>>...very important thing in common with Fukuoka (who, BTW, isn't the only
>>advocate of natural farming and gardening, just one of the
>>most-published): he takes a scientific approach grounded in
>>experience. Remember that Fukuoka spent 35 YEARS polishing up his "do
>>nothing" technique. And even then, when he visited here in 1986, he
>said it was still a work-in-progress.
>Which other advocates of natural farming do you consider important?
Thanks for asking. Honestly, I don't read much anymore about this
subject--instead I look to my teachers in life for more light,
whether or not published.
First, I will note that "natural farming" has, for me, both an inner
and an outer meaning. If the outer lessons have any real value, they
show us how to take care of the "soil" in which our lives grow. My
teacher Vera Corda, who left this world in 2002, was a lifelong
gardener and raised lovely flowers into her eighties--but it was her
guidance about the relationship between soil and soul that is the
heritage left today. Soul is ageless, timeless, part of a continuum
that includes both our ancestors and our descendants in addition to
ourselves. In the same way, soil includes all that has accumulated in
the present time of our gardening/farming, but mostly that which
accumulated through eternity as the rocks, insects, plants, and
animals slowly broke down into particles processible by earthworms,
bacteria, mycorrhizae. So what our food grows in contains tiny bits
of countless lives that came before us. Natural farming, then,
includes this understanding and the greatest respect for all beings
past, present, and future. This understanding instructs us how to
care for the soil, including whether or not to till; and if we do,
when to till, by what means, how deeply, etc.
In terms of technique, I look to Tan Cahil for the original insight
into naturalizing food, flower, and herbal species when we gardened
together 34 years ago. Then I look to the late Lucy Hupp who turned a
dry California hillside into an oasis of diversity. And then to
Albert Jones who I've mentioned before, who naturalized an abundance
of annual and perennial food plants into a dry wash in Eastern
Washington State (USA), using just one springtime cultivation to
renew the cycle of germination/fruition. And then he 'composted
himself' at age 91 on a summer's day, reclining amidst the self-sown
carrots, cukes and cabbages until he finally slept in this world and
awoke in the next world.
Each of these has been published in some way--a book or two,
newspaper garden columns, whatever--but it was their personal
presence and the way they live(d) their lives that I consider to be
guideposts in natural farming.
Again, thanks for asking.
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