Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [fukuoka_farming] natural farming course

Expand Messages
  • Robert Monie
    Hi Annemarie,   In the United States, I have followed attempts to do Fukuoka-style farming for over 20 years. The ideal of a Fukuokan crop tends to evaporate
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 30, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Annemarie,
       
      In the United States, I have followed attempts to do Fukuoka-style farming for over 20 years. The ideal of a Fukuokan crop tends to evaporate in the American climate where it is attempted. What remains is the specific patch of land and climate that one started with. An example is the well-informed agriculturalist Helen Atthowe of BioDesign Farm in Stevensville, Montana, who recounts the following experience: "I had started in Masanobu Fukuoka's approach to minimum-till/do-nothing kind of farming. Obviously Montana was a bit more of a challenge than Japan. So what we've done here is tried to mimic the natural system in Montana with quite a bit more water."
       
      So that is what nearly always happens. You start out with visions of sugar plums and fairies and nature chanting music in your ears, and the reality of your local bioclime comes crashing in like a load of garbage cans.  Your locality will dominate what you grow; you will not reproduce Fukuoka's experiment on your soil. You will wind up having to "mimic the natural system" in _______(fill in the place).
       The Romans were right; we cannot escape the "spirit of our place."
       
      To see how Helen Atthowe adapted her Fukuokan ideals to the spirit of the place where she was planting, go to http://www.extension.org/article/18368 and view her film clips (textual transcriptions are provided.) (Scroll down to SYSTEM 2: LIVING MULCH). Compare her comments on what works in the soil of Montana with the descriptions of expectations and procedures given in Fukuoka's books.    
      She shows what her place demanded of her if it was going to produce anything to eat. She covers  composting (which is really not illegal in the Fukuokan scheme), cover crops, weed ecology, habital for beneficials, soil fertility, nitrogen, and disease suppresion.
       
      Studying the working of this farm will show the flexibility and freshness of mind necessary when a farmer tries to apply Fukuoka's ideas to a different place. But Atthowe's practices would themselves have to be re-fashioned by someone trying to establish a natural farm in Florida or Mississippi or outside of Paris or Lisbon. The Fukuoka ideal is not a template that can be laid down any place on earth to produce an identical or even similiar farm. It is more of a rubber band that must accomodate the shape of the object(s) around which it is to be wrapped.  Fukuoka farming will look different in different places, because reality for each of us is one or more places, not some "nowhere" land (Utopia= No place). Utopians can never farm, because they literally have "nowhere" to farm. Farmers are the servants of their place, and it is their place that does the growing. Farmers are geo-topians; their topos or place is their plot of earth.
       
      In the U.S. you can learn something about how different places make natural farmers do different things by watching how Atthowe is working (or not working)  in Montana or what the Shumei are doing in Santa Cruz,  California, or what George Stevens (Synergy Seeds)is doing in Willow Creek, CA. But in the end, the soil in your place will be your school and your teacher.
       
      What you might really learn from a classroom setting on a natural farm is the names of plants, their shapes, how to start them from seed, how and when to transplant, what healthy plants look like through the seasons, how and when they die, how they root in the soil, when and how to harvest them, and how to save seeds. Getting to know plants is basic and being able to call out their names at sight can be acquired in a reasonable amount of time (kale, chicory, chard, vetiver, yacon, Persian clover, fenugreek, orchard grass, switchgrass, rye, barley, bok choy, buckwheat etc).  Getting to know "La Place" (the Place) is a lifetime experience--almost an "in sickness or health" marriage bond.

      Good luck,
       
      Bob Monie
      New Orleans, LA 70119
      Zone 8
       
      --- On Wed, 10/28/09, annemariewan <annemariewan@...> wrote:


      From: annemariewan <annemariewan@...>
      Subject: [fukuoka_farming] natural farming course
      To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 11:52 PM


       



      Hello,

      There was recently a post on the school of natural farming in Korea called Janonglove. Does anybody know an English or French equivalent natural farming school?

      Thank you

      Anne
















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Anne Marie Wan
      Hi Robert, thank you so much for taking the time to write to me. What you have written looks very profound and wise and I guess after 20 years of trial you
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 31, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Robert,

        thank you so much for taking the time to write to me. What you have written
        looks very profound and wise and I guess after 20 years of trial you have
        gained a lot of wisdom. I understand what you are trying to say to me,
        however it will take some time for me to internalise and accept it. I have
        the feeling I should read the One Straw revolution once again.

        Regards,

        Annemarie

        2009/10/31 Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>

        >
        >
        > Hi Annemarie,
        >
        > In the United States, I have followed attempts to do Fukuoka-style farming
        > for over 20 years. The ideal of a Fukuokan crop tends to evaporate in the
        > American climate where it is attempted. What remains is the specific patch
        > of land and climate that one started with. An example is the well-informed
        > agriculturalist Helen Atthowe of BioDesign Farm in Stevensville, Montana,
        > who recounts the following experience: "I had started in Masanobu Fukuoka's
        > approach to minimum-till/do-nothing kind of farming. Obviously Montana was a
        > bit more of a challenge than Japan. So what we've done here is tried to
        > mimic the natural system in Montana with quite a bit more water."
        >
        > So that is what nearly always happens. You start out with visions of sugar
        > plums and fairies and nature chanting music in your ears, and the reality of
        > your local bioclime comes crashing in like a load of garbage cans. Your
        > locality will dominate what you grow; you will not reproduce Fukuoka's
        > experiment on your soil. You will wind up having to "mimic the natural
        > system" in _______(fill in the place).
        > The Romans were right; we cannot escape the "spirit of our place."
        >
        > To see how Helen Atthowe adapted her Fukuokan ideals to the spirit of the
        > place where she was planting, go to http://www.extension.org/article/18368and view her film clips (textual transcriptions are provided.) (Scroll down
        > to SYSTEM 2: LIVING MULCH). Compare her comments on what works in the soil
        > of Montana with the descriptions of expectations and procedures given in
        > Fukuoka's books.
        > She shows what her place demanded of her if it was going to produce
        > anything to eat. She covers composting (which is really not illegal in the
        > Fukuokan scheme), cover crops, weed ecology, habital for beneficials, soil
        > fertility, nitrogen, and disease suppresion.
        >
        > Studying the working of this farm will show the flexibility and freshness
        > of mind necessary when a farmer tries to apply Fukuoka's ideas to a
        > different place. But Atthowe's practices would themselves have to be
        > re-fashioned by someone trying to establish a natural farm in Florida or
        > Mississippi or outside of Paris or Lisbon. The Fukuoka ideal is not a
        > template that can be laid down any place on earth to produce an identical or
        > even similiar farm. It is more of a rubber band that must accomodate the
        > shape of the object(s) around which it is to be wrapped. Fukuoka farming
        > will look different in different places, because reality for each of us is
        > one or more places, not some "nowhere" land (Utopia= No place). Utopians can
        > never farm, because they literally have "nowhere" to farm. Farmers are the
        > servants of their place, and it is their place that does the growing.
        > Farmers are geo-topians; their topos or place is their plot of earth.
        >
        > In the U.S. you can learn something about how different places make natural
        > farmers do different things by watching how Atthowe is working (or not
        > working) in Montana or what the Shumei are doing in Santa Cruz,
        > California, or what George Stevens (Synergy Seeds)is doing in Willow Creek,
        > CA. But in the end, the soil in your place will be your school and your
        > teacher.
        >
        > What you might really learn from a classroom setting on a natural farm is
        > the names of plants, their shapes, how to start them from seed, how and when
        > to transplant, what healthy plants look like through the seasons, how and
        > when they die, how they root in the soil, when and how to harvest them, and
        > how to save seeds. Getting to know plants is basic and being able to call
        > out their names at sight can be acquired in a reasonable amount of
        > time (kale, chicory, chard, vetiver, yacon, Persian clover, fenugreek,
        > orchard grass, switchgrass, rye, barley, bok choy, buckwheat etc). Getting
        > to know "La Place" (the Place) is a lifetime experience--almost an "in
        > sickness or health" marriage bond.
        >
        > Good luck,
        >
        > Bob Monie
        > New Orleans, LA 70119
        > Zone 8
        >
        > --- On Wed, 10/28/09, annemariewan <annemariewan@...<annemariewan%40gmail.com>>
        > wrote:
        >
        > From: annemariewan <annemariewan@... <annemariewan%40gmail.com>>
        > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] natural farming course
        > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
        > Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 11:52 PM
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Hello,
        >
        > There was recently a post on the school of natural farming in Korea called
        > Janonglove. Does anybody know an English or French equivalent natural
        > farming school?
        >
        > Thank you
        >
        > Anne
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >



        --
        Anne


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • yarrow@sfo.com
        At 12:05 AM +0800 11/2/09, Anne Marie Wan wrote: I practically live in the desert. The soil in my yard is sand and for me it is a challenge to attempt to
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 1, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          At 12:05 AM +0800 11/2/09, Anne Marie Wan wrote:
          I practically live in the desert. The soil in my yard is sand and for me it
          is a challenge to attempt to change the desert into a fertile field. It
          rains only during the end of autumn, winter months and if we are lucky a
          little in the early spring which means that in summer where rain is most
          needed it is very dry.
          >>

          Anne Marie,
          I'm a gardener, not a farmer, and one of the seed catalogs I read
          annually comes from a farm in Iowa that has sandy soil: Sand Hill
          Preservation. Were I in your situation, I'd seek out farmers who have
          similar conditions and find out what natural strategies were
          successful.

          I have a similar rainfall pattern here, but clay soil. I don't till,
          I make and use lots of compost, and have occasionally used comfrey,
          borage, and other plant teas. I've also come across some interesting
          ideas about culturing indigenous microorganisms using rice-rinsing
          water and cooked rice
          http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/20040401/Hamilton
          (though as a vegan I'd avoid the milk preparations), which sound like
          fun science experiments that could probably help any kind of soil.

          Variety selection is one important factor. For instance, some
          cucurbits in my garden attract cucumber beetles; others don't get
          them at all. Timing of planting matters, too.

          I think deep-rooted plants are another crucial element. In my garden,
          comfrey is an easy deep-rooted plant.

          I use lots of mulch (delivered free, from tree trimmers, plus the
          occasional straw bale) to hold moisture in the dry season. If I had
          more than a small garden and wanted to harvest or divert rainwater,
          I'd look into swales.

          Tanya

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • thomcprestes
          Dear Annemarie, Bob and all, Few months ago when I was in France I came across this website: http://itan.site.voila.fr/ I really see the truth of what Bob said
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 1, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear Annemarie, Bob and all,

            Few months ago when I was in France I came across this website: http://itan.site.voila.fr/

            I really see the truth of what Bob said - and by the way thank you Bob for your lucid words regarding Natural Farming: it was good to read your message - but of course I can also see the value in perhaps going to a so-called "Natural Farming School" or Institutes or visiting other farmers, etc., in case they are doing serious work in these places. Among other reasons, I guess these would be probably good places to meet people that are really interested in farming with nature and - if it's the case - to learn (as Bob said) the basics of farming. More than that, I think it can be a place to explore your own relation to it. It can maybe be the time and space to check whether you would really want to start your own farm or not, for instance, or it could simply help one to become aware of the reality of actual farming, in opposition to the idea of it. What I mean is that visiting natural farms, natural farming schools, studying or reading books and so on - all of that has it's place, it's value, providing that it's taken for what it actually is, providing that one is aware of the limitations of those experiences when it comes to actually farm in your own and specific piece of land.

            thomas


            --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Anne Marie Wan <annemariewan@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Robert,
            >
            > thank you so much for taking the time to write to me. What you have written
            > looks very profound and wise and I guess after 20 years of trial you have
            > gained a lot of wisdom. I understand what you are trying to say to me,
            > however it will take some time for me to internalise and accept it. I have
            > the feeling I should read the One Straw revolution once again.
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Annemarie
            >
            > 2009/10/31 Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
            >
            > >
            > >
            > > Hi Annemarie,
            > >
            > > In the United States, I have followed attempts to do Fukuoka-style farming
            > > for over 20 years. The ideal of a Fukuokan crop tends to evaporate in the
            > > American climate where it is attempted. What remains is the specific patch
            > > of land and climate that one started with. An example is the well-informed
            > > agriculturalist Helen Atthowe of BioDesign Farm in Stevensville, Montana,
            > > who recounts the following experience: "I had started in Masanobu Fukuoka's
            > > approach to minimum-till/do-nothing kind of farming. Obviously Montana was a
            > > bit more of a challenge than Japan. So what we've done here is tried to
            > > mimic the natural system in Montana with quite a bit more water."
            > >
            > > So that is what nearly always happens. You start out with visions of sugar
            > > plums and fairies and nature chanting music in your ears, and the reality of
            > > your local bioclime comes crashing in like a load of garbage cans. Your
            > > locality will dominate what you grow; you will not reproduce Fukuoka's
            > > experiment on your soil. You will wind up having to "mimic the natural
            > > system" in _______(fill in the place).
            > > The Romans were right; we cannot escape the "spirit of our place."
            > >
            > > To see how Helen Atthowe adapted her Fukuokan ideals to the spirit of the
            > > place where she was planting, go to http://www.extension.org/article/18368and view her film clips (textual transcriptions are provided.) (Scroll down
            > > to SYSTEM 2: LIVING MULCH). Compare her comments on what works in the soil
            > > of Montana with the descriptions of expectations and procedures given in
            > > Fukuoka's books.
            > > She shows what her place demanded of her if it was going to produce
            > > anything to eat. She covers composting (which is really not illegal in the
            > > Fukuokan scheme), cover crops, weed ecology, habital for beneficials, soil
            > > fertility, nitrogen, and disease suppresion.
            > >
            > > Studying the working of this farm will show the flexibility and freshness
            > > of mind necessary when a farmer tries to apply Fukuoka's ideas to a
            > > different place. But Atthowe's practices would themselves have to be
            > > re-fashioned by someone trying to establish a natural farm in Florida or
            > > Mississippi or outside of Paris or Lisbon. The Fukuoka ideal is not a
            > > template that can be laid down any place on earth to produce an identical or
            > > even similiar farm. It is more of a rubber band that must accomodate the
            > > shape of the object(s) around which it is to be wrapped. Fukuoka farming
            > > will look different in different places, because reality for each of us is
            > > one or more places, not some "nowhere" land (Utopia= No place). Utopians can
            > > never farm, because they literally have "nowhere" to farm. Farmers are the
            > > servants of their place, and it is their place that does the growing.
            > > Farmers are geo-topians; their topos or place is their plot of earth.
            > >
            > > In the U.S. you can learn something about how different places make natural
            > > farmers do different things by watching how Atthowe is working (or not
            > > working) in Montana or what the Shumei are doing in Santa Cruz,
            > > California, or what George Stevens (Synergy Seeds)is doing in Willow Creek,
            > > CA. But in the end, the soil in your place will be your school and your
            > > teacher.
            > >
            > > What you might really learn from a classroom setting on a natural farm is
            > > the names of plants, their shapes, how to start them from seed, how and when
            > > to transplant, what healthy plants look like through the seasons, how and
            > > when they die, how they root in the soil, when and how to harvest them, and
            > > how to save seeds. Getting to know plants is basic and being able to call
            > > out their names at sight can be acquired in a reasonable amount of
            > > time (kale, chicory, chard, vetiver, yacon, Persian clover, fenugreek,
            > > orchard grass, switchgrass, rye, barley, bok choy, buckwheat etc). Getting
            > > to know "La Place" (the Place) is a lifetime experience--almost an "in
            > > sickness or health" marriage bond.
            > >
            > > Good luck,
            > >
            > > Bob Monie
            > > New Orleans, LA 70119
            > > Zone 8
            > >
            > > --- On Wed, 10/28/09, annemariewan <annemariewan@...<annemariewan%40gmail.com>>
            > > wrote:
            > >
            > > From: annemariewan <annemariewan@... <annemariewan%40gmail.com>>
            > > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] natural farming course
            > > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
            > > Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 11:52 PM
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > Hello,
            > >
            > > There was recently a post on the school of natural farming in Korea called
            > > Janonglove. Does anybody know an English or French equivalent natural
            > > farming school?
            > >
            > > Thank you
            > >
            > > Anne
            > >
            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            >
            >
            > --
            > Anne
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • Anne Marie Wan
            Dear Robert, Thomas and all, Merci Thomas for the French website. It is fantastic to learn that research is being done in natural farming. I am a living proof
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 1, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              Dear Robert, Thomas and all,


              Merci Thomas for the French website. It is fantastic to learn that research
              is being done in natural farming.
              I am a living proof that doing a course about farming is not going to make
              me a good farmer. I spent 4 years of my life doing an agriculture degree and
              yet I feel I am not very competent. I guess during these years I was
              instinctively against what was being taught in conventional modern
              agriculture. After doing the degree and working for a few months in the
              agricultural field I did not want to hear about agriculture anymore.

              In February this year, when I watch the video by Bill Mollison "In grave
              danger of falling food" my passion for farming rekindled. Suddenly a whole
              new world was opened to me. I understood the foundations of modern
              agriculture and how it is leading to desertification. I knew it was
              destroying wildlife but now I understand that modern agriculture is killing
              our Goose which is laying our golden egg. Since watching the video, I have
              been searching for people who are like minded to Mollison. Then I learnt
              about Fukuoka, Emilia Hazelip and Ruth Stout. It is amazing that their
              findings are similar that we should not till the land.

              I practically live in the desert. The soil in my yard is sand and for me it
              is a challenge to attempt to change the desert into a fertile field. It
              rains only during the end of autumn, winter months and if we are lucky a
              little in the early spring which means that in summer where rain is most
              needed it is very dry. What Robert is predicting for my yard is bushland
              with dried wild oats and eventually bare sand as this is what I see in
              vacant block. However what I want is lush green food plants all year round.
              What a humbling experience it is to let nature be our teacher and I am not
              sure I have the patience yet to pause to observe and listen to it. But I
              will try. Some bush walking has to be on my timetable!

              I am very excited to read the website you sent to me.

              Thank you again for your feedback.

              Regards,
              Annemarie


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Tom Gibson
              Annemarie, You have to remember that Fukuoka took over farm land that had been hand worked for centuries. He didn t create a large farm in a year or a decade,
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 1, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Annemarie,
                You have to remember that Fukuoka took over farm land that had been hand
                worked for centuries. He didn't create a large farm in a year or a decade,
                he worked his entire adult life to achieve his success. The biggest mistake
                that you can make is this American concept that everything you do is like
                going to Wal-Mart or Home Depot and presto bango you have something that
                looks like a completed project. Nature and natural farming doesn't work that
                way. You do what you can during the period of transition always keeping your
                principles that lead you to where you are going. If you are lucky the
                transition period will be mostly done and you will have achieved all of your
                goals, if you are starting from scratch, by the time you leave your farm to
                your children. Hopefully they will have the patience and wisdom you did when
                you started down that road. There isn't a right way or a wrong way to do
                this. There is the way that works best for you in your environment with your
                resources and capabilities. Many people give up projects like this because
                they are so hard on themselves that they never meet goals that were
                unrealistic.



                The problem with industrialized agriculture is that it treats food and
                nature as if it were a simple chemical commodity. Nature is strip mined
                until it is barren and dead. Then unsustainable circles of ever increasing
                inputs and poor quality food and a devastated nature is created. If you can
                avoid that, keep feeding the soil and your soul by appreciating what you
                have accomplished you will have accomplished much.



                You can see what is going on in our food forest
                and get more information about local food security at
                <http://camaspermaculture.blogspot.com/> Camas Permaculture

                Tom Gibson





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.