All the Same Elements—Yet a Difference!
Essentially all approaches to farming use the same elements—soil, nutrients, water, air, sunshine. Yet biologically intensive agriculture has the capacity to use these elements to produce higher yields while using a fraction of water, purchased nutrients in organic fertilizer form, and energy per pound of food produced compared with conventional practices. Locally available resources and open-pollinated seeds available to everyone—seeds which can easily be saved by everyone easily—are used. No poisons are needed. Simply, life is grown from life processes.
One Person's Experience of Changing Scarcity to Abundance with Biologically Intensive Food Raising
The following letter was written by the mother of Bill 'Elijah' Wekesa, who is a 2008 Intern in Willits, California at Ecology Action's GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming site. Elijah is from Kenya where 45% of the people's calories are being imported. He previously graduated from a two-year Apprentice Program in Biointensive farming at Manor House Agricultural Centre, an Ecology Action International Partner, located in Kitale, Kenya..
This year in Kenya, the the cost of chemical fertilizers has increased threefold, and much less farmable land is being planted as a result. Additionally, food prices have climbed two-and-a-half times to date. It is from this background that the letter was written.
Dear my son,
How are you? I hope you are fine. How is America? I hope you are enjoying. Have you changed—especially color? How is food and climate. I saw your state in TV. Did you got affected with fire? We are fine. A kina mourine is ok. She won different trophies in football and volleyball. I think she is following you when you were playing. They call her Ronaldo.
I am happy, my son. The garden you start home has really assisted us. We no longer buy food. All the 50 [100 square-foot Biointensive growing] beds are doing fine—especially your lovely amaranth, sorghum, kale, millet, maize, beans, pumpkins and coriander.
The six compost [piles] you left—we have turned them and we are making some again. I was surprised how the crops are doing. The maize price is now 55 Kenyan Schillings per koro koro. We no longer buy maize because the maize you used to irrigate is ready and potatoes too.
Although the Money Maker Pump lost one rubber gasket, we are trying to give the garden water.
Do you remember our ... neighbor who used to spread rumors that you were double digging because a bump "destroyed" your head? Now she has discovered she was wrong! Many NGOs (non-profit organizations) are visiting our garden to teach groups from what you did— the VI KMDP kari and people from the agriculture office.
People are talking about you—especially those who said you were crazy when you were raising soil. But now they are saying this boy was just hearing what should be done, and this digging has taken him to the USA.
Your [Director in Kenya], Joshua [Machinga of the Common Ground Project] has been visiting us to advise on how to do continue with the planting of food crops. He has told us to make more compost.
The farm is [going well]. We are going to harvest more from our garden. I am happy you have made our home to have many visitors. Lastly, the groups always ask for you. They say where is our teacher. They like you a lot. They have been telling Joshua they want their teacher.
My son, Dad is fine and your brother is going to graduate from his multi-media studies. He is going to be a news reporter. He said he is longing to interview you when you come home.
Tell your teacher who gave you the book when you went to Manor House that book of growing vegetables is good. He has made our family to have hope. Now I am not worried about food because I will be growing everytime even if no rain. I love his organic teaching. Our garden is more green and healthy than the area I planted [with the normal conventional practices] in maize. ...
Mimi Mama Yako
Come back tomorrow for the next episode in A World of Hope:
Episode 5:"The Fruit Tree"