Earlier this month, I joined approximately 400 people who attended a lecture by John Jeavons, an internationally known speaker, perhaps best known for his development of the "Biointensive Farming Method." Others will know him for his "double digging" method of gardening.

Earlier this month, I joined approximately 400 people who attended a lecture by John Jeavons, an internationally known speaker, perhaps best known for his development of the "Biointensive Farming Method." Others will know him for his "double digging" method of gardening.

While I am not a Chicken Little thinker (The sky is falling! The sky is falling!), Jeavons did present some well-researched statistics that are quite sobering. For example, the world's population is increasing by 213,000 every day; that's births minus deaths. This is like increasing the world's population by the equivalent of the population of San Francisco every four days. Meanwhile, the size of the earth is not increasing.

How will we feed everyone?

Jeavons stated that in the year 2000, surplus food in the world could feed us all for 116 days; by 2008, that figure had dropped to 53 days. Jeavons believes this figure could be down to zero days as soon as 2011 if we don't do something positive. Last year, 26 countries stopped exporting any food at all.

"Interesting statistics," you may say, "but how does it affect me?"

It may affect you where it hurts most — in the wallet. You can expect the price of food to go up and, considering these facts, you may want to think more seriously about raising some of your own food.

Most of us would find it a real challenge to raise all of our own food. Jeavons tells us that if "farmed" intensively, 4,000 square feet could supply all the plant food a person needs for a year, including the wheat for flour.

Put another way, two acres can grow the food needed for 20 people. Part of the secret of accomplishing this is to plant much more densely than most of us do in our gardens. Close planting means weeds are shaded out and less water is needed because so little is lost to evaporation. This is just a part of what is meant by biointensive farming.

Nearly everyone can do some vegetable gardening on their property. Even apartment and condo dwellers can find a way to do at least some gardening in containers. Grow your own salad ingredients. Have a couple of blueberry bushes in large pots. Plant grapes on your back fence. Replace some of that lawn with plants that produce something you can eat. Even if you aren't self-sufficient, you can produce something. Every little bit helps.

And buy locally. That means buying food from local producers. Not only is it fresher and healthier, it helps the planet stay "green." Jeavons pointed out that getting one calorie of strawberry from Watsonville, Calif., to New York City uses 435 calories of transportation. A calorie, you may recall, is a measure of energy. Shall we calculate the transportation cost of grapes from Chile, or of American-grown apples processed for juice in China and then shipped back to us? It is time for us to think about these things and change some of our habits.

Home grape growers: Put on some warm clothes, grab your work gloves, pick up your pruners and attend the hands-on grape pruning workshop Feb. 7 at the OSU Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road. It's from 9 a.m. to noon and costs just $5.

Carol Oneal is a past president of the OSU Jackson County Master Gardeners Association. E-mail her at diggit1225@gmail.com.