The Deep Bed Farming Society: Breaking New Ground

This dedicated group of biodynamic/French-intensive horticulturists is working to support family farming operations, protect ecological integrity rural areas, and ensure sufficient worldwide locally produced food.

| March/April 1986

The pioneering work of a dedicated group of biodynamic/French-intensive horticulturists promises to help improve the productivity and wealth of family farming everywhere.  

The Deep Bed Farming Society Supports Family Farming

Thomas Jefferson, bless his idealistic soul, is probably churning in his grave over the present plight of family farming in America. It was Jefferson's dream, you know, that America become a country of independent "freeholders" — self-supporting, landowning folk like family farmers. Well, we almost made it, way back before the industrial revolution and the advent of modern agricultural machinery, chemical fertilizers, and large-scale corporate farming.

Many, if not most, Americans — and certainly we here at THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS — would like nothing better than to see the 20th century trend toward large-scale, absentee-owned farms reversed; we'd like to see the independent, owner-operator farmers of America (who, by and large, make far better stewards of the land than do faceless corporations) come once again to the fore.

But before that can happen — before better can win out over bigger — America's small-scale farmers are going to have to learn to do more with less . . . specifically, to grow more and better crops on less land, using less (and less expensive) equipment to do it.

Well, out on the semiarid plains of eastern Colorado, a small group of dedicated horticulturists is working to do just that produce more food on less land, employing more human labor and less nonorganic fertilizers and high-dollar equipment. The group calls itself the Deep Bed Farming Society (DBFS), and its plan is to adapt the phenomenally efficient techniques of biodynamic/French-intensive gardening to the larger-scale needs of independent farmers — especially the grain and legume growers of the Midwest.

According to DBFS president Steve White-hill, the group's three specific goals are:

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