From the book
Foreword By Alice WatersIn the early days at Chez Panisse, forty years ago, we had to scrounge for decent beans, pick lemons from neighbors' trees, and hunt far and wide for a variety of produce of any quality whatsoever. But farming has evolved in California. We now work with, at last count, nearly fifty local, small-scale, family-run farms that grow--organically and sustainably--the seasonal fruits and vegetables that are the foundation of our cooking. In large part, we have John Jeavons to thank for this.
I met John on the twentieth birthday of Chez Panisse just as he was preparing for the twentieth anniversary of Ecology Action. We both had a lot to celebrate. The work that John had begun in a small garden at Stanford had inspired small farms on nearly every continent; he had already worked with the Peace Corps in Togo, helped found an agricultural center in Kenya, taught in Mexico, and supported programs in Russia and the Philippines. His work has gone right on inspiring, and at a pace that is fast enough to give us real hope that we will be able to grow sustainable communities around the world.
John's methods are nothing short of miraculous. He has shown that almost any soil can be prepared for the planting of food, and that astonishing quantities of high-quality produce can be grown on even the most devastated land. He has worked tirelessly to bring self-sufficiency to the poorest people in the poorest parts of the world. As I write, he's preparing to share his methods with the five thousand small-scale farmers from one hundred and thirty-one countries who are expected at Terra Madre, the biannual gathering of farmers in Turin, Italy, organized by the eco-gastronomes of Slow Food International. I can think of no more appropriate place for the dissemination of his ideas.
Vandana Shiva, the outspoken Indian food activist, has said that farms are zones of peace on this planet. A peaceful revolution in agriculture--what I like to call the delicious revolution--has begun, and John is one of its most brilliant leaders. How to Grow More Vegetables may be one of the most important how-to guides ever written.
Ecology Action and the Common Ground Project
by the Ecology Action Staff
Ecology Action Goal: Act as a catalyst, instruct teachers, and train students
The work has always been worthwhile despite the continuing challenge of attracting strong, ongoing support. The biggest single asset to this undertaking is John Jeavons's unfailing stamina and dedication. Over and over, when we all ask, "Can it work?" he answers, "How are we going to make it work?" It is becoming increasingly clear that GROW BIOINTENSIVE3 Sustainable Mini-Farming will be an important part of the solution to starvation and malnutrition, dwindling energy supplies, unemployment, and exhaustion and loss of arable land, if the social and political challenges can be met.
After forty years of testing, GROW BIOINTENSIVE food-raising has produced amazing benefits. Yields can average 2 to 6 times those of U.S. agriculture, and a few range up to 31 times higher--a plus at a time of peak food. But there's still more to learn; for example, we are still working to develop an optimally healthy soil system. Compost and calorie crops present the most challenges because they are crucial in meeting the nutritional needs of people and the soil. Experiments include alfalfa, fava beans, wheat, oats, cardoon, and comfrey. So far our yields...
Author: John Jeavons
Based in Willits, California, John Jeavons is the director of Ecology Action, an environmental research and education organization. Jeavons has taken his grassroots solutions global, working with such organizations as UNICEF, Save the Children, and the Peace Corps to solve large-scale hunger by revolutionizing small-scale food production in more than 140 countries around the world. To learn more, visit www.growbiointensive.org.
"John's methods are nothing short of miraculous."--Alice Waters, author, Slow Food crusader, and founder of Chez Panisse restaurant "Possibly the most detailed explanation of the Biointensive gardening method available." --New York Times "There are two kinds of vegetable gardeners--those who garden in beds of some kind and for whom this is the ultimate foundation book, a must-read, and an essential reference. Then there are those who don't garden in beds, for whom it's still a must-read and an essential reference. The full title--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--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 Tim