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From the Director's Corner
By John Jeavons

The Jeavons Center Mini-Farm atop Pine Mountain, Willits, CA
The Jeavons Center Mini-Farm atop Pine Mountain, Willits, CA

2016 was a growing year for Ecology Action (EA), and I want to share a few of the highlights with all of you.

As you may already know, EA has international partner organizations in Mexico, Ecuador, Kenya, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Russia, and we act as a catalyst, fiscal sponsor and technical adviser for numerous programs and projects in these and other countries. Most notably, as a result of these relationships, we estimate that over two million farmers in Kenya have been trained in Biointensive, and over three million individuals are using these practices in Mexico and Latin America as well.

There are several major initiatives throughout Latin America focused on biointensive demonstration and education. Through these programs and projects, over 150,000 people are trained, directly and indirectly, in the GROW BIOINTENSIVE (GB) method annually. One of the reasons these initiatives are so important, and so popular, is that in Mexico, 70 percent of the people are spending virtually all of their income on food, yet still don't have enough to eat: 50 percent of the 100 million people in Mexico are only getting one-third of the daily calories they need to stay healthy.

Interest in GB continues to grow in Africa, as well. Development specialists in Ghana and Nigeria have asked Olawumi Benedict, one of EA's 2016 8-month interns, to develop a plan to train people in biologically intensive practices countrywide. These countries have many people who do not have food to eat three days out of the week, so these programs have the potential to create a major positive impact.

Here at home, EA's newly developed 8-Month Internship program trained seven leaders from Kenya, Canada, Togo, Ghana/Nigeria and Wisconsin, US over the 2016 season.

Our team hosted the 27th annual 5-Day Teachers Workshop. In addition we hosted our largest Three-Day Workshop ever, training participants from seven different countries. To date, we have taught approximately 2,097 participants from 47 states and 34 countries in our Three-Day Workshops.

The 9th edition of our flagship GROW BIOINTENSIVE manual, How to Grow More Vegetables (HTGMV), is scheduled to be released in July 2017. Steve Moore is working on a complementary book to HTGMV with a working title of Biointensive Agriculture: A Pathway to Sustainability.

EA's Common Ground Garden in Palo Alto, CA hosted 15 field trips, teaching over 150 children and teens using their recently published sixth grade curriculum

Want to see what it's all about? We are directing beginners in the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method to our 8-part skills video series which provides an excellent introduction to the method, and to EA's Grow Hope video (above) which shows how people can make a difference at any age.

With the help of our donors, we continue to put out new growth, teaching as many people as we can how to grow healthy food and fertile soil sustainably, right where they are. Our next initiative is focused on web-based training: within two years we plan to have the 8-Month Internship content online, so that more people can participate around the world. Using the webinar model, every other week a different Farmer/Teacher staff person will be available to teach from their area of expertise. We may be cutting back on the number of interns who actually come to our mini-farms in California, but this will enable us to reach many more new "e-Interns" around the world via an online Internship.


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