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About us


Eric Buteyn, EAH Mini-Farm Manager

Beyond basic backyard gardening, my first real exposure to agriculture was a North American agro-education adventure with my friend Molly. We traveled over 15,000 miles and visited dozens of food-producing sites, volunteering at many, touring some, and certainly absorbing from them all. This whirlwind of styles, methods, and emphases increased my awareness of a wide spectrum of our diverse food system. The journey culminated in being accepted as a short-term volunteer at Ecology Action.

I had heard of How to Grow More Vegetables (HTGMV)and seen the book on the shelves of many of the farmers that we visited, but it wasn’t until I bought a copy of my own that I really began to dig in and learn of the depth, purpose, and importance of GROW BIOINTENSIVE (GB). This was bolstered by a long-time friend of Ecology Action, Larkin Stentz in Seattle, who showed me videos and demonstrated the application of what is discussed in HTGMV while I was volunteering with him.

During my 2-month volunteer gig, I learned about the 6-month internship that is offered by EA and decided to apply. Less than halfway into the internship it became clear that it was right for me to make a long-term commitment to EA, and circumstances aligned for me to step up into the garden manager position shortly after the internship was completed.

The garden (or Mini-Farm) at the headquarters site has become an icon to many. The jaw-dropping mountainside setting and 31 years of history—with hundreds of people harmoniously interacting with the ecosystem and building soil—make it a very special place. Respecting people’s tendency to elevate the headquarters garden as a model for everyone to follow, I hope to maintain the purity and simplicity of GB so that it will be worthy of that respect, efficiently communicating to people what they need to hear.

I believe that what we do here at Ecology Action is increasingly important in the field of agriculture and backyard gardening. The joy and satisfaction of food-raising is something that I think the home gardener feels when picking the first ripe tomato of the year, and the Iowa farmer feels when gazing over acres of 10-foot corn. As our understanding grows and we consider the sustainability of our actions, that joy and satisfaction will only remain if we know that what we are doing is responsible, and that we’ll be able to do it again next year, and the year after. This is brought home more powerfully as we get exposed to the devastating effect that most conventional and much organic farming has on the very thing that it is dependent on—the soil.

I’m honored to be learning, sharing, and working with people whose main focus is the sustainability of our food raising. And the value of this agrarian lifestyle is so much enhanced by our opportunities to share its value with others—interns, workshop participants, tour-takers and colleagues. We are truly doing some of the most important work in the world!

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