Recognizing the scale of the need for the knowledge developed over its first two decades of practical research,
Ecology Action has dedicated the past two-and-a-half decades to reducing complex biological relationships into a simple system that has reached an estimated 20 million people worldwide since 1972.
Ecology Action's formal education program focuses on training teachers who will train more teachers in the system’s eight principles and return to their home locales to begin training programs of their own.
Ecology Action’s non-formal education consists of 6- and 2-hour scheduled tours of the Willits demonstration, education, and research site, topical class series taught at and walk-in visitors to Common Ground Garden in Palo Alto, CA, and speaking engagements, conferences, and project development and support nationally and internationally.
Below is a sample of projects and people currently supported by Ecology Action and/or extending Ecology Action’s formal training and education programs:
Started by Ecology Action in 1982 as a source of heirloom and open-pollinated seeds for persons concerned with growing and preserving their own food supply, Bountiful Gardens currently reaches tens of thousands through its annual seed catalog and monthly E-Newsletter and carries all of Ecology Action’s educational publications.
COMMON GROUND GARDEN, Palo Alto, CA
Started by Ecology Action in 2007 within walking distance of six schools, CGG is working with teachers to develop a complete series of Common Core- and NGSS-aligned grade school garden curricula that connect various school subjects to sustainable food growing using the GROW BIOINTENSIVE (GB) method. CGG offers multi-class topical units and tours, providing students and community members an urban center for sustainable food education.
An organic farmer of over four decades, a professor of AgroEcology at Elon University, NC, and an Intermediate GB teacher, Steve developed a GB-based preparatory course for Peace Corps candidates in the Agricultural Service area. GB is incorporated into three courses at Elon University, including a Sustainable Agriculture course that uses Ecology Action's How to Grow More Vegetables... as the course textbook.
Over 1,000 trainers are being trained by the Chilean government to teach GB in response to the country's prolonged severe drought.
Mexico & Latin America
ECOPOL, Juan Manuel Martinez Valdez, director of Ecology Action’s Latin America arm Ecología y Población (Ecology and Population) (ECOPOL), has been responsible for the teaching and training of an estimated 3 million people throughout Mexico as well as Central and South America. He is presently spreading the GB system to the Caribbean countries as well as to Spain and Italy.
Agustín Medina and Marisol Tenorio, Master Level GB certified teachers, are strengthening the scientific basis of GB, earning Masters degrees in GB soil and GB seeds, respectively. Agustín and Marisol coordinate the GB teaching program throughout Latin America.
Las Cañadas, in Veracruz State, was transformed from an unproductive cattle ranch into a fertile GB and Permaculture demonstration and training site and is now a key part of a working regional farm cooperative where a former Ecology Action intern and Intermediate Level GB certified teacher, Karla Arrollo Rizo, operates the first Biointensive organic seed production company in Mexico.
Since the year 2000, the GB method has been spread across Ecuador by Mercedes Torres, who created Autosuficiencia, Desarrollo y Sociedadas (Sufficiency, Development, and Society) (ADYS) as a solution to the country’s economic and social crises.
Recipient of international prizes for its training of poor farmers, street children, and women with HIV/AIDs, G-BIACK (GROW BIOINTENSIVE Agricultural Centre, Kenya) was started in Kitale, Kenya by now-expert GB practitioners Samuel and Peris Nderitu, who received their training from former Ecology Action interns from Kenya. In seven years of operation since 2009, G-BIACK has trained over 12,000 farmers and interns from countries including Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Afghanistan, Mexico, Italy, and the U.S.
Ecology Action supports a GB training center in Mzuzu to provide better nutrition for the surrounding grain-dependent communities.
Lamine and Fatou Diawara are former Ecology Action Interns who now run a training center outside of Dakar, Senegal, and are establishing a GB merit badge for Scouts in West Africa to raise awareness of healthy soils and food sovereignty. Lamine is the former High Commissioner of Scouting for the 15 countries of West Africa that have a combined population of over 300 million.
Ecology Action has trained four Interns from Sri Lanka since 2012 , and these four are now working in tandem with the national government to establish GB throughout their country. They plan on making Sri Lanka the hub of a Southeast Asia GB Network.
Affiliated Organizations (U.S.-based for International Outreach)
Kilili Self-Help Project was initiated by Sandra Mardigian in 1983 to assist low-income Kenyans in receiving GB training. Most funding is now directed to G-BIACK because of the excellence and success of its programs. Thousands of farmers have been trained as a result of this project.
Biointensive for Russia was started by Carol Vesecky in 1990 with the purpose of translating Ecology Action publications into the Russian language. The organization has supported teacher trainings in many cities, towns, and villages in Russia and Uzbekistan, and extensive research into the effects of growing crops using the GB method within the Chernobyl contamination area. Thousands of adults and teens have benefited from GB training as a result of this project.
Assistance to Ecology Action’s International Internship program is provided by:
MESA (Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture), in Berkeley, CA, connects farmers from around the world with agricultural training sites in order to strengthen local, resilient food systems.