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

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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 1 of 10 , Jun 4 8:51 AM
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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 2 of 10 , Jun 5 1:25 AM
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        >
        > 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 3 of 10 , Jun 6 9:04 PM
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          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 4 of 10 , Jun 7 5:35 AM
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            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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