Building Soil, Building the Future
There is an exciting challenge ahead of us. How can we revitalize our extraordinary planet, ensuring life and health for the environment, the life-forms of a myriad of ecosystems, humankind, and future generations? The answer is as close to us as the food we consume each day. We can begin to create a better world from right where we are in home gardens and mini-farms.
Millions of people in over 140 countries are already using GROW BIOINENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming techniques to work toward this better world. We “farm” as we eat. If we consume food that has been grown using methods that inadvertently deplete the soil in the growing process, we are responsible for depleting the soil. It is how we are farming.
If, instead, we raise or request food grown in ways that heal the Earth, then we are healing the Earth and its soils. Our daily food choices make the di3erence. We can choose to sustain ourselves while increasing the planet’s vitality. In sustain ourselves while increasing the planet’s vitality. In the process, we preserve resources, breathe cleaner air, enjoy good exercise, and eat pure food
What are the dimensions of the challenge of raising food that sustains the soil? Current agricultural practices reportedly destroy approximately 6 pounds of soil for each pound of food produced.1 United States croplands are losing topsoil about 18 times faster than the soil formation rate. This loss is not sustainable. In fact, worldwide only about 33 to 49 years’ worth of farmable soil remains.
Why is this happening? Conventional agricultural practices often deplete the soil 18 to 80 times more rapidly than nature builds soil. This phenomenon happens when the humus (cured organic matter) in the soil is used up and not replaced, when cropping patterns are used that tend to deplete the soil’s structure, and when minerals are removed from the soil more rapidly than they are replaced.
Even organic farming probably depletes the soil 9 to 67 times faster than nature builds it, by importing organic matter and minerals from other soils, which thereby becomes increasingly depleted. The planetary result is a net reduction in overall soil quality. In contrast, the techniques used in GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming can build the BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming can build the soil up to 60 times faster than in nature.
3 The overall goal of GROW BIOINTENSIVE techniques, which distinguishes these techniques from Biointensive practices, is the miniaturization of food production in a closed system. GROW BIOINTENSIVE features the use of the following eight techniques in a closed system that does not use any chemical substances. Ten years ago, Ecology Action coined the term “GROW BIOINTENSIVE” to refer to this style of production.
We all have an opportunity now to become farming literate! The world has spent the last 30 years becoming computer literate. Why not spend the next 30 years becoming farming literate? If we can get to the moon and back with all of our intelligence, skill and wisdom, we can grow soil—and this living spongecake can grow healthy food for us plus good compost materials to enrich our soils. Newsweek magazine once called the soil produced by biologically intensive food-raising the sacher torte, or rich high quality pastry, of gardening