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The Next Steps

If you like what you see in our self-teaching course
and are ready to learn more, visit Ecology Action's International
Mail-Order Service,
Bountiful Gardens, online at:

and consider getting one of our books on the Biointensive method such as the newly updated 8th edition of:

How to Grow More Vegetables

How to Grow More Vegetables

and/or the Biointensive book especially for beginners:

The Sustainable Vegetable Garden

The Sustainable Vegetable Garden

You may also want to explore the following:

John Jeavons

• John Jeavons' website:

Common Ground Garden Supply in Palo Alto

• Common Ground's Garden:

Take a tour or join a workshop!
• Take a garden tour or join a workshop at Ecology Action:
EA calendar of events

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Teach Yourself the Basics

Click a tab below to start teaching yourself the


  • Introduction
  • The Self-Teaching Handbook
  • How-To Videos
  • GB Standards

Biointensive Self-Teaching Handbook

About the Handbook: Click to expand

The roots of biologically-intensive food raising date back 5,000 years in Africa, 4,000 years in Asia, 1,000 years in Latin America and at least 300 years in Europe.  As mentioned above, the techniques involved have the potential to grow farmable soil up to 60 times faster than occurs in nature while producing higher yields, conserving resources and using only open-pollinated seeds, which can be locally grown, thus reducing farm dependence on commercial seed producers.  

Ecology Action's goal is to enable as many people as possible, in all the food-growing climates and soils around the world, to begin growing food and soil with a scientifically tested, biologically-intensive, organic food raising approach: the GROW BIOINTENSIVE® method.

Since more and more people around the world have some sort of access to the internet, and given today's food and resource challenges, and a world economy of increasing expenses where food and resources are concerned -- we've been wanting to add a self-teaching section on our website. We wanted it to include a simple, easy-to-use description of how to perform the fundamentals of GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming as a free, downloadable PDF that we could translate into as many languages and dialects as possible: a "How-To" publication that could help make low-cost, effective, locally available living process food-raising achievable.

Lucky for all of us, Margo Royer-Miller, a former Ecology Action Apprentice and Field Coordinator, was eager to write this manual.  Over a period of two years she wrote and refined this publication, using her special teaching and writing gifts.  Margo's goals included trying to make sure she gave more than just technical information.  She wanted attentive readers to be able to glean a deeper understanding of the goals and foundations behind the techniques and principles, so that each person can make choices in the garden that will positively affect the system and uphold the integrity of the method. Since all of us learn and understand differently, Margo explains the concepts of the GROW BIOINTENSIVE basics using concrete and abstract examples that will enable a wide range of people to use and absorb the information.  

The result is a free, downloadable a handbook for you to treasure, evolve for your mini-ecosystem and enjoy!!

Click a link below to download a free PDF of the Self-Teaching Handbook
by Margo Royer-Miller:

A Farmer’s Handbook in English:(~12MB PDF)*

Farmers's Handbook in Russian (~4MB)

Mini Manual para el Agricultor en Español
/Farmers's Handbook in Spanish (~3MB)

Mini-manuel du cultivateur, traduction Française/
Farmer's Handbook in French (~3MB)

Um Pequeno Manual par a Agricultores em Português/
Farmer's Handbook in Portuguese (~3MB)

NEW in 2015! Ein Gartenhandbuch in Deutsch/
Farmer's Handbook in German (~3MB)

Or click a link below to view the different units online in English.

Getting Started with the Handbook

Deep Soil Preparation


Intensive Planting

Companion Planting

Carbon Farming

Calorie Farming

Open Pollinated Seeds

Whole System Method


*© 2010 Ecology Action. All Rights Reserved. The Farmer's Mini-Handbook... is provided free of charge to individuals by Ecology Action in order to help increase the number of people who know how to grow their own food using the efficient and earth-friendly GROW BIOINTENSIVE® method of farming. You have permission to print and distribute exact copies of the The Farmer's Mini-Handbook... in its entirety only if you do so without charge to the recipients and you preserve the integrity of the work. Permission to use excerpts from the handbook, or use of any of the component portions of the material, such as text or images, for other purposes or in other works must be obtained in writing, in advance of use or publication, from Ecology Action. No permission is granted for any other use, in any other medium, or of any other rights. Without limitation, permission to translate must be obtained from Ecology Action. Thank you!

Standards for GROW BIOINTENSIVE® Sustainable Mini-Farming

GROW BIOINTENSIVE® Sustainable Mini-Farming is a remarkable method for increasing yields, decreasing resource use, and building soil fertility at very low cost. When used properly, it has the potential to change our world for the better. However, when putting this method into practice, it is important to be aware that GROW BIOINTENSIVE is a whole system, and that the components of the system must all be used together to be sustainable.

If you are using GROW BIOINTENSIVE, be aware that if you do not use all of the components of the system together, the method’s high yields can rapidly deplete the soil, and can potentially cause as much damage to your land as conventional farming practices.

If you use all of the components of the system together, the method can build up the soil rapidly while producing higher yields and conserving resources.

We are eager for people to put GROW BIOINTENSIVE into practice, but we want to make certain that each farmer is aware that their garden or mini-farm is only as sustainable the techniques used by the farmer. For this reason, we have created the following “check-list” to help you keep track of your progress away from soil-depletion and ecosystem destruction, and towards true, abundant sustainability.

To be considered as a true GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farm, the garden, mini-farm, or farm of an individual, project, program, or organization must be using a specific group of practices in a specific way. These practices are grouped in three levels of increasing involvement:

  1. Basic GROW BIOINTENSIVE Mini-Farmer

  2. Transitional GROW BIOINTENSIVE Mini-Farmer

  3. Full GROW BIOINTENSIVE Mini-Farmer

To see what level of sustainability your farm or garden has achieved,
please download and read the following checklist, and check off the practices which apply to your garden, mini-farm or farm at this time.

Checklist for GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming (~43MB PDF)