This is a very interesting discussion. Thank you Jean Claude and Larry, Gloria and others for your probing thoughts, ideas and opinions. I have been questioning myself on all these issues for some time. Something recently I've been thinking about is how agricultural practices developed pre-industrial era. I realized in my research that human beings have practiced some form of cultivation and domestication of plants and animals throughout recorded history in every culture of the earth as far back as 30,000 years. Even particular species of animals have demonstrated a form of cultivation in reference to their preferred diets. I think it is important to consider that we human beings are as much a part of a landscape/ecosystem as anything else that thrives within it. Where I live for example (south central Kentucky) Native American tribes routinely burned vast stretches of woodlands in order to attract grazing animals. This is just one example, but is an example of one species (humans) impact and participation within an ecosystem.
I also found in researching the diets of different indigenous cultures, that it was common practice among many, to suppress the growth of certain species of plants in various ways, in order to optimize the growth of others. They also practiced a form of wild crafting by transplanting certain valued herbs and plants into areas where they were not found. Of course all these things were in line with the ecosystems of which they were also members. In other words, they didn't plant anything that was not native to a particular area. Many indigenous cultures were quite sophisticated and knowledgeable. Several cultures as far back as 50 centuries ago practiced hand pollination, cross pollination, grafting and development of domesticated varieties of vegetables.
I think it is important not to grossly objectify Nature and ourselves as being separate. We are Nature, are we not? Yes, industrialized agriculture is a failure and must stop or the world will die. However, I think it is something to consider that Fukuoka's practice is not a "one size fits all" practice. I think much of his philosophy and principles are wise and universal in their abstract form, but I don't think it is particularly wise to copy another technique of cultivation without considering the specific conditions within a specific place in which you are a member. We must eat and feed ourselves and others, clothe ourselves, shelter ourselves from excessive cold or heat and care for each other. How we do that sustainably can be as diverse as the natural world itself. I think the challenge of our species at this juncture of our civilizations is to return to being intimately connected to the life of whatever space/ecosystem we inhabit. Most of the modern world do not see themselves as intrinsic participants of their local habitats, but as observers. Being disconnected observers within our habitats has led to a relationship with what we observe as something to be hoarded, exploited and therefore abused. This is the essential value system of industrialized agriculture and what developed it. Ironically, it is also our ability to observe that will save us from our continuing dysfunction.
Peace, from a beautiful frosty morning in KY
Andrew Fister Wandafar Sanctuary, Glasgow, KY
-- "Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry" <instinct@...
> I suspect that if you asked ten people on this list what their idea of
> natural farming is you would get twelve different answers. I didn't
> what I meant by "successful" because of that. As to "method", well,
> Fukuoka's book "The Natural Way of Farming" is an in-depth description and
> explanation of how he ran a commercial (significant profit-producing) farm
> and orchard. I think it's fair to call it his "method" as he himself uses
> that term to describe his farming practices.
he only sold citrus as far as i know , the rice and winter grain was for his
familly and the vegetables to be harvested by his helpers . he took him many
years to mature his production . I am pretty sure also that he advocate a
global return to self responsability in food production from the whole
population and that he see most of the other works for the most part ,as
useless . Natural farming can't be supporting the industrialisation of the
means of living .it is meant to support a self reliant sustenance life style
> Your approach to natural farming is certainly valid and probably shared by
> many on this list. Stopping desertification and minimizing the negative
> impact chemical farming has on the earth are both goals of Fukuoka.
i will add the destructive impact of traditionnal organic farming based on
tilling the land ( we have history of farming all over the world to learn
about this negative impact )
> something that often seems to get lost, overlooked, or forgotten is that
> Fukuoka was a commercial farmer. Commercial in the sense of operating a
> in a way that would produce enough income to support him and his family in
> reasonably dignified way. His concerns were focused on developing a
> method that would produce yields comparable to those produced by chemical
> agriculture but without the negative impacts of chemical agriculture.
and without the negative impact of tilling the land
> I think it is certainly valid to try applying Fukuoka's ideas and methods
> home gardens and personal quests for living in harmony with nature, but
> Fukuoka says it can be done to produce the equivalent of chemical
> agriculture's yields. I'd like to find out if that is indeed true. So far
> the only large-scale example I know of was Fukuoka's own farm, which no
> longer uses his methods. Emilia Hazelip's much smaller scale "market
> gardens" were successful, but they were also a departure from, or
> of, Fukuoka's methods.
there is also exemples of succefull ( in your definition ) In india and
other asian countries , now they don't publisize it because it is a way of
life in those countries .i also saw traditional forest farming in mexico and
know it exist also in thailand .
at this point in time of sophistication of exploitation of the farming
social classe , not that many farmers , even industrial ones are making an
income unless they have hundred acres to farm ( in the west ) , exploit
ressources of many cheap laborers and cheap grains , or have a very simple
life style .I don't know anybody crazy enough to plant a natural farm on
hundred of acres like it will be needed in the west to support 98 percent of
the population who don't farm there.
i used to be a commercial farmer trying to sustain my familly while
practicing natural farming ,i might have succeed on 30 acres after many
years of free labor but without giving the care needed by my children .
I quit trying to feed customers accustomed to be pampered by a huge
agrobusiness . their taste don't allow them for sure to swallow the
semiwild vegetables that masanobu was producing in quantity .
> Most people, perhaps 90 percent of earth's population, do not have the
> available to grow all or most of what they eat, and are therefore
> on commercial agriculture. Currently that means chemical agriculture. If
> have the desire to change that significantly then we need to develop or
> commercially viable operations that use Fukuoka's methods (or at least
> close variation of them). That was what I was looking for in my request.
I don't think so , we need to downsize drastically the number of useless
workers paid to produce uselesss things and give useless services ( mostly
there to fix the unsatisfactions , and damages consequencial to unatural
life styles) and for them to realise how much better they will be to stop
being infantilised slaves to become fully self nurturing adults .
we need peoples to get involved in the production of foods again and takes
over their land that have been stolen from them . it is a matter of time for
this to happen , once the unatural structures of this civilisation will
become too costly to maintain and will collapsed .( as all the other
civilisations before did) .
Einstein told us something of value ; to not try to resolve the problems
with the same thinking that created them .
commercial farming have been instituted to allow a very small rich class to
exploit the majority. commercial anything now have the same purpose .
i wish we will mature from this devastating money economy to a natural
economy as it works in our natural farms or ecosystems . the tree give its
fruit without caring how much manure it will get in return .
everytime we put money value on ressources or means to fulfill needs ,
paradoxally we makes those scarce and difficult to access .
that is why
masanobu was selling its mandarins cheaper than the commercial ones :to
change that .
our task as natural humans is to establish edible ecosytems so abondant
that it will be impossible to find customers for them .It will takes a while
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