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Re: Natural Farming Center of Greece

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  • Jason Stewart
    ...Just came across this, not bad!, cute & sweet, 1 year old Greek newspaper article on this subject...: BASED OUT of Klisochori, in Edessa, Panagiotis
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 8, 2011
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      ...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,
      Jason Stewart
      –busy in south eastern Oz.
      PS. no April fools jokes in this above link.

      ----- Original Message ----
      From: Dimitris <shinos@...>
      To: Fukuoka Farming <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>;
      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.
      Kind regards

      Natural Farming Center
      e-mail: info@...

      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
      relative photos.

      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.”
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