“…the most sustainable choice for agricultural development and food security is… to increase total farm productivity in situ, in the developing countries that are the most in need of greater food supplies. Attention must focus on the following: i) The extent to which farmers can improve food production and raise incomes with low cost locally-available technologies and inputs (this is particularly important at times of very high fuel and agro-chemical prices) ii) Whether they can do this without causing further environmental damage…”
UNEP-UNCTAD: Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa
Look outside the HOS and you will see beautifully tended garden beds radiating out, new plants shooting through. Walk through the building and your nose may wrinkle at first as it recognizes, then allows your mind to identify, the smell of manure. Welcome to Green School’s bio-intensive garden beds, the focus of which is to increase calories for the farmer and carbon for the soil, ensuring both soil and farmer are fed as richly as possible.
Requiring between 67% – 88% less water, capable of building the soil by up to 60% whilst deriving from 2 – 6 times more food from it, and totally eliminating any need for energy other than human, these beds are highly productive examples of the very best in farming practice, showcases for the world as it struggles to come to terms with the enormous impacts of modern civilization upon our planet.
According to UN-ESCAP: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Asia and the Pacific, it is an absolute imperative that we “revitaliz[e] small-scale food production based on ecologically viable systems”. With this knowledge firmly embedded already at Green School, the opportunity to teach our students and train local farmers in the Steiner inspired Bio-Intensive farming method came at the perfect time.
If you have seen the book Eco Heroes you will no doubt have heard about the Learning Farm, a unique project situated high in the hills in Java that helps street kids take control of their lives by learning the methods of bio-intensive farming and business.
Due to another of those wonderful links that seem to surface throughout the Green School community, when parent Ben Brown of the Mangrove Action Project Indonesia spoke of his own experience with graduates from the Learning Farm and the enormous wealth of knowledge they had shared with members of his own small village on the slopes of Mt Merapi, it seemed too good an opportunity to pass by.
Joko and Slamet , two star graduates of the first Learning Farm class, arrived at Green School in January and began training 8 Green School farmers. The number has now grown to 11 farmers who have been working with Joko and Slamet once a week for the last 16 weeks. Each farmer has learnt the 8 principles of Bio-Intensive farming and the 16 steps to achieve these principles – view our Green Farm pages here.
The farmers are so impressed with the results of this farming method that they are now planning to extend the program into their own farms within the school grounds.
This sustainable solution to growing food provides these farmers, currently on Green School salaries, with the opportunity to provide freshly picked organic food not only to the school but to the wider community as well. Green School is eager to increase incentives for the farmers to grow this way, and hopes that, as in other areas where this program has been run, the increased yields, lessened outlay for fertilizers, water etcetera, will inspire other farmers in the area to try bio-intensive farming as well.
Beginning 5th November ten lucky families of Green School students will reap the benefits of the farmers’ hard work as the pilot Community Supported Agriculture program begins. For minimal cost, each family will receive twice weekly deliveries of up to 1.5kg of freshly picked produce: including different varieties of beans, chillies, carrots, eggplant, bok choy, amaranth, corn, daikon and kankung – for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org