Joshua Ouko: Ecology Action, CA

September 9, 2010

As time starts to count down, one thought strikes my mind; how did I manage to be here at Ecology Action mini-farm? The answer is straight forward, Ecology Action and MESA Sponsorship. First, I want to thank and acknowledge MESA for their support to me as an international student in U.S.A.  MESA program enabled me to undertake a six month internship on Grow Biointensive Agriculture. It was hard for me to imagine growing all my food and money in a closed system and achieve sustainability. But having been here at Ecology action, I have learnt that gardening requires skills and in-depth knowledge to understand our place in the world. Gardening is not always easy but the prize is full of fun.

During the period of four months, I have been learning and practically applying the techniques of Biointensive Agriculture Gardening and now I am enjoying the fruits. I chose and planted a variety of crops that do well in the tropical climate where I come from. As I prepare the seed beds, amend the soil, transplant the crops; I put a keen observing eyes on the plants needs like water, cultivation and pest control. Everyday I discover something new and valuable in gardening to share and discus with my fellow interns and garden manager.  Interactive learning is indispensable.

It is fascinating to realize that Lettuce grown on just 50 square feet produced high yield that 10 people living in the farm could not consume it all for 4 weeks! We harvested a half of the bed and donated to Willits food bank where those people in need get food tickets. My second crop was Irish potatoes on a 41 square feet bed. I planted a variety called-“Yukon”. The yield was so good- 34.25 pounds in a tiny space I couldn’t imagine.  It is amazing that “A approximately 12% of the calories, 8% of protein and 18% of the calcium eaten worldwide is in form of potatoes grown on 2.4% of the cropland”.

My Onions, Leeks, Grain Amaranth for seeds, Quinoa, Sorghum, Maize and Alfa-Alfa are really doing good and soon going to be harvested.

Wisdom of many fine people is leading me through out the internship. I am thanking a few as I extend my thanks to all. For John, I appreciate your inspired and humorous pearls of wisdom on how to grow more than I ever thought possible on less land and water than I can imagine! My thanks to everyone for making me look good as my empty basket is almost full with Biointensive Knowledge and much more to share.