Biologically Intensive agriculture (Biointensive) is a food-growing method that works in harmony with nature. When properly practiced, Biointensive allows nature to operate according to its design to sustain life indefinitely. Evidence is that, for at least 4,000 years and on at least four continents, small-scale, Biologically-Intensive agriculture provided the foundation for flourishing civilizations to grow their food without causing significant harm to their environments. For approximately the last 125 years, a relatively new experiment has been taking place on the world's farmland in the form of a mechanized, chemical form of food growing. As a resut, the world's farmable soils—the basis of agriculture and civilization—as well as its water stores, energy resources, nutrients and wild habitats for our fellow species are resources that are being depleted at accelerated rates.
This does not have to be so.
A Note About Knowledge:
Some of the greatest modern advances in sustainable, small-scale, Biologically Intensive agriculture were made by market gardeners and farmers practicing the French Intensive System thorughout the 17th to 19th centuries. In those days, farming societies were commonly organized into guilds with each guild closely guarding its trade secrets. The value of knowledge was understood. For at least 4,000 years the Chinese grew the food for their civilization from the same plots of land using Biointensive techniques. The people called their farmers "living libraries" because they understood that their farmers' experience extended beyond book knowledge. Ecology Action owes much of its knowledge to these and countless other hard-working and innovative food growers throughout all time periods and across our planet.
Since its founding, Ecology Action's goal has been, through research, practice, and teaching: to re-discover the universal scientific principles and trade secrets behind sustainable food growing, to attain the experience that creates farmer "living libraries", and to share this knowledge with as many people as possible around the world, including you.
Since 1972, Ecology Action has been collecting knowledge as old as recorded agriculture itself, re-discovering the universal scientific principles behind sustainable food growing that are equally applicable wherever food is grown.
While there are no quick fixes to the current problems with agriculture, there are real solutions.
What is the value of farming literacy? This website is your library card; the garden is your classroom.
A Note About Working with Nature:
Enzymes and humates are two substances that are naturally present in a healthy soil containing a sufficient amount of organic matter. These substances aid in the dissolving of soil minerals into forms (nutrients) that plants are able to use to grow and to stay healthy.
One way to quickly increase the nutrient levels in soils is to import and apply additional enzymes and humates as products to the soil. While this strategy might appear to benefit the plants at first, the long-term effect is that soil minerals are made available too quickly and in quantities too great for plants to make full use of. The unused nutrients are then leached out of the soil during water events and are, therefore, wasted. When nutrients are wasted, the nutrient "storage bin" available to future plants is diminished.
Another, more natural, way of increasing nutrient levels in the soil is to apply compost from plant materials grown on site. This compost, if made correctly, will contain enzymes and humates in forms and quantities necessary to release soil nutrients at a natural rate at which plants may make more complete use of.
By following nature's lead, waste is minimized or eliminated and soil resources are preserved for future generations of crops and people.
It is Ecology Action's hope and objective that through this website you will gain:
1) of the challenges we are facing 2) of the hope that can be ours by accepting the pleasurable responsibility inherent in cooperating with the Earth to grow food.
1) of relief (that there is a solution) 2) of empowerment (that the solution is you)
to act where you are to put into practice the knowledge learned and to share this knowledge with others.
Tomorrow depends on the positive actions you and I take today. Please join us and millions around the world in making a World of Difference.
Why GROW BIOINTENSIVE?
The name GROW BIOINTENSIVE® was registered in order to formally codify and quanitify the sustainability of a method of Biologically-Intensive agricuture that has been developed and refined by Ecology Action since 1972 and that is built upon Eight Components.
While individual components of Biologically-Intensive agriculture have been used in various combinations less sustainably, the results of both Ecology Action's research since 1972 and also the research of others have demonstrated that there are beneficial synergies that occur when certain components are practiced together that do not occur when the same components are practiced independently of one another. More importantly: we have found that, because of the strong interrelations between the Eight Components of the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method, it is possible, if all components are not practiced together AS A COMPLETE SYSTEM, to deplete soil even more rapidly than under conventional practices. One reason for this is the higher yeilds (2 to 4 times that of conventional agriculture on average) attainable under Biologically-Intensive practices. When practiced AS A COMPLETE SYSTEM of Eight Components, the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method has the capacity to BUILD SOIL up to 60 times faster than happens in nature1, preserving the basis of life while greatly reducing the resources needed to grow food.
Footnote: 1) "Biointensive Mini Farming", Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, Vol 19(2), 2001.
Teaching people worldwide to better feed themselves while building and preserving the soil and conserving resources.
Is it possible for every person on the planet to live well,
while passing the same opportunity on to the next generation?
In 1972, the founders of Ecology Action set out to answer this question by addressing the root of both human health and sustainability: the soil and how we grow our food.
Placing their emphasis on growing living soilover growing food and using only simple techniques, Ecology Action’s founders transformed their first plot of inhospitable ground in
downtown Palo Alto, California, into a thriving calorie-centered research farm—growing life-infused soil along with the complete annual diets
for two people on less land than was thought possible. Eleven years and tons of improved soil later, the process was repeated on a rocky hillside that would become
Ecology Action’s world headquarters.
From what is now one of the oldest long-term sustainable agriculture projects in the
world, Ecology Action has been helping millions of people worldwide empower themselves to better health through teaching and
demonstrating a system of eight simple food-growing practices—the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method—capable of increasing yields up to 2-6 times, organically, while building and maintaining fully sustainable soil fertility and using a fraction of the resources.
The Time is Right
We are prepared to reach the world with over 43 years of experience with the world's oldest and most universally practical knowledge, and
your support today will make this possible. By becoming a member and then sharing this site widely, you
will help us fill this site with educational content that will help people everywhere
empower themselves to better health while passing on a sustainable
world to the next generation.