- Feb 23, 2002Hello all,
I found Fukuoka through Permaculture, which I found through Biodynamics. My
interest in sustainable agriculture is both a practical and ethical
interest; it seems to me to be the cleanest pursuit we can make in this
world, as the Chinese saying goes, wearing only one hat, letting go of
extraneous desires and pre-occupations.
At the time, I was living in Asturias, in north western Spain, and we had
little trouble growing anything year round. The agricultural divide in Spain
is great, and it is very easy to see the impact agriculture has on its
environment. If Spain allows the desertification to spread through the
northern mountains, I think Europe will be threatened much more
dramatically. Unfortunately, these lessons are easy to see almost anywhere
we live or travel in this time.
Fukuoka's name began to echo and dry references to rice-barley-clover
cultivation still managed to draw my attention. Once I found a copy of The
One Straw Revolution, I felt I had found a teacher who was the best of
teachers, striving to make himself redundant, looking at more and less than
creating a food factory.
The world is comprised of many layers of environment; I see the world
visually, I comprehend it mentally, feel it emotionally, affect it
physically and socially, and can feel other undercurrents of perception all
of which are environments surrounding me. I don't think we can
institutionalize or affect a peace from an authoritative standpoint, but
through affecting our environments more effectively, from the inside out. We
can look and see what we are not, what does not have to be defended or
sustained with effort and tension. This not-doing is what Fukuoka inspires
in me, and I wish I could have the experience to absorb how he flows with
his other environments. Being around such teachers is a transformative
experience, and I think that equanimity transmits in every direction they
affect the world.
"When a person is fairly enlightened, they can transmit -- actually
transmit -- that enlightened awareness through a touch, a look, a gesture,
or even through the written word. It's not as weird as it sounds. We are
all' transmitting' our present state to each other all the time. If you are
depressed, it can be 'contagious,' depressing others around you. When you
are happy, others tend to get happy. Just so with the higher states. In the
presence of a psychic-level yogi, you tend to feel power. In the presence of
a subtle-level saint, you tend to feel great peace. In the presence of a
causal-level sage, you tend to feel massive equanimity. In the presence of a
nondual siddha --these are often very ordinary people -- you simply find
yourself smiling a lot... We are ALL transmitting our own level of awareness
all the time." - Ken Wilber
Now I am in Richmond, Virginia, where I grew up, trying to look for a farm
in West Virginia, helping start a compost-coop, a community garden,
hopefully working more to revitalize the Farmers' Market (we're trying to
get city funding to make it an indoor market, so they can sustain themselves
year-round), and a few more fun projects like designing and orchard and
helping my mother work her garden in the country. It feels busy sometimes,
but I'm actually pretty lazy.
Out in the country, there are a few cat-ravaged raised beds; only the mache'
has survived. I'm waiting for one of the new beds, which is actually a
beautiful giant compost pile right now, and building a hugelkultur next to
it as an experiment. For anyone who doesn't know, a hugelkultur is a mass of
sticks and twigs, then leaves and compost finally covered by some soil. The
mound decays and collapses with time, holds a great deal of moisture, and
helps start potatoes and other veggies a little earlier because of the
We have famously solid red clay in Virginia that is making friends with a
family of daikon and clover, and I think we'll try some buckwheat also this
summer. Most of the efforts are now on herbs and annual flowers, but I'm
trying to win my mother over with healthier soil and more perrenials, and
more vegetables in the back field.
Does anyone have any advice for deterring cats? We have packs of wild cats
that tear up the beds unless they are packed thick with vegetation, and
needless to say, catpoop isn't the healthiest for digging around in. Most
fences don't cut it.
Also, does anyone know a resource where I can find out what fruit seeds are
not denatured?. I have been planning an orchard, but I prefer not to use
rootstock, and most seeds will revert or produce unpredictable results. Nuts
and hardwoods are easy, but we've spent so long breeding most fruit trees.
In response to an old question from Souscayrous: most vegetables will love
you in a Mediterranean climate, since most of the vegetables we eat are of
Mediterranean origin. For the rest of your yard, I would follow Fukuoka's
advice and dig in with some clover, buckwheat, mustard, daikon and build the
soil, then put in some trees or shrubs. And if you need some help digging
some swales, let me know, I'll probably be back in Asturias this fall.
I've enjoyed listening into this community, I hope to participate more.
Thanks to you all.
Leave everything as it is in fundamental simplicity,
and clarity will arise by itself.
Only by doing nothing will you do all there is to be done. - Dilgo Khyentse
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the 'Universe,' a part
limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and
feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion
of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting
us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles
of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its
beauty. - Albert Einstein
Sometimes, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a
reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumacs, in undisturbed solitude
and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the
house, until by then sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some
traveler's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the pass of time.
I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better
than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted
from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what
the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of work.
To some extent, and at rare intervals, even I am a yogi. - Henry David
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