Re: Natural Farming Center of Greece
- ...Just came across this, not bad!, cute & sweet, 1 year old Greek newspaper
article on this subject...:
BASED OUT of Klisochori, in Edessa, Panagiotis Manikis currently...spreading the
word on “natural farming”, a method as old as the mountains and first
implemented by nature herself.
See: -> http://www.athensnews.gr/issue/13385/21666
Searching, I don't find it posted here in our group, yet—even as the article
replied below interests me more.
Panayiotis/Panagiotis—i'm not sure which English–transliteration is better for
his name which certainly is correctly spelled in Greek—i had been thinking it
was the former English–transliteration with the y—Now I see the Greek people
writing here have it Panagiotis—so that's what i'll write—until advised... .
Biggest best wishes to all Japanese, all cricket fans, and to all,
–busy in south eastern Oz.
PS. no April fools jokes in this above link.
----- Original Message ----
From: Dimitris <shinos@...>
To: Fukuoka Farming <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
Sent: Friday, June 4, 2010 0:04:44
Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Natural Farming Center of Greece
Attached is a word document of the text below with pictures. I am
forwarding this information on behalf of Panos Manikis, a student of
Masanobu Fukuoka, who has been practicing natural farming and has been
involved in reforestation projects for over 20 years, using clayballs .
Panos is the founder of the Natural Farming Center in Edessa, Greece.
Natural Farming Center
For the last sixteen years, starting in 1993, we have been sowing
clayballs – a technique developed by Fukuoka – with the intention to
revegetate the barren mountains of Greece and the Mediterranean
countries in general. Fukuoka’s vision was to create a green belt from
Portugal to Iraq, Iran in order to block the expansion of the desert to
Central Europe. We started with small seedings on a 5-10 hectares area
with positive results and in 1998 – with the presence of Fukuoka himself
– we organized the largest ever seeding on earth over an area of more
than 5,000 hectares. Despite the limited success (due to various factors
like grazing by animals, weather conditions etc.) we proved that this
method can be applied on a large scale and has a very small cost – more
or less 200 – 300 euros per hectare – including cost of seeds, clay,
food for volunteers. Of course at that time we had the support of the
local prefecture and the help of thousands of volunteers from many
We continued organizing seedings over hundreds of hectares areas every
year ever since and working always on a voluntary basis, improving as
years went by the quality of the clayballs and adding new materials so
that we could get better results. Up to 2004 we have been sowing round
clayballs of different sizes using a cement mixer with very good
results, as far as the annual plants are concerned but with poor ones
concerning the forest and fruit trees. So in 2005 we tried another type
of clayball, forming sausages of clay and seeds and cutting them in
slices – see relative photos – and now after five years of seedings in
Greece, Europe and South America we can say that this type of clayballs
really gives excellent results. We have also added to the mixture cotton
filers (short ones), straw, turf and very recently coconut fibers.
Cotton fibers are a good material, if we can get it easily, but since we
had the problem of transgenic cotton and also of the cotton dust that
can be harmful to the lungs, we gave up its use. Straw is fine but we
have to be careful because it can develop molds. In order to avoid the
development of molds within the clayballs and therefore the damage of
the seeds we have to dry them under a strong sun and for that reason we
prepare them in August and September. Coconut fibers, to our opinion,
are an excellent material contributing to the formation of very strong
clayballs that will not break even in the case of an aerial seeding and
will remain almost intact even several months after the seeding – see
Another material we use is geolite, a natural mineral that can absorb
twice its weight in moisture and offer it to the newly germinated
plants. Synthetic resins can also be used that can absorb many times
their volume in water; however they have site effects and up to now we
have not experimented with them.
Organic matter, in small quantities, that can inoculate with
microorganisms the clay and soil of the place we organize the seeding is
also important. The mixture we sow consists of vegetable seeds, grains,
green manure plants, fruit trees and forest trees. The sowing season is
September up to the end of October in Southern Greece and September in
Northern Greece, always before the rainy season starts.
Up to now scientists and research institutes were in general negative to
the method, always under the excuse that we introduce exotic species –
which is not true – and considering the clayballs as a children’s game.
Of course the real reason was their conviction that they are the experts
and economical interests that are threatened (plant nurseries, watering
of the plants, scientific studies, projects etc). To give you an idea,
the cost per hectare in Greece when we plant trees is 100,000 euros,
which in comparison with the 200-300 euros of that of the clayballs, is
an enormous amount of money.
However, this year the National Forestry Research Institute in Athens
has decided to try the method, on an experimental basis, for three
successive years and if the results will be positive they will propose
it as a valid method of reforestation. It is a positive step but we feel
that it will take a long time until they will put it into practice and
in the meantime Nature is being destroyed in a rapid rhythm.
We believe that is us, the common people, the everyday people, who have
to act the soonest possible and become the seeds. We are traveling
around the world organizing clayball workshops in order to establish
natural farms, vegetable gardens of self-sufficiency and to regreen the
desert. We always work on a voluntary basis and we pass the information
without money being involved because we believe that we get everything
free from life and free we have to give it to others.
Small groups in Greece, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru
and other countries sow clayballs working on reforestation efforts and
in March 2011 we intend to organize a simultaneous seeding in Argentina,
Chile, Uruguay proving this way that is the heart that moves things not
As Fukuoka writes: “Let us, one and all, participate in the work of God.
Let us turn the earth into a green paradise. It will not be easy to
bring back nature but is not impossible.”