Start Planting a Biointensive Future for Your Garden!

Ecology Action
5798 Ridgewood Road
Willits, CA 95490

USA: (707) 459-0150
fax: (707) 459-5409


Please donate $40 to our 40th Anniversary Fundraiser about_memberships.html

Only 11 cents a day can make a world of difference
in creating a sustainable future for millions of people around the world!



Visit Ecology Action's International
Mail-Order Service,
Bountiful Gardens, online at:

www.bountifulgardens.org


and consider getting one of our books on the Biointensive method such as the newly updated 7th 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:
www.johnjeavons.info

Common Ground Garden Supply in Palo Alto

• Common Ground's Website:
commongroundinpaloalto.org


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

Take a tour or join a workshop!
• Find articles, networking opportunities, GB gardening hints and more at the RenewAll Garden Project website:
renewallgardenproject.net


Subscribe to our e-newsletters by
clicking here.

 

 


A 2-Month Summer Internship Opportunity!
2014 Deadline EXTENDED TO: March 31, 2014

  • Internship
    Description
  • Schedule
    and Curriculum
  • Program
    Sites
  • Internship
    Application

GROW BIOINTENSIVE
2-Month Summer Internship
2014 Session

Applications for the 2014 Internship are now being accepted:
The internship will start June 13, 2014 and end August 15, 2014
Application Deadline EXTENDED TO: March 31, 2014

ABOUT THIS INTERNSHIP

For its third consecutive year Ecology Action will be offering a two-month summer program that will teach small-scale, low input farming methods. The program will take place at several locations in Northern California from June 13th through August 15th. Program interns will learn practical skills that address issues of food insecurity through a combination of hands-on fieldwork and classroom teaching. The techniques taught will be a closed system, soil building, organic approach to food production. In addition interns will learn about positive social solutions to food insecurity. The program will run simultaneously with Ecology Action's 6-month intern program, hosting farmers and activists from the U.S. and abroad, giving summer interns a chance to network with people interested in similar work .

Despite technological advances in agriculture there are still more than 1 billion malnourished people in the world.1 Rising food prices have led to political unrest in many countries.2 In addition to the social problems of our global food system, current farming practices are unsustainable. Conventional agricultural techniques depend heavily on non-renewable resources, outside inputs from other soils, and degrade farmable soil. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has stated that the solution to these problems can be found in small scale, localized, low-input agriculture:

"Global food production is more than enough to feed the global population, the problem is getting it to the people who need it. In market-marginalized areas, organic farmers can increase food production by managing local resources without having to rely on external inputs or food distribution systems over which they have little control and/or access3."

Aware of the intensifying world challenges and the basic need of people to feed themselves, Ecology Action has been working for over 40 years to develop an elegant, small-scale agricultural system. This system, known as GROW BIOINTENSIVE, is a high-yielding, sustainable agricultural method that emphasizes local food production and is based historically on intensive food raising systems. Ecology Action has a network of affiliate organizations and former interns working around the world to enable people to promote food security.

This two-month internship will be an opportunity to learn valuable techniques and information, to experience an alternative living style, to make lifelong ties with other interns from different states and countries. Interns will be assisting Ecology Action in accomplishing important work that can help farmers, gardeners, and communities around the world to raise food, conserve resources and build fertile soil sustainably. The program will be a combination of lectures, study, garden work, and living the method. Once interns have completed their stay it is hoped they will engage in public service for food security in community across the country and around the world.

INTERNSHIP EXPENSES

Applicants should note that this is an unpaid, fee-based internship program. Program interns will be placed at four different project sites in Northern California. Housing /accommodations will be provided at each site (except Palo Alto, see information below in the "Program Sites" section); however, other expenses will need to be provided by interns who are accepted to the program, as follows: (Please note that these internship fees are non-refundable.)

Summer 2014 expenses include:

- Program tuition, $1500;
- Farm Tours, $100;
- Textbooks and publications $125;
- Housing, energy and internet $450
- Food, $300; ;
- Incidental living expenses for the duration of the program $300.

TOTAL Due (Payable to Ecology Action, non-refundable): $2,775

Note: A $500 deposit is due within one week of acceptance

(Partial Scholarships available to those who qualify)

Not included in the expenses is personal travel to and from the internship site, which will vary per participant. All participants are responsible for any travel expenses associated with getting to and from this program.

Note*: From the funds deposited above, the intern will receive a check from Ecology Action for a $150 at the beginning of each month of the internship program for his or her own food and incidentals expenses. Requiring interns to provide this money ahead of time guarantees the interns have funds to support themselves through the entire internship program. If you have questions about expenses please email contact@growbiointensive.org

To fill out an application for the internship, click here.


1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11503845
2 http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2011/aug/25/food-price-arab-middle-eastprotests,
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/economy-and-business/2011-Food-Price-Spikes- Helped-Trigger-Arab-Spring-135576278.html
3 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, http://www.fao.org/organicag/oa-faq/oa-faq7/en

Program Information

The two-month summer program will immerse participants in all aspects of biologically intensive food raising. Interns will learn practical skills through their involvement in day-to-day farm work. In the classroom they will learn about and discuss growing techniques and concepts, global and local issues on food access and why our work is important. By the end of the program, interns will have gained hands on experience and an understanding of the designing, planning and management of a small-scale biologically intensive mini-farm. Interns will also have the opportunity to take field trips to other Ecology Action project sites and local farms.

The GROW BIOINTENSIVE method focuses on using small-scale, organic, non-mechanized food raising techniques as a way of life. The work we do requires commitment, responsibility, patience, attention to detail, willingness to follow detailed instructions, self-motivation, and mental and physical stamina. While we do not wish to discourage those genuinely interested in the program, we also want to make sure that applicants have an adventurous, hardy nature and can make a dedicated commitment to the program for the duration of the internship.

The Internship will start on the 13th of June and will end on the 15th of August. Interns must arrive at least 1 day in advance at each site to get settled and acquainted with the area.

Schedule and Routine

Interns days typically begin around 8:00 am and end anywhere from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Days often include a 2-3 hour siesta after lunch. Most days will be spent working in the garden. A typical day could involve preparing beds for planting, seed propagation, harvesting, taking and recording samples, transplanting, seed saving, and other garden tasks. At least one day a week and some times more will be spent in the classroom.

Classroom days will include lectures, discussions and multimedia covering a range of topics. Interns will have readings and homework to complete each week. The weekly readings and homework will pertain to the practical and conceptual aspects of GROW BIOINTENSIVE and food security issues around the world. At least one and a half days and as much as two days a week will be free for personal time. The experience is demanding but rewarding to those willing to engage themselves.

Note that Ecology Action is a non-profit organization focused on teaching motivated people about the principles of small scale, sustainable food raising and community involvement. It is not a market farm. If you are looking for experience in production and marketing on an organic farm, visit WWOOF or ATTRA. Also, we appreciate that people who are interested in sustainable agriculture are interested in exploring other methods. Please note though, that this internship will focus primarily on the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method. For more information about this method click here.

Curriculum

During the course of the program the following topics will be covered:

The Theory and Principles of GROW BIOINTENSIVE
mini-farming:

Social issues of small-scale farming and food security:
  • Bed preparation
  • Compost
  • Compost crops
  • Diet
  • Sustainability
  • Fertilizers / fertility
  • Seed propagation
  • Garden planning
  • Seed collection/saving
  • Human waste recycling
  • Insects and diseases

  • History of small scale intensive agriculture
  • Social causes and responses to world food insecurity
  • Organizational development
  • Issues facing commercial growers
  • Access to seed

Interns will have several books and publications that they will use for readings and design projects. By the end of the program interns will have created their own design for a mini farm. They will also have the opportunity and help to formulate a project that seeks to meet a need in their community.

Farm Tours

As a part of our summer program, we will have the pleasure to visit several strong examples of organic farm and seed operations in Northern California. We are lucky and grateful to have these opportunities and we hope they inspire you and give you a better understanding of what makes a farm sustainable, and how different models integrate into their communities and fulfill their missions. It is important that we understand the flows involved in an organic farming operation. There are on-the-farm flows of resource; carbon, nitrogen, water, and money. And these resource-flows extend off the farm as well in the form of produce, seeds etc… all of which are essentially, soil nutrients. It is also important to understand the connectivity and networks involved in running a successful farming operation.

We hope that through experiencing our field trip program, you will get a better understanding of the different business models and fertility management practices which shape the farm and environment. In doing so, it is our goal that you can put your learning into a perspective and see what makes a farm more or less sustainable. .

Follow-Up Activities

One of the unique aspects of this internship program is that we will allow you time throughout the summer to plan your next steps after the internship. It is expected that graduates of the internship program will be prepared to use their gained knowledge in some project within their home community, their school, or in some other way to help promote sustainable food raising. During the internship, participants will be able to work with a staff member to help plan and work through their future activities.

Program Sites

The program will take place at four different sites in Northern California. Each site is unique in climate, soil, living situation, and history. We cannot guarantee that you will be placed at your preferred site.

Ecology Action

Ecology Action's Common Ground Research Garden (Willits, CA)

The setting at this site is rural and rustic. The Ecology Action mini-farm provides a demonstration of what is possible when conditions are less than optimal. The one-third-acre mini-farm/garden is located on a 20-acre site that offers a challenging soil situation on a mountainside slope. Basic field testing compares different cultivars, nutrient and compost amounts, crop spacing, and other practices.

Also, there are usually a variety of crops grown out to seed for Bountiful Gardens, our international mail order company. The soil at this site is rated fair for grazing and has a level of magnesium, nickel, and other minerals that would normally prevent the growing of crops. In addition, it has cool nighttime temperatures and varied mini-climates within its growing area. GROW BIOINTENSIVE practices are buffering these limitations, and food is being grown (although lower-than-normal GROW BIOINTENSIVE yields were initially and are often still obtained). Ground was broken for the Biointensive research garden in 1982. It took 14 years of soil improvement (from 1982 to 1995) to develop a soil system that produces healthy plants and satisfactory yields at this location .


Golden Rule Community Garden (Willits, CA)

This training site is a joint program with the Christ Church of the Golden Rule Community just south of Willits, CA and Ecology Action. The Golden Rule Community mini-farm/garden is located on Ridgewood Ranch, a 5,000-acre home to the Golden Rule Community, a therapeutic riding program, a large heard of free-range cattle, and acres of wilderness. The one-acre garden site has been organically cultivated for over 30 years and in 2001 adopted the Biointensive methods of food raising. Due to its location within a large alluvial flood plain, the garden contains fluffy, rich, uniform soil on flat terrain that lead to good garden yields. While the climate provides slightly warmer temperatures for growing throughout the day than our other Willits site, at night the cool air settles in the valley creating a difficult temperature swing daily. Its main focus is on providing food for the Golden Rule Community, growing an array of seeds for Bountiful Gardens, and training interns and other visitors in Biointensive gardening. It also has the unique opportunity to focus on low-tech alternative technology and processing within the garden and for cleaning seeds. The Golden Rule mini-farm demonstrates what is possible using GROW BIOINTENSIVE under reasonably good conditions and in the summer is a treat for anyone to see! It is beneficial for the training of trainers and staff for projects focusing on production mini-farming and development minifarming in this and other countries .

Green Belt Research Mini-Farm

The Green Belt (Mendocino, CA)

The Greenbelt Program site in Mendocino, California is situated on the grounds of the Stanford Inn, an eco-resort nestled on the cliffs overlooking the confluence of the Big River and the Pacific Ocean. Our program is focused on: developing the GROW BIOINTENSIVE model for our coastal, cool, foggy climate, improving the soil and teaching the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method. There are many challenges at the site that create opportunities to demonstrate practical and effective ways of maximizing resources and managing fertility. There is an inherently good soil here but it underwent years of compaction as a horse paddock. We are working to build soil structure and fertility to restore the soil health. We experiment with growing complete diets and different crop varieties to find which are best suited to this unique growing climate. Our internships are unique and offer a great experience in water conservation, soil fertility management and food raising through the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method.

Common Ground in Palo Alto

Common Ground (Palo Alto, CA)

Located in Palo Alto, California, the Common Ground Garden is devoted to growing a GROW BIOINTENSIVE mini-farm as an educational, community resource. The use of the half-acre-plus site, of which only part is currently in crops, is donated to Ecology Action for the development of an edible oasis in this asphalt-and-lawn friendly suburb. This site's main focus is to model a truly sustainable food system for Bay Area Residents. This garden demonstrates to potential to grow both a major amount of nutrition and calories within the confines of a suburban lot, showing people just how much they can grow in their own backyards. We especially enjoy growing crops rarely seen within city limits, such as wheat, barley, and flour corn, because they help our visitors make the connection between the most ubiquitous parts of the American diet, and the land. We partner with the Common Ground Organic Garden Supply and Education Center to bring classes to the community as a whole, and we are developing programs to open the garden up to local schools for their use as a living classroom. Our internship is an immersive experience in growing both soil and community through the GB method.

NOTE: Our Palo Alto site does not currently offer room and board; therefore, it is more suited for applicants who already have housing in the Bay Area. Interns at this site are offered a discount of $750 from their total internship fees.

 

2-Month Internship Application

Applications are due March 31, 2014. As always, participants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Space is limited. The Ecology Action staff will select applicants on the basis of the impact their work is likely to have in the future; priority will be given to those with a goal of using GROW BIOINTENSIVE Mini-Farming practices in outreach and public service projects.

Applicants should note that this is an unpaid, fee-based internship program.Program interns will be placed at four different project sites in Northern California. Housing /accommodations will be provided at each site; however, other expenses will need to be provided by intern, as follows. (Please note that these internship fees are non-refundable.)


To Apply:

  1. Download and read the 2-Month Internship Information Packet

  2. Complete the Online Internship Application Form (our secure online registration form, hosted by FormSpring will open in a new window).

    Click here to open the application form

  3. Once you are accepted, pay for tuition and fees.The decision date for this internship is April 10, 2014. You will be notified whether you have been accepted, and if you have, you will be provided with further information on how to proceed.

Summer 2014 expenses include:

- Program tuition, $1500;
- Farm Tours, $100;
- Textbooks and publications $125;
- Housing, energy and internet $450
- Food, $300; ;
- Incidental living expenses for the duration of the program $300.

TOTAL Due (Payable to Ecology Action, non-refundable): $2,775

Note: A $500 deposit is due within one week of acceptance

(Partial Scholarships available to those who qualify)

Not included in the expenses is personal travel to and from the internship site, which will vary per participant. All participants are responsible for any travel expenses associated with getting to and from this program.

Note*: From the funds deposited above, the intern will receive a check from Ecology Action for a $150 at the beginning of each month of the internship program for his or her own food and incidentals expenses. Requiring interns to provide this money ahead of time guarantees the interns have funds to support themselves through the entire internship program. If you have questions about expenses please email contact@growbiointensive.org


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