Building Soil, Building the Future

Help preserve the plant and animal genetic diversity by adopting a GROW BIOINTENSIVE sustainable mini-farming technique to build fertile garden soil.

  • How to grow more vegetables cover
    Learn how to grow more vegetables, fruits and other crops than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine.
    Cover Courtesy Ten Speed Press
  • Gardener and plow
    If we don't start revolutionizing our agricultural practices to better care for the Earth's soils, we could be in danger of running out of farmable land in less than 50 years.
    Photo by Fotolia/Sutyagin

  • How to grow more vegetables cover
  • Gardener and plow

Learn How to Grow More Vegetables (Ten Speed Press, 2012) by John Jeavons is the go-to guide for at-home food growers and small-scale commercial producers. Yield bountiful crops over multiple growing cycles using minimal resources in a suburban environment. Optimize soil fertility and increase plant productivity while adopting an environmentally sound approach to tending your garden. Learn the dangers associated with conventional agricultural practices, which deplete the soil of organic matter and essential minerals needed to yield quality plant-life. Understand how food-growers can restore the Earth and its soils by practicing GROW BIOTENSIVE techniques in this excerpt taken from the book's introduction, “Building Soil, Building the Future.” 

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: How to Grow More Vegetables (8th Edition).

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 BIOINTENSIVE 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 difference. We can choose to 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. 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.

10/6/2012 4:45:39 AM

This is a serious article; I think need further studies and developing the art of such farming. Need is to spread the awareness and "The Practice"

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