Why is Bio-Intensive Gardening Important?
Globally, the health of farming is being threatened by severe challenges:
Because of population growth, pollution of water sources, and greater use of water for industry, by 2050 each person on the Earth will have only 25% of the water that was available in 1950. Current agricultural practices use 80% of the Earth’s available water.
There may be as little as 40 years of farm-able soil remaining globally. For every pound of food eaten, 6 to 24 pounds of soil are lost due to water and wind erosion, as the result of agricultural practices.
95% of the seed varieties ever grown in agriculture are now virtually extinct. Much of this is due to the growing of relatively few crops, and the frequent use of hybrid seeds for the crops that are grown. Seeds that are no longer used soon lose their viability and are rarely available.
Global warming may cut agricultural production in half within as little as 20 years. In February, 2004, the Observer in the United Kingdom reported that climate change is a greater threat to the world than terrorism.
With supplies of petroleum and natural gas running out, conventional agriculture—heavily dependent on these resources—will become more expensive, raising food prices accordingly. As natural gas to make inexpensive nitrogen fertilizer is depleted, it may take significantly more land to grow the same amount of food, when conventional agricultural practices are used.
The number of farmers globally keeps decreasing. In the US, only 2/5 of 1% of the population now farm. Many people would like to farm but are unable to afford the land and equipment current wisdom says is necessary for a farm to be economically viable. Other farmers have been forced off their land due to heavy competition from globalization and subsidized food. As farmers go out of business, their skills—often passed down through millennium—are also lost to the world. Once thriving communities that served rural populations deteriorate and die as farmers leave.
Bio-Intensive Gardening can provide a solution to many of these challenges. The method:
- Requires 67% to 88% less water than conventional agriculture.
- Properly used, is capable of building up soil while growing food.
- Grows a wide variety of crops, using only open-pollinated seeds.
- Requires no petroleum or natural gas products. It is based on human energy and will still be productive when oil runs out.
- Can produce high yields on small pieces of land with limited resource use, making it accessible to almost everyone who would like to grow food.
Small-scale farming is as old as agriculture itself. One study of 15 countries, primarily in Asia and Africa, found that per-acre output on small farms can be as much as four to five times higher than on large ones. Russia, over the years, has often produced 30% to 50% of its food on household plots representing as little as 3% to 5% of all Russian farmland. The productivity of small-scale farms is also being widely recognized by agricultural economists who call it the “inverse relationship between farm size and productivity”.
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