Bio-Intensive Soil vs Common Gardening Soil
All of life on Earth depends on six-inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains! The soil is a living organism that must be fed and nurtured to keep it feeding us. Down through the millennium farmers have known this and have renewed the soil with organic matter and other nutrients.
However, this basic understanding has been lost by the current conventional agriculture. Soil has been viewed as simply another commodity, an inert medium for growing, and has been inundated with chemicals to provide high yields and kill insects and plant diseases. In the process, once-fertile soils have become severely depleted of organic matter, nutrients, and micro-organisms—the army of invisible, beneficial workers in the soil. Depleted soils are in danger of being blown away by wind or washed away by rain.
Thirty percent of the world’s cropland has been abandoned in the last 40 years due to severe erosion.
- As little as 40 years of farmable soil remain globally.
- For each pound of food eaten in the United States, approximately 6 pounds of soil are lost to wind and water erosion, resulting from agricultural practices.
- Twelve pounds of farmable soil are similarly lost in developing countries, with 18 pounds of farmable soil lost in China for every pound of food eaten.
- Approximately 213,000 people are added to the planet daily, requiring about 34,000 more farmable acres each day to feed them—acreage which does not exist.
- Due to all of these factors, by 2014 only about 64% of the world’s population is likely to have an adequate diet.
On June 15, 2004, the United Nations observed that the world’s land is turning to desert at an alarming speed—at twice the rate that was occurring in 1970.
Bio-Intensive Gardening techniques make it possible to grow food using:
67% to 88% less water
50% to 100% less fertilizer
99% less energy than commercial agriculture, while using a fraction of the resources.
These techniques can also:
Produce 2 to 6 times more food
Build the soil up to 60 times faster than in nature, if properly used
Reduce by half or more the amount of land needed to feed the same amount of people.
In the Bio-Intensive Gardening system, soil fertility is maintained by allotting 60% of what is grown to compost crops. A focus on the production, through these crops, of calories for the gardener and carbon for the soil can ensure that both the gardener and the soil will be adequately fed and that the farm will be sustainable. Because this biologically-intensive method requires much less area to produce the same yield of crops as conventional agriculture, if it were used globally at least one-half of the world’s acreage could be left in the wild for the preservation of the all important plant and animal diversity.
Back to Green Farm