Learn how to maximize your gardening space in this episode of The joe gardener Show. Joe chats with Joel Karsten, the man who wrote the book on gardening with straw bales: not only is it expanding your garden, it's saving the world.
Publish Date: Feb 16, 2021
before I let you go, you are doing a lot. Or a lot is being done through your straw bale gardens around the world. Tell me about some of the most fascinating things taking place beyond this continent. Well, very quickly, Joe, If you get to know the issue of world hunger, one of the things you learn very quickly is that continuing to send food to people is never gonna ultimately solve the problem off world hunger. It's very often it just makes it exacerbates. The problem makes it worse. So what we're emphasizing and helping people to do is tow, learn to grow food themselves. And I got to put yourself in the shoes of of some person that does not own any land, and they don't have any tools and they have very little agricultural knowledge and they don't have access to lots of water. How in the world can they possibly grow food themselves? You know, they have no money to start any type of a garden project. So in these scenarios struggle, guarding is perfect because it doesn't require land. You know, you can do this right on your front porch or, you know, right next year where you park your bicycles in front of your house or your apartment. It doesn't require any tools. Do this entirely without any tools. If you absolutely have to the straw itself, you can make bales yourself, and we show people how to do this and basically for free. You can get right now most of the rice that's growing in the world, especially in Asian countries, to get rid of the leftover straw from after the rice harvest. They burn it off the field, which is a terrible environmental issue, and in their governments, and everybody hates that. They do that. So now we teach them to bail that straw instead and then use these bales literally cost them nothing other than some time, a little bit of labor to put this together. They don't have places where they can buy seeds readily, so we teach them how toe save seeds from vegetables that they're already eating. So for the first time in their life, they're actually able to grow food for themselves. And once they see a neighbor do it, then they think, Well, if my name, if that guy could do it, I could do it right? Just can't be that difficult. So it spreads because of that very quickly, and it solves. It ticks off all of those little issues that you can imagine people around the world have when they don't own land and, you know, don't have access to water. They use their gray water, water, their garden, all their leftover water from cooking and washing and bathing and whatnot. Instead of throwing it out in the street or throwing it out in the bushes, they bring it over and put it on their garden. Ah, lot more opportunities for people to grow food where they possibly could not have done that before. Yeah, we have projects in about 58 countries now around the world there where they're doing straw bale gardening places that are so desperately poor that you just can't even imagine many different places around around the world where Westerners in general, we don't want to think about a lot of that stuff that you know 850 million people wake up every morning not knowing where their food is gonna come from for that day, and they're desperate, you know, they're they're just trying to feed their kids is the main thing. And if we teach them these methods, uh huh, long term, this will be their solution. It will never be the solution toe wait for a truck to deliver their food. There's just no way toe to solve the problem. Long term. I always tell people this could be the beginning of the end of world hunger, and it's using raised beds with rapid, decomposing organic material so they get drainage. There's usually a three month period, a lot of these Asian countries, where it rains literally every day, multiple inches. So unless you're undercover like a greenhouse under glass of some kind, it's impossible to grow vegetables in the soil because the soils just get root rot. Everything gets rain every day S so you have to have raised beds and you have to be undercover of some kind. Now we're showing them you can grow and raised beds outside without being covered, even in the monsoons, because these bales drain water so quickly that as soon as it stops raining 10 minutes later, oxygen is back in that that root zone and the vegetables will still thrive inside the bales. Who knew you were just trying to solve your own personal problem with the fact that you didn't have enough topsoil in your new you hard. And now you know, a few years later, people around the world are learning how to use the same system you develop to feed their families. That's amazing. So, kudos to you for that. Yes, indeed. Thank you.