIOINTENSIVE methods on Afghan soil, including double digging, intensive planting, carbon and calorie farming, growing of open pollinated seeds, companion planting, and composting. Develop an understanding of these practices using local tools and record data on crop yields to assess the impact of GROW BIOINTENSIVE practices. This phase will allow Ecology Action to assess the challenges of teaching in Afghanistan while providing a presence for the teaching of organic techniques in Afghanistan while allowing Afghans the time to establish buy in to the program.
Send one EA representative to assess the project in 2005- completed!
Oct 2006-Oct 2007
- Send one Ecology Action representative in 2007 to communicate Ecology Action’s vision for the project, ensure practices are being followed correctly, and offer advice for record keeping and communication.
- This year we look to quadruple the demonstration farm and increase our staff. We hope this will do three things:
Provide a comparison to the area that has been under GB cultivation for the previous two years
Provide a larger impact for visitors to the site.
Offer the AOATC a chance to demonstrate its ability to operate and master the techniques, all while employing more people and providing more food for the staff at the Ministry of Agriculture farm.
Oct 2007-Oct 2009
Oct 2009-Oct 2011
- Provide longer-term training to students from diverse regions in Afghanistan
Oct 2011-Oct 2014
- Develop training sites elsewhere in Afghanistan
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