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RE: [fukuoka_farming] Ancient winter wheat; Commercial potential of Fukuoka

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  • jamie
    Hello Robert, your email is, as usual, packed with information - and questions! I ll just apply myself to a single point (and not only is it a single point but
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 3, 2003
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      Hello Robert, your email is, as usual, packed with information - and
      questions! I'll just apply myself to a single point (and not only is it a
      single point but it is the fundamental point of NF/SynAg).

      You write: "John Seymour, a British farmer and self-reliance advocate of
      many decades experience says in one of his books that "no-dig" gardening is
      excellent, but its practitioners always keep it going by "stealing" somebody
      else's organic matter for mulch. For Seymour you have to double- and
      triple-dig and use a variety of deep-root accumulator plants to "mine" the
      mud and bring the nutrients up. He believes this is the way to
      sustainability."

      I was just introduced to John Seymour's work and also remarked his attitude
      to no-till. And, in conventional farming, organic or chemical, his
      observation would seem to be accurate. Yet, there is a lack of
      understanding, a lack shared in equal measure by permaculture, regarding
      soil fertility.

      I'd rather not launch into a complex (and long) treatise on the
      autofertility of the soil here (the recent articles I wrote with Emilia for
      the PC Activist magazine do however go into this detail) but would rather
      ask you to ponder two (para)phrases from Fukuoka: 'nature and not man grow
      plants' and 'the soil can only produce what the soil is able to
      produce'...by which I am attempting to get to that single, fundamental
      point: all ideas of bigger yields or faster growth derive from the partial
      conceptions of humanity and not from the true perception of the total
      interdependence of nature - only by working entirely within natural
      processes are we truly sustainable.

      Which brings me nicely back to my earlier post: how close to this 'absolute'
      NF is it possible to get in the harsh world of commerce?

      Jamie
      Souscayrous


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Robert Monie [mailto:bobm20001@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 2:39 PM
      To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Ancient winter wheat; Commercial potential of
      Fukuoka


      Hi John, Jamie, and all,

      John Jeavons' mail-order seed catalog at "Bountiful Gardens" regularly
      offers several ancient wheat varieties, including Early Stone Age Wheat
      (Einkhorn hornemanii); Stephens (Is this from Synergy Seeds?), "a soft white
      winter wheat with very large kernels"; two of Tim Peters' varieties,
      "SS791," "a light brown winter wheat ...in short awned heads that thresh
      easily," and "PRS 3628 Perennial Wheat,"with good resistance to lodging and
      diseases." Jeavons also has the Maris Widgeon "an old variety from England
      that was grown for its tall straw for thaching"--really an autumn wheat, and
      Black Emmer Wheat for "crafts and arrangements."

      Jamie, I have always said that we have the most to learn from successful
      commercial applications of Fukuoka's ideas. Anyone can grown a mixed,
      polyculture backyard garden if enough mulch is available. The question is,
      can this method be productive and sustainable enough to "feed the world" or
      at least to do well on a commercial scale. John Seymour, a British farmer
      and self-reliance advocate of many decades experience says in one of his
      books that "no-dig" gardening is excellent, but its practitioners always
      keep it going by "stealing" somebody else's organic matter for mulch. For
      Seymour you have to double- and triple-dig and use a variety of deep-root
      accumulator plants to "mine" the mud and bring the nutrients up. He
      believes this is the way to sustainability.

      John seemed to be making the same point when he said that he has to import
      leaves from trees grown in soil fed by the Haber process to get enough mulch
      for his garden. So he is really living off the industrial technology that
      he is trying to transcend. I responded by saying that the indebtedness to
      imported material (fed by the Haber-process or not) can be reduced by
      growing more crops like buckwheat that return nitrogen to the soil and
      nitrogen fixers such as clover and bean or peas, as well as trees and shrubs
      that are perennial nitrogen fixers. I gave the example of commercial farmer
      Steve Groff, who has has greatly reduced the need for Haber-Process
      fertlizer on his large farm in Pennsylvania, by using a crop cover of vetch
      and rye. If Steve Groff were to add nitrogen-fixing trees, his need for
      artificial fertilizer would drop even more.

      But here we run into a storm of questions that have not been answered. If
      we adopt forest farming (or premaculture/forest-farming methods using
      canopies of trees and walls of shrubbery, including nitrogen-fixing ones,
      does the output decrease? In my limited experience, it does, partly because
      of the increased shade that these plants bring and partly because they seem
      to slow down the delivery of nutrients to the plants we are growing to eat.
      That is, the price we pay in approaching a nearly self-sustaining
      (non-Haber-process) system is less output, less produce. I would like to be
      proven wrong about this, but I suspect that just as the "slow food" movement
      in Europe requires the diner to have plenty of time to sit down and savor
      the taste of the food, the natural farming approach may require us to get
      used to slower and smaller yields than we get with green revolution methods.
      If someone can show that this is not so, I would welcome the demonstration.
      It may turn out that if we use natural methods to gr
      ow food, nature is very slow in complying with our wants.

      We cannot predict the future, and we cannot know what method (or methods) of
      farming will give the best balance between sustainability and feeding the
      world. I have long grown vegetables and some legumes hydroponically and
      aeroponically, and the output is greater than what I get from my natural
      garden. (Of course the direct input is greater too.) How sustainble
      hydroponics or aeroponics can eventually become is also a matter for
      speculation; for the present we cannot know. In a hydrogen/photovoltaic
      solar energy economy where clean energy is abundant, the "inputs" available
      to farming may change.

      For now, I, like Jamie would like to see how close commercial farms can come
      to being "natural" and still turn a profit.

      Bob Monie, southeast Louisiana



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    • Michael Vanecek
      Lurker here. No-till weed gardener. I would think determining the requirements - or better, the preferences of the plants we re attempting to cultivate and
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 3, 2003
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        Lurker here. No-till weed gardener.

        I would think determining the requirements - or better, the preferences
        of the plants we're attempting to cultivate and matching those with the
        area we desire to grow them would probably provide the best balance
        between quantity and quality and the highest chance at true sustainability.

        Coffee trees are shade lovers. Mine grow sans direct sunlight at all and
        they're still growing like weeds - organically and in containers. I also
        have chocolate trees - one growing with the coffee, and a couple growing
        in an east window. They too are growing with gusto. Coffee trees produce
        much less per tree in a sub-canopy jungle-integrated crop, however the
        trees are *much* less prone to disease and pest and the coffee
        ultimately is of far superior value and the surrounding land and
        flora/fauna are of much greater health. Some of the best coffee comes
        from tiny poor plantations that grow near wild with little more care
        than pruning and harvesting. Commercially mass-grown coffee produces
        much more coffee per tree in full intense sunlight, but the trees are
        weaker, require *much* more care and have to be replaced more often. In
        no way can these trees be truly sustainably cultivated under those
        conditions. Cacao too - they actually produce heavier crops in small
        mixed jungle-integrated plantations than they do in vast monocultures.
        Their pollinators prefer a mixed setting, and the trees do much better too.

        So, before thinking about feeding the world, I think much thought should
        be given to the preference of the plant and attempting to at least mimic
        that environment to achieve the best of sustainable growing in a mostly
        wild setting. No one setting is ideal for everything. Some plants prefer
        a heavily mixed setting while others prefer a more monoculture setting.
        Some prefer tons of light while others prefer dappled light. I'm sure
        much of this info is lost on the popular veggies we grow due to the
        generations of "traditions" that have been geared towards getting the
        most from a plant that it can produce, however some research and
        experimentation surely can return to us the knowledge of what the plants
        like. Knowing what they like and how they produce under those conditions
        would be a major step in determining how to arrange things so that we
        can indeed feed the world while still retaining a sustainable agrisystem
        with little external input and a very small footprint on the ecosystem.

        Of course, I'm totally new to the Fukuoka ideals and have yet to learn
        them all, so don't throw tomatoes at me just yet... :)

        Cheers,
        Mike

        Robert Monie wrote:
        > Hi John, Jamie, and all,
        >
        > John Jeavons' mail-order seed catalog at "Bountiful Gardens" regularly offers several ancient wheat varieties, including Early Stone Age Wheat (Einkhorn hornemanii); Stephens (Is this from Synergy Seeds?), "a soft white winter wheat with very large kernels"; two of Tim Peters' varieties, "SS791," "a light brown winter wheat ...in short awned heads that thresh easily," and "PRS 3628 Perennial Wheat,"with good resistance to lodging and diseases." Jeavons also has the Maris Widgeon "an old variety from England that was grown for its tall straw for thaching"--really an autumn wheat, and Black Emmer Wheat for "crafts and arrangements."
        >
        > Jamie, I have always said that we have the most to learn from successful commercial applications of Fukuoka's ideas. Anyone can grown a mixed, polyculture backyard garden if enough mulch is available. The question is, can this method be productive and sustainable enough to "feed the world" or at least to do well on a commercial scale. John Seymour, a British farmer and self-reliance advocate of many decades experience says in one of his books that "no-dig" gardening is excellent, but its practitioners always keep it going by "stealing" somebody else's organic matter for mulch. For Seymour you have to double- and triple-dig and use a variety of deep-root accumulator plants to "mine" the mud and bring the nutrients up. He believes this is the way to sustainability.
        >
        > John seemed to be making the same point when he said that he has to import leaves from trees grown in soil fed by the Haber process to get enough mulch for his garden. So he is really living off the industrial technology that he is trying to transcend. I responded by saying that the indebtedness to imported material (fed by the Haber-process or not) can be reduced by growing more crops like buckwheat that return nitrogen to the soil and nitrogen fixers such as clover and bean or peas, as well as trees and shrubs that are perennial nitrogen fixers. I gave the example of commercial farmer Steve Groff, who has has greatly reduced the need for Haber-Process fertlizer on his large farm in Pennsylvania, by using a crop cover of vetch and rye. If Steve Groff were to add nitrogen-fixing trees, his need for artificial fertilizer would drop even more.
        >
        > But here we run into a storm of questions that have not been answered. If we adopt forest farming (or premaculture/forest-farming methods using canopies of trees and walls of shrubbery, including nitrogen-fixing ones, does the output decrease? In my limited experience, it does, partly because of the increased shade that these plants bring and partly because they seem to slow down the delivery of nutrients to the plants we are growing to eat. That is, the price we pay in approaching a nearly self-sustaining (non-Haber-process) system is less output, less produce. I would like to be proven wrong about this, but I suspect that just as the "slow food" movement in Europe requires the diner to have plenty of time to sit down and savor the taste of the food, the natural farming approach may require us to get used to slower and smaller yields than we get with green revolution methods. If someone can show that this is not so, I would welcome the demonstration. It may turn out th
        at if we use natural methods to grow food, nature is very slow in complying with our wants.
        >
        > We cannot predict the future, and we cannot know what method (or methods) of farming will give the best balance between sustainability and feeding the world. I have long grown vegetables and some legumes hydroponically and aeroponically, and the output is greater than what I get from my natural garden. (Of course the direct input is greater too.) How sustainble hydroponics or aeroponics can eventually become is also a matter for speculation; for the present we cannot know. In a hydrogen/photovoltaic solar energy economy where clean energy is abundant, the "inputs" available to farming may change.
        >
        > For now, I, like Jamie would like to see how close commercial farms can come to being "natural" and still turn a profit.
        >
        > Bob Monie, southeast Louisiana
      • Michiyo Shibuya
        Hello, it s been a while since my last post. From my limited expereince and from what I have seen, natural farming seems to reduce the output, I mean, of
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 4, 2003
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          Hello,
          it's been a while since my last post.

          From my limited expereince and from what I have seen, natural farming seems
          to reduce the output,
          I mean, of vegetable in quantity.

          I have been too lazy to send Bob some web addresses of commercial natural
          farms,
          (I am really sorry Bob, I will do it as soon as I finish my garden work
          before the rain season.)
          but there exists. In my opinion, if any product catches consumers'
          attention, and if a company aims to make a profit,
          it may really not matter how much input, let's say, a vegetable requires. I
          think that natural farming could be done
          commercially if wanted.

          But the concept of natural farming contradicts with the commercial
          activity(making money),
          so isn't that one of big reason why we don't see many commercial
          natural farms?

          I started to think that vegetable and being a vegetarian(who eat vegetable)
          don't really stop hunger of the world.
          It is important to grow the vegetable in the semi-wild way, so that the
          vegetable keeps adjusting themselves to the environment,
          but it seems more important to learn to eat wild plants which we have
          forgotten how to eat.
          What I am saying is that most vegetable are not sustainable in all regions.

          Michiyo
        • jamie
          Hello Michael, no tomatoes coming from this direction! You re right to question Robert s concerns about yields being reduced on NF farms. Certainly individual
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 4, 2003
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            Hello Michael, no tomatoes coming from this direction! You're right to
            question Robert's concerns about yields being reduced on NF farms. Certainly
            individual crops grown as a monoculture will produce more than when mixed in
            a polyculture, but as permaculture has shown (definitively) across time a
            biodiverse system is far more productive taken as a totality of all
            harevestable material (comestible or otherwise). And this is still to say
            nothing of the greatly reduced inputs required or reduction in environmental
            pollution and degradation.

            But even permaculture has not yet learnt of the soil's autofertility and the
            possibility of true sustainability - In nature nothing goes to waste.

            Jamie
            Souscayrous

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Michael Vanecek [mailto:mike@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 7:50 PM
            To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Ancient winter wheat; Commercial
            potentialof Fukuoka


            Lurker here. No-till weed gardener.

            I would think determining the requirements - or better, the preferences
            of the plants we're attempting to cultivate and matching those with the
            area we desire to grow them would probably provide the best balance
            between quantity and quality and the highest chance at true sustainability.

            Coffee trees are shade lovers. Mine grow sans direct sunlight at all and
            they're still growing like weeds - organically and in containers. I also
            have chocolate trees - one growing with the coffee, and a couple growing
            in an east window. They too are growing with gusto. Coffee trees produce
            much less per tree in a sub-canopy jungle-integrated crop, however the
            trees are *much* less prone to disease and pest and the coffee
            ultimately is of far superior value and the surrounding land and
            flora/fauna are of much greater health. Some of the best coffee comes
            from tiny poor plantations that grow near wild with little more care
            than pruning and harvesting. Commercially mass-grown coffee produces
            much more coffee per tree in full intense sunlight, but the trees are
            weaker, require *much* more care and have to be replaced more often. In
            no way can these trees be truly sustainably cultivated under those
            conditions. Cacao too - they actually produce heavier crops in small
            mixed jungle-integrated plantations than they do in vast monocultures.
            Their pollinators prefer a mixed setting, and the trees do much better too.

            So, before thinking about feeding the world, I think much thought should
            be given to the preference of the plant and attempting to at least mimic
            that environment to achieve the best of sustainable growing in a mostly
            wild setting. No one setting is ideal for everything. Some plants prefer
            a heavily mixed setting while others prefer a more monoculture setting.
            Some prefer tons of light while others prefer dappled light. I'm sure
            much of this info is lost on the popular veggies we grow due to the
            generations of "traditions" that have been geared towards getting the
            most from a plant that it can produce, however some research and
            experimentation surely can return to us the knowledge of what the plants
            like. Knowing what they like and how they produce under those conditions
            would be a major step in determining how to arrange things so that we
            can indeed feed the world while still retaining a sustainable agrisystem
            with little external input and a very small footprint on the ecosystem.

            Of course, I'm totally new to the Fukuoka ideals and have yet to learn
            them all, so don't throw tomatoes at me just yet... :)

            Cheers,
            Mike

            Robert Monie wrote:
            > Hi John, Jamie, and all,
            >
            > John Jeavons' mail-order seed catalog at "Bountiful Gardens" regularly
            offers several ancient wheat varieties, including Early Stone Age Wheat
            (Einkhorn hornemanii); Stephens (Is this from Synergy Seeds?), "a soft white
            winter wheat with very large kernels"; two of Tim Peters' varieties,
            "SS791," "a light brown winter wheat ...in short awned heads that thresh
            easily," and "PRS 3628 Perennial Wheat,"with good resistance to lodging and
            diseases." Jeavons also has the Maris Widgeon "an old variety from England
            that was grown for its tall straw for thaching"--really an autumn wheat, and
            Black Emmer Wheat for "crafts and arrangements."
            >
            > Jamie, I have always said that we have the most to learn from successful
            commercial applications of Fukuoka's ideas. Anyone can grown a mixed,
            polyculture backyard garden if enough mulch is available. The question is,
            can this method be productive and sustainable enough to "feed the world" or
            at least to do well on a commercial scale. John Seymour, a British farmer
            and self-reliance advocate of many decades experience says in one of his
            books that "no-dig" gardening is excellent, but its practitioners always
            keep it going by "stealing" somebody else's organic matter for mulch. For
            Seymour you have to double- and triple-dig and use a variety of deep-root
            accumulator plants to "mine" the mud and bring the nutrients up. He
            believes this is the way to sustainability.
            >
            > John seemed to be making the same point when he said that he has to import
            leaves from trees grown in soil fed by the Haber process to get enough mulch
            for his garden. So he is really living off the industrial technology that
            he is trying to transcend. I responded by saying that the indebtedness to
            imported material (fed by the Haber-process or not) can be reduced by
            growing more crops like buckwheat that return nitrogen to the soil and
            nitrogen fixers such as clover and bean or peas, as well as trees and shrubs
            that are perennial nitrogen fixers. I gave the example of commercial farmer
            Steve Groff, who has has greatly reduced the need for Haber-Process
            fertlizer on his large farm in Pennsylvania, by using a crop cover of vetch
            and rye. If Steve Groff were to add nitrogen-fixing trees, his need for
            artificial fertilizer would drop even more.
            >
            > But here we run into a storm of questions that have not been answered. If
            we adopt forest farming (or premaculture/forest-farming methods using
            canopies of trees and walls of shrubbery, including nitrogen-fixing ones,
            does the output decrease? In my limited experience, it does, partly because
            of the increased shade that these plants bring and partly because they seem
            to slow down the delivery of nutrients to the plants we are growing to eat.
            That is, the price we pay in approaching a nearly self-sustaining
            (non-Haber-process) system is less output, less produce. I would like to be
            proven wrong about this, but I suspect that just as the "slow food" movement
            in Europe requires the diner to have plenty of time to sit down and savor
            the taste of the food, the natural farming approach may require us to get
            used to slower and smaller yields than we get with green revolution methods.
            If someone can show that this is not so, I would welcome the demonstration.
            It may turn out th
            at if we use natural methods to grow food, nature is very slow in complying
            with our wants.
            >
            > We cannot predict the future, and we cannot know what method (or methods)
            of farming will give the best balance between sustainability and feeding the
            world. I have long grown vegetables and some legumes hydroponically and
            aeroponically, and the output is greater than what I get from my natural
            garden. (Of course the direct input is greater too.) How sustainble
            hydroponics or aeroponics can eventually become is also a matter for
            speculation; for the present we cannot know. In a hydrogen/photovoltaic
            solar energy economy where clean energy is abundant, the "inputs" available
            to farming may change.
            >
            > For now, I, like Jamie would like to see how close commercial farms can
            come to being "natural" and still turn a profit.
            >
            > Bob Monie, southeast Louisiana



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          • jamie
            Hello Michiyo, good to hear from you again. You write: But the concept of natural farming contradicts with the commercial activity(making money), so isn t
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 4, 2003
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              Hello Michiyo, good to hear from you again.

              You write: "But the concept of natural farming contradicts with the
              commercial
              activity(making money), so isn't that one of big reason why we don't see
              many commercial
              natural farms?"

              I think that if moneymaking is the primary goal of farming then NF would not
              seem the most appropriate choice. However, I believe (and am hoping to
              discover) that by building a Natural Farm (garden) I will be able to make a
              profit.

              Except for seeds and the land itself (which itself was cheap because of its
              size and because it has been depleted across the years of viticulture), I
              have so far spent only euro15 on 3 old hand tools since I began a year and a
              half ago. Certainly I have put many hours of work in, but we have eaten well
              and have reaped a large amount of green manure and crop seeds. And as the
              soil organic matter increases and the quality and consistencey of the crops
              increases, we should have enough supplement that can be sold (rather than
              currently given away to friends).

              I undertsand Fukuoka made a living from his small farm (only an acre and a
              half of rice and about the same of citrus), supporting a family. We are only
              looking to make a little money to add to Anne's English teaching. The main
              reason for following NF is just for the sheer joy of it.

              The right crops in the right place at the right time...it is that simple but
              it takes time to discover what, where and when: But I'm enjoying the
              journey, despite the wild boar destroying 30-40% of the raised beds while I
              was away last week...


              Jamie
              Souscayrous






              I started to think that vegetable and being a vegetarian(who eat vegetable)
              don't really stop hunger of the world.
              It is important to grow the vegetable in the semi-wild way, so that the
              vegetable keeps adjusting themselves to the environment,
              but it seems more important to learn to eat wild plants which we have
              forgotten how to eat.
              What I am saying is that most vegetable are not sustainable in all regions.

              Michiyo



              To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



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            • Robert Monie
              Hi Michael, Aaron, Jamie, and Michiyo, There are crops that grow in the shade of the forest, but the staple foods (such as rice, wheat, oats, millet, corn,
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 4, 2003
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                Hi Michael, Aaron, Jamie, and Michiyo,

                There are crops that grow in the shade of the forest, but the staple foods (such as rice, wheat, oats, millet, corn, barley) that provide major amounts of calories and vitamins for the world's populations generally do not. Coffee and chocolate have their uses (applied to the skin, coffee is anticarcinogenic and chocolate contains as many antioxidants as green tea), but they aren't major foods in any culture; actually they are more like socially-sanctioned drugs (This is how, for example, Dr. Andrew Weil categorizes them).
                I agree that there is money to be made in growing coffee and chocolate, but this still leaves open the question of where (and how) the staple crops are to be grown. It also leaves open the question of what staple foods (and crops) ought to be, as Michiyo implies when she suggests we might want to cultivate (if that is the right word) more "wild" vegetables.

                About 11 years ago, when I was doing organic raised-bed gardening, I had a section in the yard that was heavily shaded by large banana trees. Some shade-tolerant plants like perilla and mint were doing fine there, so I thought I would try other plants. I recall planting many seeds I had bought from Evergreen Seeds (an excellent source for Asian vegetables). Over several seasons, I tried carrot, eggplant, asparagus beans, winged beans, mung, adzuki, Chinese cucumber, gai lan (Chinese kale), komatsuma, flowering chives, bok choy, choy sum, mizuna and mitsuba.

                Under the shade of the banana leaves, the carrots and eggplants never came up, the pak choy and choy sum were stunted and died, there was no sign of the cucumber or gai lan, a couple of sickly bean shoots limply dangled until they shrivelled up, the komatsuma made a brief appearance and then vanished almost overnight, the tomato seedlings stopped growing at about 6 inches and never bore fruit, and I was left with some chives and a nice crop of mitsuba.

                I saw then that there are two ways to respond to such a result: I can say "I won't grow the carrots, pak choy, choy sum, gai lan, beans, and komatsuma, but I will grow chives and mitsuba here" or I can say "let's cut the banana trees down so the other greens will grow."

                I repeated the experiment growing grains (mostly from KUSA foundation) under the banana tree but, out of an assortment of millet, barley, oats, rice, teff, wheat, corn, rye, and buckwheat, absolutely nothing came up. Again, the choice is to grow something other than grains or cut the banana trees down so the grains will grow.

                My response at the time was to dig up the banana trees, root and branch, and--as expected--most of the crops I wanted to grow actually came up when they were not shaded by the banana leaves.

                Was I right to uproot the banana trees for the sake of sun-loving plants or should I have tried chervil, basil, wild ginger, tarragon, sage, dandelion, arugula, lettuce, kale, beet greens, chickweed, strawberries, raspberry, some blueberries and other plants that might have proved more shade tolerant?


                Tim Peters said that we are always deciding which plants shall live and which shall die (with of course the permission of nature). Certainly we make these decisions based on our idea of what is good to eat.
                Our ancestors used "slash and burn" techniques in the forest to make a clearing so they could grow sun-loving crops. They did not pass on to us a strong tradition for growing and eating shade plants in the forest.

                There are pockets in the world, however, where forest farm traditions were passed on. Rob Miller, a raw food vegetarian (and performer with the world music group Prime Meridian) is willing to live on durians and other fruits and vegetables that don't need to be cooked. In his "Durian Adventures" he gives the following account:

                "Our most profound experiences were in a quiet village in southern Thailand. Located in a small verdant valley bordering virgin tropical rain forest, it is quite different [from] the rest of Thailand....A rather sage sign next to the river reads 'If there is no forest, there will be no water.'"

                "The locals encourage the forest to produce more fruit by planting a variety of fruit trees alongside many of the native trees. They collect more than 100 types of wild greens [100 sounds like a bit much, but I am quoting]and cut the undergrowth, leaving it as fertilizer, once or twice a year. They have been doing this for a few centuries, and the net result is a tropical fruit jungle that is a viable ecosystem. There are many insects, birds, and animals, and the soil is strong and healthy. They call their method suan som lom, variously translated as 'shade gardening' or 'mixed orchard.' This is decidedly not farming or totalitarian agriculture as commonly practiced today throughout the world. And it is superorganic too."

                Well, this Suan Som Lom shade gardening or mixed gardening in south Thailand certainly sounds more interesting than "pure food," and it probably doesn't give quack grass a chance to start either.

                Anyone wanting to read more of Rob Miller's adventures can go to google.com and seach for "Durian Adventure Tale."

                Rob and his wife make money by taking people on ecotrips throughout the world and feeding them raw vegan dishes (not everybody's cup of tea, but I might like it). I wonder if there is also a potential market for vacationing on sustainable farms, including forest farms (mini or maxi, ancient or three-years old) and natural farms?

                A difficulty in matching crops to ecosystems is that you also have to convince the natives to eat the crops. If the natives are used to buying sun-grown veggies from the American-style grocery, it may take some selling to get them to go back into the forest-farm woods like their ancestors did (even if the woods are only a block or two away)and eat the shade-grown veggies again. When American raw food vegans go into a traditional community and tell them to stop eating rice (which has to be cooked) and start eating raw stuff instead, there is potential for a culture clash. Even telling people who cook their wild greens (forest-grown or otherwise)may get uppity when advised to eat them raw.

                Bob Monie, 7 miles west of New Orleans, LA, still wondering if I should have let those banana trees stand.













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              • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
                ... seems ... the economic exchange of foods thru money is flawed as the value is on weight . THis doesn t say anything about the nutritional value of the food
                Message 7 of 10 , Jun 5, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  >
                  > From my limited experience and from what I have seen, natural farming
                  seems
                  > to reduce the output,
                  > I mean, of vegetable in quantity.

                  the economic exchange of foods thru money is flawed as the value is on
                  weight . THis doesn't say anything about the nutritional value of the food .
                  i have seen analytic comparaison of nutrients in wild greens ( allways
                  smaller than their domesticated forms ) with crops . amazingly way richer
                  for the same weight to the point of scaring away a multivitamin supplement.
                  Natural farming put values somewhere else than the market economy .
                  it is also completelly illusory to expect 2 or 3 % of the population to feed
                  decently the rest . Natural farming don't want to do that , the present
                  economic system want to even go farther in that direction .
                  and the competition is set up that way .
                  I have been a commercial farmer and i quit, disgusted by the whole
                  desapreciation of food resulting from the commercialisation of it ( measured
                  in money).
                  One of the possible outcome of natural farming is also to makes foods
                  freelly abondant everywhere , not the aim of the market
                  who want to make foods, despite the appearances, a rarity produced by
                  specialists in special places .
                  i allways been amazed of the potential to produce abondant foods in cities
                  by replacing ornementals trees and bushes planted there , with edibles
                  trees and bushes .
                  not compatible with the aim of commerce .

                  jean-claude
                • Rishi Miranhshah
                  Robert: Banana trees are gone, and i m not sure the suggestion i m making is viable in your climate/soil, still... i remember my mother growing turmeric
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jun 6, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Robert:
                    Banana trees are gone, and i'm not sure the suggestion i'm making is viable
                    in your climate/soil, still...
                    i remember my mother growing turmeric successfully in shade (grapes,
                    mango...), and possibly ginger too

                    Sorry to have further complicating your dilemma about cutting banana trees,
                    Rishi



                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Robert Monie [mailto:bobm20001@...]
                    Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 8:52 AM
                    To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Ancient winter wheat; Commercial potential of
                    Fukuoka


                    Hi Michael, Aaron, Jamie, and Michiyo,

                    There are crops that grow in the shade of the forest, but the staple foods
                    (such as rice, wheat, oats, millet, corn, barley) that provide major amounts
                    of calories and vitamins for the world's populations generally do not.
                    Coffee and chocolate have their uses (applied to the skin, coffee is
                    anticarcinogenic and chocolate contains as many antioxidants as green tea),
                    but they aren't major foods in any culture; actually they are more like
                    socially-sanctioned drugs (This is how, for example, Dr. Andrew Weil
                    categorizes them).
                    I agree that there is money to be made in growing coffee and chocolate, but
                    this still leaves open the question of where (and how) the staple crops are
                    to be grown. It also leaves open the question of what staple foods (and
                    crops) ought to be, as Michiyo implies when she suggests we might want to
                    cultivate (if that is the right word) more "wild" vegetables.

                    About 11 years ago, when I was doing organic raised-bed gardening, I had a
                    section in the yard that was heavily shaded by large banana trees. Some
                    shade-tolerant plants like perilla and mint were doing fine there, so I
                    thought I would try other plants. I recall planting many seeds I had bought
                    from Evergreen Seeds (an excellent source for Asian vegetables). Over
                    several seasons, I tried carrot, eggplant, asparagus beans, winged beans,
                    mung, adzuki, Chinese cucumber, gai lan (Chinese kale), komatsuma, flowering
                    chives, bok choy, choy sum, mizuna and mitsuba.

                    Under the shade of the banana leaves, the carrots and eggplants never came
                    up, the pak choy and choy sum were stunted and died, there was no sign of
                    the cucumber or gai lan, a couple of sickly bean shoots limply dangled until
                    they shrivelled up, the komatsuma made a brief appearance and then vanished
                    almost overnight, the tomato seedlings stopped growing at about 6 inches and
                    never bore fruit, and I was left with some chives and a nice crop of
                    mitsuba.

                    I saw then that there are two ways to respond to such a result: I can say "I
                    won't grow the carrots, pak choy, choy sum, gai lan, beans, and komatsuma,
                    but I will grow chives and mitsuba here" or I can say "let's cut the banana
                    trees down so the other greens will grow."

                    I repeated the experiment growing grains (mostly from KUSA foundation) under
                    the banana tree but, out of an assortment of millet, barley, oats, rice,
                    teff, wheat, corn, rye, and buckwheat, absolutely nothing came up. Again,
                    the choice is to grow something other than grains or cut the banana trees
                    down so the grains will grow.

                    My response at the time was to dig up the banana trees, root and branch,
                    and--as expected--most of the crops I wanted to grow actually came up when
                    they were not shaded by the banana leaves.

                    Was I right to uproot the banana trees for the sake of sun-loving plants or
                    should I have tried chervil, basil, wild ginger, tarragon, sage, dandelion,
                    arugula, lettuce, kale, beet greens, chickweed, strawberries, raspberry,
                    some blueberries and other plants that might have proved more shade
                    tolerant?


                    Tim Peters said that we are always deciding which plants shall live and
                    which shall die (with of course the permission of nature). Certainly we make
                    these decisions based on our idea of what is good to eat.
                    Our ancestors used "slash and burn" techniques in the forest to make a
                    clearing so they could grow sun-loving crops. They did not pass on to us a
                    strong tradition for growing and eating shade plants in the forest.

                    There are pockets in the world, however, where forest farm traditions were
                    passed on. Rob Miller, a raw food vegetarian (and performer with the world
                    music group Prime Meridian) is willing to live on durians and other fruits
                    and vegetables that don't need to be cooked. In his "Durian Adventures" he
                    gives the following account:

                    "Our most profound experiences were in a quiet village in southern Thailand.
                    Located in a small verdant valley bordering virgin tropical rain forest, it
                    is quite different [from] the rest of Thailand....A rather sage sign next to
                    the river reads 'If there is no forest, there will be no water.'"

                    "The locals encourage the forest to produce more fruit by planting a variety
                    of fruit trees alongside many of the native trees. They collect more than
                    100 types of wild greens [100 sounds like a bit much, but I am quoting]and
                    cut the undergrowth, leaving it as fertilizer, once or twice a year. They
                    have been doing this for a few centuries, and the net result is a tropical
                    fruit jungle that is a viable ecosystem. There are many insects, birds, and
                    animals, and the soil is strong and healthy. They call their method suan som
                    lom, variously translated as 'shade gardening' or 'mixed orchard.' This is
                    decidedly not farming or totalitarian agriculture as commonly practiced
                    today throughout the world. And it is superorganic too."

                    Well, this Suan Som Lom shade gardening or mixed gardening in south Thailand
                    certainly sounds more interesting than "pure food," and it probably doesn't
                    give quack grass a chance to start either.

                    Anyone wanting to read more of Rob Miller's adventures can go to google.com
                    and seach for "Durian Adventure Tale."

                    Rob and his wife make money by taking people on ecotrips throughout the
                    world and feeding them raw vegan dishes (not everybody's cup of tea, but I
                    might like it). I wonder if there is also a potential market for vacationing
                    on sustainable farms, including forest farms (mini or maxi, ancient or
                    three-years old) and natural farms?

                    A difficulty in matching crops to ecosystems is that you also have to
                    convince the natives to eat the crops. If the natives are used to buying
                    sun-grown veggies from the American-style grocery, it may take some selling
                    to get them to go back into the forest-farm woods like their ancestors did
                    (even if the woods are only a block or two away)and eat the shade-grown
                    veggies again. When American raw food vegans go into a traditional community
                    and tell them to stop eating rice (which has to be cooked) and start eating
                    raw stuff instead, there is potential for a culture clash. Even telling
                    people who cook their wild greens (forest-grown or otherwise)may get uppity
                    when advised to eat them raw.

                    Bob Monie, 7 miles west of New Orleans, LA, still wondering if I should have
                    let those banana trees stand.













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                  • Robert Monie
                    Hi Rishi, If your suggestion is a complication, at least it is a tasty one. Yum-Yum, what a delectable banana guild. Makes me want to plant another banana
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jun 7, 2003
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Hi Rishi,

                      If your suggestion is a "complication," at least it is a tasty one. Yum-Yum, what a delectable banana guild. Makes me want to plant another banana tree. I've never tried grapes down here in the Mississippi mud; tumeric likes it here, though, and the Vietnamese somehow manage to grow mangos.

                      Too bad guilds like this "tropical trio" banana one are just memories for most of us. I think we need to get back into the guild-making business before we forget how. Maybe we could us a bulletin board just to post plant guilds on. We could form an international guild (organization) of plant guilders (companion planters).

                      Bob Monie, S.E. Louisiana

                      Rishi Miranhshah <whentheshoefits@...> wrote:
                      Robert:
                      Banana trees are gone, and i'm not sure the suggestion i'm making is viable
                      in your climate/soil, still...
                      i remember my mother growing turmeric successfully in shade (grapes,
                      mango...), and possibly ginger too

                      Sorry to have further complicating your dilemma about cutting banana trees,
                      Rishi



                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Robert Monie [mailto:bobm20001@...]
                      Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 8:52 AM
                      To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Ancient winter wheat; Commercial potential of
                      Fukuoka


                      Hi Michael, Aaron, Jamie, and Michiyo,

                      There are crops that grow in the shade of the forest, but the staple foods
                      (such as rice, wheat, oats, millet, corn, barley) that provide major amounts
                      of calories and vitamins for the world's populations generally do not.
                      Coffee and chocolate have their uses (applied to the skin, coffee is
                      anticarcinogenic and chocolate contains as many antioxidants as green tea),
                      but they aren't major foods in any culture; actually they are more like
                      socially-sanctioned drugs (This is how, for example, Dr. Andrew Weil
                      categorizes them).
                      I agree that there is money to be made in growing coffee and chocolate, but
                      this still leaves open the question of where (and how) the staple crops are
                      to be grown. It also leaves open the question of what staple foods (and
                      crops) ought to be, as Michiyo implies when she suggests we might want to
                      cultivate (if that is the right word) more "wild" vegetables.

                      About 11 years ago, when I was doing organic raised-bed gardening, I had a
                      section in the yard that was heavily shaded by large banana trees. Some
                      shade-tolerant plants like perilla and mint were doing fine there, so I
                      thought I would try other plants. I recall planting many seeds I had bought
                      from Evergreen Seeds (an excellent source for Asian vegetables). Over
                      several seasons, I tried carrot, eggplant, asparagus beans, winged beans,
                      mung, adzuki, Chinese cucumber, gai lan (Chinese kale), komatsuma, flowering
                      chives, bok choy, choy sum, mizuna and mitsuba.

                      Under the shade of the banana leaves, the carrots and eggplants never came
                      up, the pak choy and choy sum were stunted and died, there was no sign of
                      the cucumber or gai lan, a couple of sickly bean shoots limply dangled until
                      they shrivelled up, the komatsuma made a brief appearance and then vanished
                      almost overnight, the tomato seedlings stopped growing at about 6 inches and
                      never bore fruit, and I was left with some chives and a nice crop of
                      mitsuba.

                      I saw then that there are two ways to respond to such a result: I can say "I
                      won't grow the carrots, pak choy, choy sum, gai lan, beans, and komatsuma,
                      but I will grow chives and mitsuba here" or I can say "let's cut the banana
                      trees down so the other greens will grow."

                      I repeated the experiment growing grains (mostly from KUSA foundation) under
                      the banana tree but, out of an assortment of millet, barley, oats, rice,
                      teff, wheat, corn, rye, and buckwheat, absolutely nothing came up. Again,
                      the choice is to grow something other than grains or cut the banana trees
                      down so the grains will grow.

                      My response at the time was to dig up the banana trees, root and branch,
                      and--as expected--most of the crops I wanted to grow actually came up when
                      they were not shaded by the banana leaves.

                      Was I right to uproot the banana trees for the sake of sun-loving plants or
                      should I have tried chervil, basil, wild ginger, tarragon, sage, dandelion,
                      arugula, lettuce, kale, beet greens, chickweed, strawberries, raspberry,
                      some blueberries and other plants that might have proved more shade
                      tolerant?


                      Tim Peters said that we are always deciding which plants shall live and
                      which shall die (with of course the permission of nature). Certainly we make
                      these decisions based on our idea of what is good to eat.
                      Our ancestors used "slash and burn" techniques in the forest to make a
                      clearing so they could grow sun-loving crops. They did not pass on to us a
                      strong tradition for growing and eating shade plants in the forest.

                      There are pockets in the world, however, where forest farm traditions were
                      passed on. Rob Miller, a raw food vegetarian (and performer with the world
                      music group Prime Meridian) is willing to live on durians and other fruits
                      and vegetables that don't need to be cooked. In his "Durian Adventures" he
                      gives the following account:

                      "Our most profound experiences were in a quiet village in southern Thailand.
                      Located in a small verdant valley bordering virgin tropical rain forest, it
                      is quite different [from] the rest of Thailand....A rather sage sign next to
                      the river reads 'If there is no forest, there will be no water.'"

                      "The locals encourage the forest to produce more fruit by planting a variety
                      of fruit trees alongside many of the native trees. They collect more than
                      100 types of wild greens [100 sounds like a bit much, but I am quoting]and
                      cut the undergrowth, leaving it as fertilizer, once or twice a year. They
                      have been doing this for a few centuries, and the net result is a tropical
                      fruit jungle that is a viable ecosystem. There are many insects, birds, and
                      animals, and the soil is strong and healthy. They call their method suan som
                      lom, variously translated as 'shade gardening' or 'mixed orchard.' This is
                      decidedly not farming or totalitarian agriculture as commonly practiced
                      today throughout the world. And it is superorganic too."

                      Well, this Suan Som Lom shade gardening or mixed gardening in south Thailand
                      certainly sounds more interesting than "pure food," and it probably doesn't
                      give quack grass a chance to start either.

                      Anyone wanting to read more of Rob Miller's adventures can go to google.com
                      and seach for "Durian Adventure Tale."

                      Rob and his wife make money by taking people on ecotrips throughout the
                      world and feeding them raw vegan dishes (not everybody's cup of tea, but I
                      might like it). I wonder if there is also a potential market for vacationing
                      on sustainable farms, including forest farms (mini or maxi, ancient or
                      three-years old) and natural farms?

                      A difficulty in matching crops to ecosystems is that you also have to
                      convince the natives to eat the crops. If the natives are used to buying
                      sun-grown veggies from the American-style grocery, it may take some selling
                      to get them to go back into the forest-farm woods like their ancestors did
                      (even if the woods are only a block or two away)and eat the shade-grown
                      veggies again. When American raw food vegans go into a traditional community
                      and tell them to stop eating rice (which has to be cooked) and start eating
                      raw stuff instead, there is potential for a culture clash. Even telling
                      people who cook their wild greens (forest-grown or otherwise)may get uppity
                      when advised to eat them raw.

                      Bob Monie, 7 miles west of New Orleans, LA, still wondering if I should have
                      let those banana trees stand.













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                      >



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