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Ensure Your Harvest Can Meet the Nutritional Needs of Your Family
by John Beeby

Harvest Planner

John Beeby is a former Ecology Action 3-year apprentice, staff member and the current soil fertility advisor for Ecology Action, who is now working on his Masters in Crop and Soil Sciences at Cornell University. John has been developing Harvest Planner, a software application designed to assist planning gardens or mini-farms to be sustainable and to meet the nutritional needs of those the land feeds. The following includes a recent update from John.

Harvest Planner is a free resource available online to anyone who wants to grow food for their families and communities.

With Harvest Planner you can:

Design a nutritionally complete diet for yourself and your family, with nutritional evaluations based on each person's characteristics.

Select from over 140 different crops.

Estimate the area you need to grow this diet, based on yield sets of your choice and the number of times you can grow each crop in a year.

Since its development, Harvest Planner is continually being  improved. The software is now able to estimate the area needed to grow the diet you have designed! Also, additional tropical crops have been included, so there are more than 140 crops in the database to choose from.

The next step for Harvest Planner is to roughly estimate if your diet plan will provide enough compost material to maintain or improve your soil's fertility. You want to grow more nutrition for yourself and your family, and soon you will also be able to grow more food for your soil at the same time! This can be a complicated calculation, but for this first step, Harvest Planner will use a fairly simple method and will automatically do all the calculations for you. For those of you familiar with GROW BIOINTENSIVE, this is called the 60/30/10 calculation (60% compost crops, 30% special root crops and 10% vegetable crops). This calculation will also help you design nutritionally complete diets in the least space possible. Hopefully this calculation will be available for all your Harvest Planner garden plans in about 1 month or so!

The Harvest Planner website includes a video tutorial explaining the Harvest Planner application, located on the Tutorial page of the website,
The Harvest Planner application is available in Spanish, French, Russian, and Swahili, as well as English. The website and tutorial are currently available in English only, but more language options are coming soon. For those without Internet it is also available at agricultural centers around the world, such as G-BIACK in Thika, Kenya, and Manor House Agricultural Centre in Kitale, Kenya. The site is professionally hosted  and secure.

I hope you’ll come visit the new Harvest Planner website at and try the Harvest Planner program. Just click on the green Harvest Planner application button on the homepage of the website, and sign up for a free account to access the program. With the aid of this tool, we hope you’ll grow more nutritious food sustainably!



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