Promoting biointensive agriculture

Growing intensively on small organic plots
Using sustainable agriculture principles applied in intensive small scale situations. The bio-intensive approach to small-scale food production is particularly suitable to the needs of the landless and marginal populations in rural and urban areas of the developing world.

The method is based upon sustainable resource use, deep soil preparation, close plant spacing, compost, diversity and companion planting and whole system awareness. The goals of biointensive farms is to recycle all nutrients, grow compost crops to build and maintain a healthy soil, provide nutritious food for people, and integrate fibre crops and trees into the farm, without excessive reliance on fossil fuels, machinery and high capital inputs.

Biointensive gardening is not disruptive of the natural recycling of the soil's resource base. The backyard bio-intensive system offers a low-cost/no-cost, ecologically-sound sustainable techniques to household-level food security.

Compared to commercial agriculture, biointensive food-raising produces 2-6 times the food, consumes much less water, requires 50% or less of purchased fertilizer and uses 100 times less energy.
Biointensive agriculture is very suitable for mini-farms, school and backyard gardens, community supported agriculture and farmers' markets. The method is used by thousands of practitioners in 107 countries around the world including Mexico, Kenya, India, the Philippines and the USA. The basic technical concepts involved in the approach include: the use of the double-digging method of bed preparation; the application of compost and other plant nutrients; intensive planting; pest control; crop planning and the use of indigenous vegetable varieties; the use of locally available materials; and labour- rather than capital-intensive.
1. A good part of the energy saving of biointensive agriculture is that the food need not be transported over long distances. This also means food can be grown for better nutrition and flavour rather than transport hardiness. A garden the size of a city driveway can grow 100 to 250 kg of food, requiring only 15-30 minutes a days of a gardener's time.

2. In contrast to the typical USA family farm of 200 hectares which nets an annual farm income of approximately US$13,000, biointensive economic mini-farms report incomes of $5,000 to $200,000 per year from land of size 0.05 to 0.2 hectares.

Intensive farming
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger