e Ecology Action: 4 Saturdays Workshop
Ecology Action

Four Saturdays
Introductory GROW BIOINTENSIVE® Workshops


In response to COVID 19, we transformed our traditional onsite Spring and Fall 3-Day Introductory GB Workshops
into an online, Zoom-based format. In 2022,
in response to reuquests from our workshop participants,
we have added another day to the events, making them "Four Saturdays Workshops"
which will be held this year on Feb. 25, March 4, 11, & 18th, 2023 and Oct. 28, Nov. 4, 11 & 18, 2023.

Full Information and Registration below!

Click the tabs below to see information about the workshops offered by Ecology Action!

  • Introduction
  • Presenters
  • Topics/Schedule
  • Reading
  • Registration




Ecology Action's annual Spring and Fall Introductory GROW BIOINTENSIVE Workshops will be held over four consecutive Saturdays, Feb. 25, March 4, 11, & 18th, 2023 and Oct. 28, Nov. 4, 11 & 18, 2023, via Zoom.

In the past, we held our in-person workshops over a single 3-day weekend, which required more of a time commitment from our participants, plus travel time and accommodations. In 2020 we changed to an online format so everyone could experience the same wonderful and informative workshop from the comfort of their own homes and gardens! This course offers an excellent opportunity to use the most productive, efficient, and Earth-friendly gardening method we know, and is rooted in almost 50 years of research and practical application. GROW BIOINTENSIVE is currently in use in over 150 countries around the world.

The 4-Saturdays Online Introductory Workshop provides a strong introduction to the GROW BIOINTENSIVE (GB) method of small-scale sustainable gardening and farming, which is perfect for a more self-reliant and community-friendly lifestyle. GB uses less water and less space than conventional farming and results in higher yields and better nutritional value. Topics covered ill include:

  • Sustainability and Efficient Resource Use,
  • Crops and Diet,
  • Soil Fertility and Fertilization,
  • Compost and Compost Crops,
  • Soil Preparation and Preservation,
  • Seed Propagation, and
  • Income,

as well as the perspective to tie all these together. The workshop content covers introductory, intermediate and advanced material. Most of the workshop consists of lectures, discussions, and classroom work. Demonstrations of techniques such as double-digging, pricking out and transplanting will be provided using detailed demonstration videos, with a question and answer period held after we watch together as a group. Just as GROW BIOINTENSIVE Mini-Farming functions as a whole system rather than isolated techniques, this workshop constitutes a whole, with each section - and each Saturday - building on previous sections; it is therefore important to attend the entire workshop.

Ecology Action is a non-profit organization, working to rediscover the techniques and scientific principles involved in the resource-conserving, life-giving GROW BIOINTENSIVE method. These millennia-old practices are an important element in the solution to the problems of the planet. The first seven years of Ecology Action's research focused on the techniques and economic aspects of food raising, while the second seven years were devoted mainly to ‘breaking the code’ for a sustainable diet. Our current research focuses on growing one’s food and income on a closed-system basis, with soil fertility maintained sustainably from within the garden. Our classes and workshops encourage gardeners from many corners of the globe to find solutions appropriate to their own context. Our goal is to find a way to live lightly on the planet so that the planet's resources can be enjoyed by all.

John Jeavons developed the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method and has been using and teaching it for almost fifty years. He literally wrote the book on the subject! How to Grow More Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Berries and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible With Less Water On Less Land Than You Can Imagine, conveys the method in detail and acts as the manual for our workshops. Jeavons leads the workshops, assisted by Matt Drewno, the manager of our research and demonstration site Victory Gardens for Peace on the Mendocino Coast, both Certified Master-Level GROW BIOINTENSIVE Teachers.


  • Workshop Costs

    $380 per person including an electronic workshop manual

    Additional cost: approximately $40-70 for Required Reading (purchased separately if you do not already own them).

    In order to ensure that everyone leaves the workshop with the fullest range and depth of information possible, we must assume that all participants have completed the required reading before the workshop.
  • To Register for a Workshop:

    See Registration Instructions for details on how to register. Once registration is complete, participants will receive a link to participate in the online program.

    Registration for the Spring 2022 workshop closes Feb 23, 2023
    Registration for the Fall 2022 workshop closes October 25, 2023

    To better understand what takes place at the workshops, see the list of presenters and the workshop schedule of activities and topics.

    NOTE: This is an online, Zoom-based workshop, and requires participants to have a computer and access to high-speed internet for the entire event. For those new to the program, Zoom is about as simple to use as YouTube, and allows a group of people to meet virtually. You will receive a link to access the workshop after you register and your payment is processed.

John Okomba, Kenya, teaching composting at a tour in Willits, CA image













Four- Saturday Workshop Presenters

John Jeavons (JJ) Executive Director and President of Ecology Action and Master-Level Closed-Loop Sustainability GROW BIOINTENSIVE Mini-Farming Certified Teacher

John has been the Director of the Ecology Action Mini-Farming Program for 50 years since 1972, and is the author of How to Grow More Vegetables... on GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming, which is currently in use in over 150 countries in virtually all climates and soils where food is grown. Versions are available in English, Spanish, German, French, Hindi, Russian and Arabic. It will soon be in Kiswahili and Italian next year. He is author, co-author and/or editor of over 40 Ecology Action publications. His major responsibilities include directing field and library research and education in GROW BIOINTENSIVE food-raising. He advises GROW BIOINTENSIVE projects in countries such as Mexico, Kenya, Russia, India and Nepal as well as all corners of the US. John holds a BA in Political Science with minor emphases in Geography from Yale University. Before coming to Ecology Action in 1972, he worked as a systems analyst in business, government and university settings. He has received the Boise Peace Quilt, Santa Fe Living Treasure, Giraffe, and Steward of Sustainable Agriculture awards for his public service. John's dream is to be a GROW BIOINTENSIVE mini-farmer!

Matt Drewno (MD)
Matt is the Victory Gardens for Peace Mini-Farm Manager and is certified in permaculture, restoration of oak-savanna ecologies and Biointensive food production. After a Bachelors of Architecture from Iowa State University, he founded Rhythmic Water Ecological Design, a permaculture and flow-form design business which served mid-western states. He has been working with Ecology Action since 2010 training individuals and communities in the principles of biologically intensive food production and is an Advanced-Level Certified Teacher. His experience includes organic farm-scale food production, design and implementation of food forests, residential-scale food production and community gardens. In 2014, he started the Victory Gardens for Peace Mini-Farm and Seed Bank in the town of Mendocino, CA. He serves on the board of Ecology Action and manages Victory Gardens for Peace, a research, education and demonstration Mini-Farm in Mendocino, California. email: matt[at]victorygardensforpeace.com


Four-Saturday Workshop Topics and Daily Schedule: TBA

To download the complete four-Saturday information packet, which includes the detailed schedule and topics list, reading list and other information, click here

NOTE: In addition to the reading listed in the information packet an electronic Workshop Manual of lecture notes and key articles is included with registration, and will be sent to each participant via email. Please note: The manuel is read-only and cannot be printed or transferred to other devices.


Saturday 1:  8:30AM -5:30 PM Pacific Standard Time

JJ = John Jeavons, MD = Matt Drewno


8:30 -9:30

Announcements, logistics, evaluations and workshop manual with John Jeavons (JJ). Introductions.

9:30 –10:30

Sustainability Reflection (15 minutes) (JJ)
*Sustainability (45 minutes) (JJ).




Diet from a Farming Point of View: Food Production, Diet Choices and their Consequences (20 minutes) (JJ)

GROW BIOINTENSIVE: How it Relates to Sustainability and the World Situation (70 minutes) (JJ) A Power Point Presentation

Victory Gardens for Peace (20 Minutes) (MD)

12:40 – 1:20

8 Components (30 minutes) (MD)

1:20 – 2:20

Meal/Rest at Your Location

2:20 – 3:10

History, Philosophy (30 minutes) (MD)

Advantages of GROW BIOINTENSIVE (20 minutes) (MD)

3:10 – 3:50

Sustainable Diet Related to the 60/30/10 Design (40 minutes) (JJ)

3:50 – 4:05

Demonstration: Pricking Out:  GB Video Annotated (15 minutes) (JJ)

4:05 – 4:20

Demonstration: Compost Building: GB Video Annotated (15 minutes) (JJ)

4:20 -  5:30

Question and Answer Session


Saturday 2:  8:30AM -5:30 PM Pacific Standard Time

JJ = John Jeavons, MD = Matt Drewno


8:30 –8:35

Announcements and Logistics (JJ)

8:35 – 8:55

Bed Preparation: GB Video Annotated (20 minutes) (JJ)

8:55 –9:10

Seed Propagation: GB Video Annotated (15 minutes) (JJ)

9:10 – 9:30

40-Bed, 21-Bed, and 1-Bed Units and Upper Knoll Design (20 minutes) (JJ)

9:30 – 9:45

Demonstrations: Double-Digging Demo: GB Video annotated (15 minutes) (JJ)


Harvesting: GB Video annotated (25 minutes) (MD)

10:10 -11:30

Choosing Your Crops/Harvesting: GB Video annotated (20 minutes) (MD)


Maintaining Your Garden Harvesting: GB Video annotated (25 minutes) (MD)


Meal/Rest at Your Location

12:55 – 1:25

Small Group Discussion: What would you have to do to grow all your food within 5 years? (JJ)

1:25 –2:55

Compost! (80 minutes) (MD)

5 Ways to More Compost Power (10 minutes) (JJ)

2:55 – 3:10


3:10 – 4:10

Compost Crops (60 minutes) (MD)

4:10 – 4:40 Growing Grain (30 minutes) (JJ)
4:40 – 5:10 Crops and Seeds (30 minutes) (JJ)
5:10 – 5:30

Non-Pesticide Management (MD)



Saturday 3: 8:30 AM -5:30 PM Pacific Standard Time


8:30 –8:35

Announcements and Logistics (JJ).

8:35 –10:00

Making the Best Use of the Master Charts (JJ)
(Supplies needed: How to Grow More Vegetables, pencil, paper and a calculator)

10:00 –10:30            

Talk/Demonstration: Fertilization, Fertilizer Types and Fertility: annotated GB Video (25 minutes)

10:30 –10:45 


10:45 –11:45

Talk/Demonstration: Transplanting annotated GB Video (55 minutes) (MD

11:45 – 12:45

Meal/Rest Period at Your Location

12:45 – 1:15

Water Use and Low-Rainfall Farming: Power Point (30 minutes) (JJ)

  1:15 – 1:45

Starting-up a Mini-Farm: Questions and Experiences (30 minutes) (MD)

  1:45 – 2:45

Crop Rotations (30 minutes) (JJ).

  2:45 – 4:45

Small Group Activity: Planning Your Own One-Bed Unit (Farmer Team).
(2:45 - 3:05 Introduction; 3:05 – 4:15 Work in Groups); (4:15–4:45)
Reporting & Observations (JJ)

4:45 –5:30

Questions and Answers


Saturday 4: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM Pacific Standard Time


8:30 –8:35

Announcements and Logistics (JJ).

8:35 –10:00

The Apple as Symbolic of the World’s Soil, Food and People Perspective

10:00 –10:30

Applesauce as Symbolic of the World’s Rapidly Depleting Food Supply

10:30 –10:45


10:45 –11:45

Real Data at the end of the Growing Year: Yields per Unit of Area And Time per Unit of Water: Calories Produced per Unit of Water Chart in HTGMV/2017. Dry Biomass Produced per Unit of Water Chart in The Next Steps/2022

11:45 – 12:45

Meal/Rest Period At Your Location

12:45 – 1:15

How Would You Grow a Complete Balanced Diet Annually for One Person and for the Related Growing Soil? (30 minutes) (JJ)

1:15 – 2:00

What is Your Vision and What are Your Goals for Your Closed-Loop Sustainable GROW BIOINTENSIVE Mini-Farm (30 minutes) (MD)

2:00 – 3:00

What are the Preconditions for Growing a Complete Balanced Diet Annually for One Person and for the Related Growing Soil?

3:00- 4:00

How Does Interplanting and, especially with Legumes, Make it Possible to Reduce the Growing Area You Need for Food and Soil Self Reliance in Half?


What are the Preconditions for Growing All One Person’s Food Annually on 4,000 sq. ft. vs. 2,000 sq. ft. vs. 1,000 sq. ft.  (JJ and MD)

4:30-5:00 How Can You Grow a Complete Balanced Diet Annually for One Person and for the Related Growing Soil in the Smallest Area in an Region with 5-inches of Rainfall, when 20 inches are “Needed”? (JJ)
5:00–5:30            Evaluations & Concluding Perspective (Membership, Teacher Training, Newsletter)



Saturday 1

8:30-1:20 - Workshop; 1:20-2:20—Meal/Rest; 2:20-5:30—Workshop

Saturday 2

8:30-11:55—Workshop; 11:55-12:55—Meal/Rest; 12:55-5:30—Workshop

Saturday 3

8:30-11:45—Workshop; 11:45-12:45—Lunch; 12:45-5:30—Workshop

Saturday 4

8:30-11:45—Workshop; 11:45-12:45—Lunch; 12:45-5:30—Workshop

N.B. the above is an estimate; schedule is subject to change.

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Required Reading for the Workshop

The list below contains required reading for the 4-Saturdays workshops, which you should do before you attend the Workshop, as well as other materials which will be useful after the workshop.

NOTE: In addition to the reading listed in the information packet an electronic Workshop Manual of lecture notes and key articles is included with registration, and will be sent to each participant via email. Please note: The manuel is read-only and cannot be printed or transferred to other devices.

Required Reading:

If possible, purchase and read before the workshop; have available during the workshop:


How to Grow More Vegetables*, 9th ed., 2017

*(and fruit, nuts, berries, grains and other crops)
than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine

John Jeavons, 9th edition, 2017, 288 pp.

A fully revised, updated and expanded edition of the book that helped revolutionize food production around the world, and in our backyard gardens. Yes, it is possible to grow fresh vegetables for a family of four on the front lawn! The classic book on GROW BIOINTENSIVE(R) gardening for beginners to advanced gardeners. The most complete and practical book of its kind, proven effective in all types of garden conditions. This book is every gardener’s guidebook to healthier and more beautiful gardens.

Updated and expanded edition of a classic. If you're only going to own one gardening book, this is the one. New in this edition: How to make the best compost for fertilizer. How to minimize water use in your garden. How to choose the grow the most nutritious produce from your garden. Expanded charts and information on yields you can expect, how much space to plan on using, and more.

"....a must-read and an essential reference. The full title...is How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine. The title actually understates the contents. The book is about how to grow pretty nearly all your food and your garden's fertilizer on a modest amount of land." - Carol Deppe, author of The Resilient Gardener-Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times

Everyone who has used and enjoyed previous editions will want this book--the best thing any gardener can do for their garden!

“...possibly the most detailed explanation of the Intensive gardening method available.”-The New York Times

Paperback: US$21.95 plus S&H


Spiral Bound: US24.99 plus S&H


(NOTE: The eTextbook of HTGMV offered by Amazon does not allow you to read the Master Charts - a very important part of the book. This is due to the publisher/ Amazon, and is not something Ecology Action can correct. We recommend using the print version of the book until the problem is corrected.)



The Sustainable Vegetable Garden

The Backyard Guide To Higher Yields and Healthy Soil
John Jeavons & Carol Cox, revised 1999, 118 pp.

This is a simpler, more basic version of How to Grow More Vegetables..., based on a simple garden plan. Formerly titled Lazy Bed Gardening, this book has been revised to include the latest information on GROW BIOINTENSIVE techniques. Includes a new chapter on seed saving. Especially suitable for teachers planning a school garden, or for anyone who prefers a shorter simpler introduction to GROW BIOINTENSIVE.

"A lazy bed is a deeply prepared bed (2’ deep) whose growing area can produce up to four times more than an equivalent area prepared less deeply and planted in rows. So the gardener has only one bed to dig, one bed to fertilize, one bed to water, one bed to weed - only one-quarter the area it would take to produce the same amount of yield by other methods.”

This book combines our experiences from How to Grow More Vegetables... and Booklets #14 and #26 into a new understanding of how to grow all your own food in the backyard, while also caring for the health of your soil and the planet. The emphasis is on food gardening and improving the soil through crop selection. New gardeners can now benefit from direct garden research in over 130 countries - this method has been tried everywhere, on every type of soil, in all climates, and it works for epicurean gardeners as well as third world farmers. It gives specific recommendations on the best crops for beginning gardeners, and how much to grow for a family’s needs.

Paperback. US$13.99 plus S&H


(electronic version available from Amazon, $7.99: click here)


Ecology Action's Self-Teaching Booklet #14:
The Complete 21-Bed Biointensive Mini-Farm

John Jeavons, 1987, 32 pp.

Currently it takes a minimum of 10,000 square feet to feed one person in the U.S., and often 16,000 square feet to feed one person in the Third World. This booklet gives a step-by-step approach on how to start sustainably growing all your food, a small income, and compost crops in as little as 2,100 square feet.

Paperback. US$5.50 plus S&H


An electronic version is available for US$3.00:




Ecology Action Self-Teaching Booklet #26:
Learning How to Grow All Your Own Food

Carol Cox & Staff, 1991, 25 pp.

Based on Booklet 14, this complete course was developed through our workshops on the one-bed learning & teaching model. Gives detailed cultural instructions for many crops that we have found successful in our research garden. Good materials for planning and record keeping.

Paperback. US$5.50 plus S&H


An electronic version is available for US$2.50:



Recommended Reading:

Not required for the workshop, but very useful as your garden progresses following the workshop!

    • One Circle (especially pp. i-vi, 1-72, 125-128)
    • EA Booklet #32: GROW BIOINTENSIVE Composting and Growing Compost Materials

Practical Perspective: 

    • The Backyard Homestead, Mini-Farm and Garden Log Book

Diet / Compost / Income:

    • EA Booklet #15: One Basic Mexican Diet
    • EA Booklet #25: One Basic Kenyan Diet
    • EA Booklet #28: The Smallest Possible Area to Grow Food and Feed
    • EA Booklet #36: An Experimental 33-Bed GROW BIOINTENSIVE Mini-Farm: Growing Complete Fertility, Nutrition and Income

Compost Materials / Carbon:

    • EA Booklet #12: Growing and Gathering Your Own Fertilizer

Research Perspective:

    • EA Booklet #1: Cucumber Bonanza

Saving Seeds:

    • EA Booklet #13: Growing to Seed (rev. ed. 1999)


    • EA Booklet #18: Cut, Dried and Edible Flowers for Income, Pleasure and Taste

Transforming Human Waste:

    • Future Fertility


    • EA Booklet #29: Test Your Soil with Plants!

Questions To Ask When Beginning To Farm:

    • EA Personal Booklet #1: Another Way to Wealth

Teacher Training:

    • EA Booklet #30: GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming: Teacher-Training and Certification Program
    A detailed, four-Saturdays information packet, which includes the detailed schedule and topics list, reading list, and other information, will be available for download soon.


Four Saturdays Workshop Registration Information and Instructions


Registration and payment for the Spring 2023 workshop must be completed by Feb 23, 2023; for the Fall 2023 workshop the deadline is Oct 25, 2023. However, we encourage you to register and order your publications as early as possible to allow time to receive and complete the required reading.

NOTE: This is an online, Zoom-based workshop, and requires participants to have a computer and access to high-speed internet for the entire event. For those new to the program, Zoom is about as simple to use as YouTube, and allows a group of people to meet virtually. You will receive a link to access the workshop after you register and your payment is processed.

  1. Download and read the 4-Saturdays Workshop Information Packet

  2. Complete the Online Workshop Application/Registration Form for a Four-Saturdays Workshop: click here to open our secure online registration and payment form, hosted by FormSpring.

    1. Select the workshop you want to attend, and pay for workshop fees. When you submit your workshop registration, you will automatically be redirected to our online payment page, hosted by PayPal. Make sure to complete payment or your registration will not be processed.

      Cost to attend is $
      380 per person and includes an electronic workshop manual. Participants must also have access to required reading publications (purchased separately at a cost of approximately $40-70 if you do not already own them). Please note: The Workshop Manual is read-only and cannot be printed or transferred to other devices.

  3. Look over the Required Reading for the workshop, and if you need any of the books or papers, order them.

If you need more information, please email contact@growbiointensive.org.

Your understanding of the workshop will be enhanced if you already know the following about your area: elevation, first and last frost dates, rainfall by month, temperature—monthly highs and lows. (See forms for these in The Sustainable Vegetable Garden. Your County Agricultural Agent should be able to help you find this information.)

Cancellation Policy:

1) If a person cancels their workshop registration at least two weeks prior to the first day of the workshop, $355 of the workshop fee ($380 minus $25 processing fee) will be refunded or applied to another Ecology Action workshop during the year that follows.

2) Cancellations that occur less than two weeks before the start of a workshop will result in the loss of the registration fee, or $355 of the fee may be applied to another Ecology Action workshop during the following year.




Ecology Action of the Mid-Peninsula has been a small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization since 1971.

©2006 Ecology Action.

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