A Farmer’s Mini Handbook: GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming

Communities, families, and individuals all over the world are searching for ways to provide the necessary food and nutrition for sustenance and health.

This handbook is a simple and instructive look at GROW BIOINTENSIVE® (GB) Sustainable Mini-Farming. It is a method of food-growing that helps revitalize our planet by building soil, using a smaller area to produce higher yields than conventional methods, and minimizing water, organic fertilizer, and biological pesticide use. It attends to the long-term sustainability of farmland, so that food can be produced generation after generation. GB may be part of the solution you, your family, and your community are pursuing.

As you read this handbook and implement GB, please keep in mind these important basic ideas that under-gird and support this method:

1. GB works with the Earth’s natural cycles to create balance and diversity in the growing space and surrounding areas.

2. GB involves observation, recognizing recurring patterns to learn how to improve the health and productivity of the growing system.

3. Local farmers are important resources.

As a farmer or gardener you are also important to your family, your community, and the world! Everyone relies on nourishing food to eat. You produce that food. All of our grandchildren will need healthy land so they can produce food, too. We must take care of the earth for future generations. The farmer faces the unique challenge of how to grow good food and care for the farmland at the same time.

Note: this handbook is written for all people who plant and grow food, whether you identify as farmer, gardener, or producer. For simplicity and consistency we have chosen to use the terms “farm” and “farmer” throughout, to acknowledge that all food-growers contribute to the feeding of humanity, no matter the scale of production.

GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming consists of eight principles to guide the farmer to simultaneously grow healthy food and care for the land. These principles are inspired by how plants grow in nature and are based on using natural processes to create a thriving and sustainable food-production system. A well-executed GB farm approaches sustainability as it becomes a closed system with no off-farm sourcing of inputs AND nurtures the soil and ecosystem to be self-sustaining. In the long run, a GB farm is a farm that will be vital and productive for generations, a monumental achievement!
The eight principles of GROW BIOINTENSIVE are:

1. Deep Soil Preparation
2. Composting
3. Intensive Planting
4. Companion Planting
5. Carbon Farming
6. Calorie Farming
7. Open-Pollinated Seeds
8. Whole System Method

Read on to see how you can make your farm the bountiful, healthy system you want it to be, for your family and your community today and in the future.

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