These food-growing techniques are only part of a sustainable future.To preserve the plant and animal genetic diversity upon which we all depend, we will need to keep one-half of the world’s farmable land in a wild, natural state. As we begin to use sustainable, landand resource-conserving food-raising approaches, more wilderness areas can remain untouched so more of the endangered plant and animal diversity on this Earth can be preserved. This wealth of genetic diversity is necessary if the planet on which we live is to support abundance.
Generally, the challenges of world hunger, soil depletion, and diminishing resources seem so overwhelming that we tend to look for big solutions, such as shipping massive amounts of grain, breeding high-yield miracle crops, or establishing infrastructures— bank loans, machinery and fertilizer purchases, markets, and roads. These solutions create long-term dependency. and roads. These solutions create long-term dependency. What is so exciting about a personal approach is that it seeks to answer the question, “How do we enable ourselves to take care of our own needs?”
Personal solutions will have as many varied applications as there are people, soils, climates, and cultures. Our research of one of these sustainable proposals, GROW BIOINTENSIVE, is a way for people to begin to develop these solutions. Our work grew out of personal concern about worldwide starvation and malnutrition, augmented by a sober assessment of the unsustainability of the most dominant current methods of producing our food.
We came to believe that if we could determine the smallest amount of land and resources needed for one person to supply all of his or her own needs in a sustainable way, we might arrive at a personal solution. What if a person could, in a tiny area, easily raise all the crops that would supply all food, clothes, building materials, compost materials, seeds, and income for an entire year? We asked whether others knew the smallest area required. No one did. So we began our 40-year (and counting) quest. The way humankind is currently living and increasing in population, we will not be able to provide for our own food needs soon if we do not grow living soil at a time of peak farmable soil.
The charts in Appendix 2 illustrate how that in as little as two years, there may only be an average off 9,000 square feet of farmable land only be an average off 9,000 square feet of farmable land per person for a large number of people. We also need to leave half of that land in its natural, wild state to preserve plant and animal genetic diversity in thriving mini-ecosystems. This in turn will enable Nature’s natural cycles to provide a wonderful life for us all.
Therefore, much of that theoretically accessible land becomes limited to about 4,500 square feet, and this availability may be limited further as water becomes less available to water crops. The UN-FAO has reported that, in as little as 13 years, in 2025, increasingly limited water availability means that as many as two-thirds of the world population, about 5 billion people, may not have enough water to grow suCcient food.
With GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming, it may be possible to grow all the food for one’s nutrition, as well as “food” for the soil, on as little as 4,000 square feet, without a great amount of diCculty—and with 67% to 88% less water per pound of food produced. This is important, as 70% to 80% of the water used by people is used for farming. If we all have the will, we can transform a water scarcity into water abundance. The energy crisis is not in a barrel of oil, it is primarily in ourselves!