Q&A

DEAR NEW FARM:

I read the article "Small is beautiful" and hoped the link would send me to more information. However, I was greatly disappointed that the two main links only wanted to make money and not share information. I'm sure there are other sites out there willing to share their expertise and findings to help other gardeners accomplish the same outcomes.

Thank you.
Dorothy Filing

 

DEAR DOROTHY:

You don't say how much data or understanding you want, but you may need to invest both time and money in some way to acquire it if it is a meaningful amount.

The SPIN folks are drawing heavily from John Jeavons' work in what is now called Grow Biointensive® (www.growbiointensive.org). I've attended a training where the paradigm and the practical details are clearly presented. You can buy the book ($20) or attend a training ($350 - $400 per person plus approximately $75 for publications depending on the workshop and on the time of registration. Lodging is not included.)

Jeavons, who has been at this for a long time, has established a nonprofit organization that promotes this way of farming globally with some remarkable results. Folks work with him on a shoestring, and go home to raise food where people are starving and food is really valued. Click here to ead about it.

The Ecology Action website will give you the general outline for the Grow Biointensive approach, but you may be disappointed again. A natural farming system that really works is complex, multi-faceted, locally applied, artful and beyond simple summary—even though the concepts are easily distilled. People who have worked years to gets their heads around a system of applications that work then have to work at how to articulate what they've learned in person (trainings) or in print (books, etc.). And somehow they have to eat while writing and training, all the time not farming commercially to raise cash.

We journalists at this website face somewhat of the same dilemma in our hopes to change the world of agriculture—sharing information that is meaningful is costly to acquire, to produce and to distribute. The Rodale Institute offers trainings from time to time as we can find funding to cover the additional associated costs of actually delivering in person what we have worked to acquire and organize. Sometimes we charge the students, as well.

The SPIN folks seem to be well-focused with well-packaged information, but are just starting. Making information available for free brings more questions from thoughtful people. Often, groups find they have to contain their communications within a publication or within workshops for pay, just to afford to keep going.

Best wishes in your quest to learn from those who know, and are willing to share, as you can invest in the experience.

NF

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