Practicing Small-Scale Biointensive Gardening

The garden at the G.O.D. Int’l property has been very active this spring as our community members have come together in an effort to practice small-scale biointensive farming methods. Our current 28-bed garden operation is located on the same piece of land as the Institute for G.O.D. Int’l, enabling volunteers to consistently help throughout the week. Seth Davis has led the garden operation as he has diligently begun to implement a garden that enables people to work hard and harvest healthy produce from the ground. In developing our garden, we hope to learn methods that are transferable to the regions in which we work in the future.

Our gardening team has constructed a greenhouse by utilizing used glass door panels and wood to start seedlings in soil blocks until they are ready to transplant into the garden beds. We have reconstructed our entire garden with sheet mulching, a much more efficient technique for creating rich soil that is less labor intensive to maintain. We have started our own composting operation utilizing all of the food scraps from our community kitchen and wood chips and hay from companies in Nashville who donate their excess. We have currently planted tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, peas, potatoes, beans, lettuces, squash, pumpkins and plan on much more in the coming days. We have created edible landscaping by planting over ten different kinds of trees, over fifteen raspberries plants and thirty blueberry bushes with the hope of sustaining some of our community’s nutritional needs.

Our practical goal for the garden is to provide all of the vegetable needs for our community kitchen enabling us to provide healthy, local, fresh food for the meals we serve throughout the week. This goal, however, comes with many challenges such as limited space, varying soil quality, crop care, water run-off, crop rotation and communication, among other facets. We believe that these challenges have and will only continue to sharpen our ability to produce food from the land.  Furthermore, the teamwork required helps strengthen our relationships as the LORD prepares us to take our experiences abroad to families and friends that are in need of further education that will empower them towards more efficient, nutritious agricultural methods. However, we are thankful for such challenges as they prepare us for transferring our experience abroad, where many people are in need of education concerning how to grow food without extra chemicals, on limited plots.

By Geoff Hartnell