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

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  • 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 1 of 10 , Jun 4, 2003
      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 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 2 of 10 , Jun 4, 2003
        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



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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 3 of 10 , Jun 4, 2003
          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 4 of 10 , Jun 5, 2003
            >
            > 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 5 of 10 , Jun 6, 2003
              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 6 of 10 , Jun 7, 2003
                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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