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Re: Mediterranean Natural Agriculture

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  • garden03048
    ... wrote ... nothing is ... that ... technique intent ... present to ... that ... unmoving ... realised. The ... (although ... ie the ...
    Message 1 of 12 , Dec 4, 2005
      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "souscayrous"
      <souscayrous@t...> wrote
      >
      > You write also, "In the tradition of Japanese Buddhism, doing
      nothing is
      > doing something after all. But what?"
      > From my understanding, from a Zen perspective, the understanding is
      that
      > there is simply nothing for us to do because any method or
      technique intent
      > upon achieving some particular goal will always maintain the
      present to
      > future, cause to effect dualism that NF attempts to escape. Goal
      > directed behaviour of whatever type projects a hope into the future
      that
      > sacrifices the present and therefore loses the now, which is the
      unmoving
      > point and the only point from which Natural Farming can be
      realised. The
      > crucial insight of NF is that there is absolutely nothing to do
      (although
      > this is only fully realised through embodiment [bodying forth],
      ie 'the
      > work' of growing of crops within natural agriculture). This real-
      isation
      > (making real and not just another hopeful daydream) can only come
      from the
      > personal revelation that only now can I real-ise that I am already
      what I
      > seek. Since it is always now, the possibility is always there, but
      that
      > possibility becomes real-ised only when causal, time-bound, goal-
      directed
      > ways of thinking and acting disappear to reveal what I have always
      been: a
      > formless, qualityless mind which is immutable because it is
      nothing, which
      > is
      > free because it is not going anywhere, and which does not need to go
      > anywhere because it lacks nothing. NF is therefore not only what
      needs to be
      > done; 'the work', 'do nothing', but its practice is itself the real-
      isation.
      > To do nothing is gelassenheit, letting-beings-be and this is not
      something
      > that only needs be accomplished on a farm but anywhere where the
      person
      > remains connected in an essential way with the earth. However, if
      there is
      > nothing to do, then all we need do is live and for that we need
      water, food
      > and shelter. The suggestion would therefore be that NF will help us
      achieve
      > the regreening of the world and the production of food after having
      handed
      > over the work to nature leaving us only our lives which can then
      become
      > play.
      >
      > I hope this helps give a sense of what I believe Fukuoka's work can
      give us
      > as we try to develop a natural agriculture for the Mediterranean.
      >
      > Jamie
      > Souscayrous
      >

      jamie,

      forgive me if I missed something, but your argument seems internally
      incoherent. You seem to deny causality and looking to the future,
      then you admit our need for food and drink and look forward
      to 'play'. Food and drink seem to enjoy causality since they
      presumably satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst. Correct me if I
      am wrong.



      anthony, NH zone 5
    • Steve Gage
      Anthony, Dieter, et al., We seem to be going round and round. And I seem to agree with everyone, which can t possibly be right :-) I live in NH, USA, (hi
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 4, 2005
        Anthony, Dieter, et al.,

        We seem to be going round and round. And I seem to agree with everyone,
        which can't possibly be right :-)

        I live in NH, USA, (hi Anthony!) which is not southern Japan. So far,
        I've established that I don't have to till, I don't have to prepare
        compost, and I don't need chemicals of any kind. But, I do plant seeds,
        and I do use a cold frame to start things, and then transplant them. I
        could not possibly have tomatoes, cucumbers, and some other crops
        without doing so. Is this Fukuoka Farming? Are tomatoes not "supposed"
        to be grown here? I do not randomly scatter seeds and see what comes up.

        For that matter, are people not "supposed" to live here? Now we get into
        "what's really natural?", and that gives me a headache.

        Sometimes, natural farming requires a leap of faith: I didn't water my
        garden last Summer, which was a gamble for me, because we get some
        pretty hot/dry spells. No problem! But I have a fairly thick mulch, and
        that makes all the difference I guess. But that thick mulch was largely
        spent hay from my horse and sheep, i.e., imported. Hmmm.... MF himself
        did some flooding of his fields, so irrigation, per se, is not outside
        the bounds of Fukuoka Farming.

        When MF talks about cutting down the existing forest, and burying the
        the resultant wood in trenches as a way towards establishing an orchard,
        well, that doesn't seem very "do nothing" to me. It seems to me hugely
        interventionist, and when reading "The Natural Way of Farming", I always
        am puzzled when I come across this.

        Some of us here have spoken of various drainage "problems" on their
        land, with ideas of how to deal with it that seem fairly "do something". So?

        The name of this list is fukuoka_farming, which means something, but
        what? Do we all agree on "no tilling, no weeding, no pesticides, no
        fertilizers"? (OK, I'll admit it - I do pull some weeds from time to
        time, mostly witch grass.)

        I guess my point is, is there a line that we can draw as to what
        constitutes "Fukuoka Farming", or "Natural Farming"? Or is it more of an
        attitude that we bring to our land. Are our compromises dictated by our
        circumstances, or are we just afraid to try all-out natural farming?

        These are some of the things that I think about while reading all your
        fine posts here. I know there are lots of strong feelings about where
        that line should be drawn. I tend to think that these are early days,
        and we're all learning... on our own land, and from each other.

        All best,

        - Steve




        garden03048 wrote:
        > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "souscayrous"
        > <souscayrous@t...> wrote
        >
        >> You write also, "In the tradition of Japanese Buddhism, doing
        >>
        > nothing is
        >
        >> doing something after all. But what?"
        >> From my understanding, from a Zen perspective, the understanding is
        >>
        > that
        >
        >> there is simply nothing for us to do because any method or
        >>
        > technique intent
        >
        >> upon achieving some particular goal will always maintain the
        >>
        > present to
        >
        >> future, cause to effect dualism that NF attempts to escape. Goal
        >> directed behaviour of whatever type projects a hope into the future
        >>
        > that
        >
        >> sacrifices the present and therefore loses the now, which is the
        >>
        > unmoving
        >
        >> point and the only point from which Natural Farming can be
        >>
        > realised. The
        >
        >> crucial insight of NF is that there is absolutely nothing to do
        >>
        > (although
        >
        >> this is only fully realised through embodiment [bodying forth],
        >>
        > ie 'the
        >
        >> work' of growing of crops within natural agriculture). This real-
        >>
        > isation
        >
        >> (making real and not just another hopeful daydream) can only come
        >>
        > from the
        >
        >> personal revelation that only now can I real-ise that I am already
        >>
        > what I
        >
        >> seek. Since it is always now, the possibility is always there, but
        >>
        > that
        >
        >> possibility becomes real-ised only when causal, time-bound, goal-
        >>
        > directed
        >
        >> ways of thinking and acting disappear to reveal what I have always
        >>
        > been: a
        >
        >> formless, qualityless mind which is immutable because it is
        >>
        > nothing, which
        >
        >> is
        >> free because it is not going anywhere, and which does not need to go
        >> anywhere because it lacks nothing. NF is therefore not only what
        >>
        > needs to be
        >
        >> done; 'the work', 'do nothing', but its practice is itself the real-
        >>
        > isation.
        >
        >> To do nothing is gelassenheit, letting-beings-be and this is not
        >>
        > something
        >
        >> that only needs be accomplished on a farm but anywhere where the
        >>
        > person
        >
        >> remains connected in an essential way with the earth. However, if
        >>
        > there is
        >
        >> nothing to do, then all we need do is live and for that we need
        >>
        > water, food
        >
        >> and shelter. The suggestion would therefore be that NF will help us
        >>
        > achieve
        >
        >> the regreening of the world and the production of food after having
        >>
        > handed
        >
        >> over the work to nature leaving us only our lives which can then
        >>
        > become
        >
        >> play.
        >>
        >> I hope this helps give a sense of what I believe Fukuoka's work can
        >>
        > give us
        >
        >> as we try to develop a natural agriculture for the Mediterranean.
        >>
        >> Jamie
        >> Souscayrous
        >>
        >>
        >
        > jamie,
        >
        > forgive me if I missed something, but your argument seems internally
        > incoherent. You seem to deny causality and looking to the future,
        > then you admit our need for food and drink and look forward
        > to 'play'. Food and drink seem to enjoy causality since they
        > presumably satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst. Correct me if I
        > am wrong.
        >
        >
        >
        > anthony, NH zone 5
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • souscayrous
        Hello Anthony, I have a tendency to want to say everything in a single post and as your response suggests, I end up communicating nothing (but not the nothing
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 5, 2005
          Hello Anthony, I have a tendency to want to say everything in a single post
          and as your response suggests, I end up communicating nothing (but not the
          nothing I would communicate!).
          This would hardly be the forum for a debate about debating or the logic of
          logic (although I'd like to suggest both Nagarjuna and Nietzsche for such
          discussion), therefore, let me simply say as to my incoherence, it would
          depend upon where you begin.
          Clearly, if we farm with the intention of growing food we are following goal
          directed behaviour, just as we would be if we were farming for our financial
          livelihood. What might not be so obvious is this is also true if we farm
          with the intention of restoring nature!
          But I was trying to suggest that we farm naturally by 'do-nothing'. But this
          'do-nothing' is not necessarily to do nothing. Somewhere in that last
          sentence is the answer to your question.
          Perhaps these words of Meister Eckhart can also suggest an answer: "Do all
          you do, acting from the core of your soul, without a single "Why". Thus, if
          you ask a genuine person, that is, one who acts from his heart: "Why are you
          doing that?" - He will reply in the only possible way: "I do it because I do
          it!" [The just man] wants nothing, seeks nothing, and has no reason for
          doing anything. As God, having no motives, acts without them, so the just
          man acts without motives. As life lives on for its own sake, needing no
          reason for being, so the just man has no reason for doing what he does."
          My suggestion would be that when we act in such a way there is no longer any
          causality and the world drops away to reveal the earth in its unbounded
          suchness, and, as another western mystic expresses it (Jakob Boehme) when
          speaking of God's life he refers to it as "play" and Adam ought to have been
          content to play with nature in Paradise. Adam fell when this play became
          serious business, which is when nature was made an end instead of a means.
          I am not a Christian and I would have a problem acknowledging anything that
          could meaningfully be called God, although Eckhart's idea of godhead is not
          other than a certain Zen understanding (or Derridean for that matter). But I
          use both Eckhart and Boehme here to suggest that it is no necessarily
          eastern conception that underpins Fukuoka's NF, but an attitude that has
          been in every culture always, although quieter in some than others.
          The answer to your question would seem to lie somewhere in the following:
          the actions of natural farming are not other than the actions of one who has
          lost the sense of self and can therefore act nondualistically and that when
          they are farming naturally their actions are 'play' (as Boehme above) but
          also these actions have the unintentional character of life (in Eckhardt
          above) because "life lives on for its own sake".
          We currently drive to the supermarket and travel to find entertainment and
          holidays but food and play were/are always already present, it was just our
          rationalising that split up the earth into myriad worlds that lead us to
          question everything, even the ability of the earth to provide.

          Jamie
          Souscayrous


          -----Original Message-----
          From: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of garden03048
          Sent: dimanche 4 décembre 2005 22:27
          To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Mediterranean Natural Agriculture
          jamie,

          forgive me if I missed something, but your argument seems internally
          incoherent. You seem to deny causality and looking to the future,
          then you admit our need for food and drink and look forward
          to 'play'. Food and drink seem to enjoy causality since they
          presumably satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst. Correct me if I
          am wrong.



          anthony, NH zone 5










          Yahoo! Groups Links
        • diebrand
          Jamie, My message was in response to a post that proposed the study of books and the clearing of this group if my memory serves me right. My message may
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 5, 2005
            Jamie,

            My message was in response to a post that proposed the "study of
            books" and the "clearing of this group" if my memory serves me
            right. My message may have been a little provocative, but I still
            think that is not the way to go. In the tradition of Japanese
            Buddhism, since we are at it, there is also the recurrent theme of
            the "burning of the books", this is not an enticement to arson but a
            realization of the fact that there comes the time for leaving the
            books behind and for starting to do IT. What you call this IT is,
            except for the purpose of communicating, not all that important.
            You may want to call it Fukuoka farming, or something else, if you
            live under conditions that force you to adapt and therefore modify
            this method. But I think this should not be a reason for
            being "cleared" off this group, since the repeatedly stated aim of
            this group is precisely the adaptation of this method to different
            climatic conditions.

            I already seem to have attracted the reputation of being anti-
            theory. I think it can be great fun to discuss theory, but for a
            person in desperate need of practical solutions, elaborate theories
            about his/her situation which may or may not apply isn't going to be
            very helpful.

            The discussion about Natural Farming in a Mediterranean type climate
            got a little side-tracked. I mentioned the drought conditions and
            wildfire risk in order to provide background information for the
            group to better understand local conditions. The importance of
            clearing undergrowth and shrubs (they call it mato here) is
            absolutely obvious for anyone familiar with the situation. I try to
            do a hectare or two every year while maintaining the previously
            cleared part in good conditions. If I'm lucky, I can clear most of
            it the "soft way" (sparing bushes and small trees while encouraging
            other vegetation, and most of all building top soil) before the fire
            department will force me to raze the whole with bulldozers. The
            land is being abandoned by the farmers due to a neglect by the
            government of the regions infrastructure, consequently, and after
            many thousands of hectares were converted into Eucalyptus
            monoculture plantation for the countries paper industry (mind you,
            better this way than cutting down the rainforest), much of the
            region was declared "zone of protected nature" under EU
            regulations. Now you can get EU subsidies to raze all that
            protected nature by bulldozer. My modest efforts obviously don't
            qualify for any subsidies.

            It is funny, when I had another look at "One Straw Revolution" the
            other day, I notice that Mr. Fukuoka "cleared the hillside" and
            generally did a lot of the things I do now to get his land into the
            shape it is in now. Lucky, he didn't post it on this group or he
            may have gotten severely criticised.

            But the issue of wildfires etc. was of course not the purpose for
            my request. What I want to find out is how to use the land
            intelligently using Fukuoka's works and other sources as
            inspiration. I do a lot of experimentation, but I'm too old to
            reinvent the wheel all the time. I simply wanted to profit from
            those of you with similar experience (I still have to follow up on a
            couple of offers to help off-list).

            I mentioned the problems I had with the seed balls. Well, I'll try
            again in the spring. But what is most on my mind is the problem of
            the "dead season", Winter in the North, Summer here in the South.
            Fukuoka's method of continued cultivation (rice/wheat and clover)
            doesn't work with the dead season. What do I do during the dead
            season in the Summer. If I distribute the "straw" across the field,
            in addition to the problem of fire hazard, it will not decompose as
            in Fukuoka's case. It will simply lay loosely on the ground and get
            drier and drier until it crepitates as if electrically charged. It
            can be as scary as sitting on a powder keg. In addition, it won't
            do the soil much good. I have been thinking of covering it with
            earth, but than I would have to move earth from some other place.
            Now I tend towards a method half-way between "heap composting"
            and "surface composting", even though I'm still not quite sure in my
            mind about how to go about it. Anyway, I'm always game for anyone
            wanting to discuss this or other problems.

            You are of course right about the "insight". But that comes of its
            own while working on the land, provided we keep an open mind, are
            prepared to try new methods and are not shackled by conventional
            methods.

            Your observation about madrone and oaks differ greatly from the
            realities as they exist here. And what is the use of succession
            theories? I can try and do something with the land, like
            cultivating by Fukuokan methods, or someone else will come along and
            turn it into an Eucalyptus plantation, turning the soil upside down
            every 9 years.

            You know of course that the concept of "nothingness" cannot fully be
            explained by rational arguments. I only mentioned the issue to try
            and put Fukuoka's thoughts into their cultural context.

            Having read to the end of your message, I realize that your
            understanding of NF is not superficial, and that the initial part of
            my reply is somewhat beside the point.

            The absolute idealism of the Mahayana is alluring and appeals to
            something deep down inside. I have wandered this globe for nearly 4
            decades and it has always been there somewhere in the back. But I'm
            afraid that the realities of this world will just wash over NF and
            other such ideas like a tidal wave. You may contend that the tidal
            wave is only a daydream, but then, so is NF. I think we have to
            engage with the world at large and resist sectarian tendencies.
            Anyway, right now I'm more interested to "play" around with specific
            solutions than … (well, I won't say it ).

            Sorry, but I just can't resist it, the crux of the matter is not who
            develops the better theories, but who can make a go of it.

            By the way did you know Maître Deshimaru? I frequented the Dojo
            near the Rue de l'Ouest in the late 70s. That was after he passed
            away.

            Dieter

            --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "souscayrous"
            <souscayrous@t...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello Dieter, I live near the Med coast of southern France and can
            > appreciate your concerns.
            >
            > I'd very much like to discuss with you what a Mediterranean natural
            > agriculture might look like. First, however, I'd like to ask you
            what 'it'
            > is? You write:
            > "I personally don't care about Fukuoka farming, organic farming or
            what have
            > you. All that matters is whether it will work under my particular
            climatic
            > conditions or not."
            > And,
            > "You can read Fukuoka's books as much as you like, if you don't
            put it into
            > practice on your own piece of land you wont know the first thing
            about it."
            > And,
            > "I don't care about this or that theory if I can't use it. What
            I'm trying
            > to find out is how to use the methods of Natural Farming in an
            environment
            > different from that encountered by Mr. Fukuoka in his native
            Ehime."
            > And,
            > "I'm not even against discussing theory, it's just in the absence
            of
            > concrete information regarding its implementation I much prefer to
            work on
            > the field."
            >
            > What is the 'it' you mention above, that you want to work and put
            into
            > practice on your own land?
            >
            > The reason I ask is that perhaps it is no new technique that we
            need, no new
            > knowledge. To farm our region we need to develop insight into what
            a natural
            > agriculture would actually look like here, when we look at our
            land we must
            > be able to see not how it is now, but how it will be under the
            full power of
            > natural processes. This insight can only come when we attend, it
            is that
            > attendance that allows us to properly tend our land. I know this
            is probably
            > too theoretical for you so let me give you a 'concrete' example
            that refers
            > to some of the discussion on wildfires you've already had: Once
            the med
            > basin was forested and had a mild, damp climate. But when the
            forests were
            > lost the climate became fragile. The primary forest succession of
            pines
            > creates a tinderbox, but this primary succession, when burnt,
            creates the
            > perfect environment for the secondary succession, cork and holm
            oaks and
            > box, which are the climax hardwood species? You have mentioned the
            madrone
            > (Arbutus unedo), the strawberry tree, but this tree is vital to the
            > succession toward the climax hardwood forest. The following is
            what I have
            > noticed: clearing madrone or any of the undergrowth beneath the
            pines,
            > including young oaks and box, destroys the succession because when
            a fire
            > rages over your land the pines die but the madrone, oaks, and box
            resprout
            > from the roots. Clearing the forest of combustible material is to
            act
            > according to reason, but what is not understood is that reason is
            always
            > empowered by some need, in this case it is motivated out of the
            fear of
            > fire. But if we were all to allow the undergrowth to grow our
            forests would
            > become climax hardwood forests, which, while not being immune to
            fire, would
            > never burn with the regularity or intensity as they do now.
            Therefore it is
            > reason that leads us astray, it has the actual effect of producing
            the fire
            > we seek to stop!
            >
            > You write also, "In the tradition of Japanese Buddhism, doing
            nothing is
            > doing something after all. But what?"
            > From my understanding, from a Zen perspective, the understanding
            is that
            > there is simply nothing for us to do because any method or
            technique intent
            > upon achieving some particular goal will always maintain the
            present to
            > future, cause to effect dualism that NF attempts to escape. Goal
            > directed behaviour of whatever type projects a hope into the
            future that
            > sacrifices the present and therefore loses the now, which is the
            unmoving
            > point and the only point from which Natural Farming can be
            realised. The
            > crucial insight of NF is that there is absolutely nothing to do
            (although
            > this is only fully realised through embodiment [bodying forth],
            ie 'the
            > work' of growing of crops within natural agriculture). This real-
            isation
            > (making real and not just another hopeful daydream) can only come
            from the
            > personal revelation that only now can I real-ise that I am already
            what I
            > seek. Since it is always now, the possibility is always there, but
            that
            > possibility becomes real-ised only when causal, time-bound, goal-
            directed
            > ways of thinking and acting disappear to reveal what I have always
            been: a
            > formless, qualityless mind which is immutable because it is
            nothing, which
            > is
            > free because it is not going anywhere, and which does not need to
            go
            > anywhere because it lacks nothing. NF is therefore not only what
            needs to be
            > done; 'the work', 'do nothing', but its practice is itself the
            real-isation.
            > To do nothing is gelassenheit, letting-beings-be and this is not
            something
            > that only needs be accomplished on a farm but anywhere where the
            person
            > remains connected in an essential way with the earth. However, if
            there is
            > nothing to do, then all we need do is live and for that we need
            water, food
            > and shelter. The suggestion would therefore be that NF will help
            us achieve
            > the regreening of the world and the production of food after
            having handed
            > over the work to nature leaving us only our lives which can then
            become
            > play.
            >
            > I hope this helps give a sense of what I believe Fukuoka's work
            can give us
            > as we try to develop a natural agriculture for the Mediterranean.
            >
            > Jamie
            > Souscayrous
            >
          • Elsa Santos
            Hi Dieter, Fellow alentejo-struggler here, again. Just a quick note to let you know that there is a special EU fund ran locally by the zona agrária that I m
            Message 5 of 12 , Dec 5, 2005
              Hi Dieter,

              Fellow alentejo-struggler here, again.
              Just a quick note to let you know that there is a special EU fund ran locally by the
              "zona agrária" that I'm sure you could have access to. One of them is a subsidy called "hortejo" than virtually anyone with half an acre can apply to. It's not a lot of money, but it helps. (should speak to Engenheiro Guerreio da Silva - he's one of the few good men in Odemira's statal institutions).

              Got more things to share with you and will do it privately as I'm affraid of being misinterpreted here and I am not generally into retorics or ego competions - and I've got a feeling than any little comma or passionate statement can turn, or be made into, something that has little to do with farming, budhism, zen or anything else other than a competion for being right about something, etc... anyway. This is a great group and will hopefully rise above these lower moments and resume the healthy exchange of ideias and experiences that actually do contribute to a mutual wealth of knowlegde/understanding.

              In the meantime,
              Fiquem bem
              Elsa

              diebrand <diebrand@...> wrote:
              Jamie,

              My message was in response to a post that proposed the "study of
              books" and the "clearing of this group" if my memory serves me
              right. My message may have been a little provocative, but I still
              think that is not the way to go. In the tradition of Japanese
              Buddhism, since we are at it, there is also the recurrent theme of
              the "burning of the books", this is not an enticement to arson but a
              realization of the fact that there comes the time for leaving the
              books behind and for starting to do IT. What you call this IT is,
              except for the purpose of communicating, not all that important.
              You may want to call it Fukuoka farming, or something else, if you
              live under conditions that force you to adapt and therefore modify
              this method. But I think this should not be a reason for
              being "cleared" off this group, since the repeatedly stated aim of
              this group is precisely the adaptation of this method to different
              climatic conditions.

              I already seem to have attracted the reputation of being anti-
              theory. I think it can be great fun to discuss theory, but for a
              person in desperate need of practical solutions, elaborate theories
              about his/her situation which may or may not apply isn't going to be
              very helpful.

              The discussion about Natural Farming in a Mediterranean type climate
              got a little side-tracked. I mentioned the drought conditions and
              wildfire risk in order to provide background information for the
              group to better understand local conditions. The importance of
              clearing undergrowth and shrubs (they call it mato here) is
              absolutely obvious for anyone familiar with the situation. I try to
              do a hectare or two every year while maintaining the previously
              cleared part in good conditions. If I'm lucky, I can clear most of
              it the "soft way" (sparing bushes and small trees while encouraging
              other vegetation, and most of all building top soil) before the fire
              department will force me to raze the whole with bulldozers. The
              land is being abandoned by the farmers due to a neglect by the
              government of the regions infrastructure, consequently, and after
              many thousands of hectares were converted into Eucalyptus
              monoculture plantation for the countries paper industry (mind you,
              better this way than cutting down the rainforest), much of the
              region was declared "zone of protected nature" under EU
              regulations. Now you can get EU subsidies to raze all that
              protected nature by bulldozer. My modest efforts obviously don't
              qualify for any subsidies.

              It is funny, when I had another look at "One Straw Revolution" the
              other day, I notice that Mr. Fukuoka "cleared the hillside" and
              generally did a lot of the things I do now to get his land into the
              shape it is in now. Lucky, he didn't post it on this group or he
              may have gotten severely criticised.

              But the issue of wildfires etc. was of course not the purpose for
              my request. What I want to find out is how to use the land
              intelligently using Fukuoka's works and other sources as
              inspiration. I do a lot of experimentation, but I'm too old to
              reinvent the wheel all the time. I simply wanted to profit from
              those of you with similar experience (I still have to follow up on a
              couple of offers to help off-list).

              I mentioned the problems I had with the seed balls. Well, I'll try
              again in the spring. But what is most on my mind is the problem of
              the "dead season", Winter in the North, Summer here in the South.
              Fukuoka's method of continued cultivation (rice/wheat and clover)
              doesn't work with the dead season. What do I do during the dead
              season in the Summer. If I distribute the "straw" across the field,
              in addition to the problem of fire hazard, it will not decompose as
              in Fukuoka's case. It will simply lay loosely on the ground and get
              drier and drier until it crepitates as if electrically charged. It
              can be as scary as sitting on a powder keg. In addition, it won't
              do the soil much good. I have been thinking of covering it with
              earth, but than I would have to move earth from some other place.
              Now I tend towards a method half-way between "heap composting"
              and "surface composting", even though I'm still not quite sure in my
              mind about how to go about it. Anyway, I'm always game for anyone
              wanting to discuss this or other problems.

              You are of course right about the "insight". But that comes of its
              own while working on the land, provided we keep an open mind, are
              prepared to try new methods and are not shackled by conventional
              methods.

              Your observation about madrone and oaks differ greatly from the
              realities as they exist here. And what is the use of succession
              theories? I can try and do something with the land, like
              cultivating by Fukuokan methods, or someone else will come along and
              turn it into an Eucalyptus plantation, turning the soil upside down
              every 9 years.

              You know of course that the concept of "nothingness" cannot fully be
              explained by rational arguments. I only mentioned the issue to try
              and put Fukuoka's thoughts into their cultural context.

              Having read to the end of your message, I realize that your
              understanding of NF is not superficial, and that the initial part of
              my reply is somewhat beside the point.

              The absolute idealism of the Mahayana is alluring and appeals to
              something deep down inside. I have wandered this globe for nearly 4
              decades and it has always been there somewhere in the back. But I'm
              afraid that the realities of this world will just wash over NF and
              other such ideas like a tidal wave. You may contend that the tidal
              wave is only a daydream, but then, so is NF. I think we have to
              engage with the world at large and resist sectarian tendencies.
              Anyway, right now I'm more interested to "play" around with specific
              solutions than … (well, I won't say it ).

              Sorry, but I just can't resist it, the crux of the matter is not who
              develops the better theories, but who can make a go of it.

              By the way did you know Maître Deshimaru? I frequented the Dojo
              near the Rue de l'Ouest in the late 70s. That was after he passed
              away.

              Dieter

              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "souscayrous"
              <souscayrous@t...> wrote:
              >
              > Hello Dieter, I live near the Med coast of southern France and can
              > appreciate your concerns.
              >
              > I'd very much like to discuss with you what a Mediterranean natural
              > agriculture might look like. First, however, I'd like to ask you
              what 'it'
              > is? You write:
              > "I personally don't care about Fukuoka farming, organic farming or
              what have
              > you. All that matters is whether it will work under my particular
              climatic
              > conditions or not."
              > And,
              > "You can read Fukuoka's books as much as you like, if you don't
              put it into
              > practice on your own piece of land you wont know the first thing
              about it."
              > And,
              > "I don't care about this or that theory if I can't use it. What
              I'm trying
              > to find out is how to use the methods of Natural Farming in an
              environment
              > different from that encountered by Mr. Fukuoka in his native
              Ehime."
              > And,
              > "I'm not even against discussing theory, it's just in the absence
              of
              > concrete information regarding its implementation I much prefer to
              work on
              > the field."
              >
              > What is the 'it' you mention above, that you want to work and put
              into
              > practice on your own land?
              >
              > The reason I ask is that perhaps it is no new technique that we
              need, no new
              > knowledge. To farm our region we need to develop insight into what
              a natural
              > agriculture would actually look like here, when we look at our
              land we must
              > be able to see not how it is now, but how it will be under the
              full power of
              > natural processes. This insight can only come when we attend, it
              is that
              > attendance that allows us to properly tend our land. I know this
              is probably
              > too theoretical for you so let me give you a 'concrete' example
              that refers
              > to some of the discussion on wildfires you've already had: Once
              the med
              > basin was forested and had a mild, damp climate. But when the
              forests were
              > lost the climate became fragile. The primary forest succession of
              pines
              > creates a tinderbox, but this primary succession, when burnt,
              creates the
              > perfect environment for the secondary succession, cork and holm
              oaks and
              > box, which are the climax hardwood species? You have mentioned the
              madrone
              > (Arbutus unedo), the strawberry tree, but this tree is vital to the
              > succession toward the climax hardwood forest. The following is
              what I have
              > noticed: clearing madrone or any of the undergrowth beneath the
              pines,
              > including young oaks and box, destroys the succession because when
              a fire
              > rages over your land the pines die but the madrone, oaks, and box
              resprout
              > from the roots. Clearing the forest of combustible material is to
              act
              > according to reason, but what is not understood is that reason is
              always
              > empowered by some need, in this case it is motivated out of the
              fear of
              > fire. But if we were all to allow the undergrowth to grow our
              forests would
              > become climax hardwood forests, which, while not being immune to
              fire, would
              > never burn with the regularity or intensity as they do now.
              Therefore it is
              > reason that leads us astray, it has the actual effect of producing
              the fire
              > we seek to stop!
              >
              > You write also, "In the tradition of Japanese Buddhism, doing
              nothing is
              > doing something after all. But what?"
              > From my understanding, from a Zen perspective, the understanding
              is that
              > there is simply nothing for us to do because any method or
              technique intent
              > upon achieving some particular goal will always maintain the
              present to
              > future, cause to effect dualism that NF attempts to escape. Goal
              > directed behaviour of whatever type projects a hope into the
              future that
              > sacrifices the present and therefore loses the now, which is the
              unmoving
              > point and the only point from which Natural Farming can be
              realised. The
              > crucial insight of NF is that there is absolutely nothing to do
              (although
              > this is only fully realised through embodiment [bodying forth],
              ie 'the
              > work' of growing of crops within natural agriculture). This real-
              isation
              > (making real and not just another hopeful daydream) can only come
              from the
              > personal revelation that only now can I real-ise that I am already
              what I
              > seek. Since it is always now, the possibility is always there, but
              that
              > possibility becomes real-ised only when causal, time-bound, goal-
              directed
              > ways of thinking and acting disappear to reveal what I have always
              been: a
              > formless, qualityless mind which is immutable because it is
              nothing, which
              > is
              > free because it is not going anywhere, and which does not need to
              go
              > anywhere because it lacks nothing. NF is therefore not only what
              needs to be
              > done; 'the work', 'do nothing', but its practice is itself the
              real-isation.
              > To do nothing is gelassenheit, letting-beings-be and this is not
              something
              > that only needs be accomplished on a farm but anywhere where the
              person
              > remains connected in an essential way with the earth. However, if
              there is
              > nothing to do, then all we need do is live and for that we need
              water, food
              > and shelter. The suggestion would therefore be that NF will help
              us achieve
              > the regreening of the world and the production of food after
              having handed
              > over the work to nature leaving us only our lives which can then
              become
              > play.
              >
              > I hope this helps give a sense of what I believe Fukuoka's work
              can give us
              > as we try to develop a natural agriculture for the Mediterranean.
              >
              > Jamie
              > Souscayrous
              >









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            • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
              Message 6 of 12 , Dec 5, 2005
                < The importance of
                clearing undergrowth and shrubs (they call it mato here) is
                absolutely obvious for anyone familiar with the situation. I try to
                do a hectare or two every year while maintaining the previously
                cleared part in good conditions.>

                what does good conditions means ? what do you do with the biomass that is
                cleared ( burned?)


                < If I'm lucky, I can clear most of
                it the "soft way" (sparing bushes and small trees while encouraging
                other vegetation, and most of all building top soil) before the fire
                department will force me to raze the whole with bulldozers.>

                could you do fire breaks around the perimeter of your land so you could
                establish a lush forest garden inside and content the fire department ?

                The
                <land is being abandoned by the farmers due to a neglect by the
                government of the regions infrastructure, consequently, and after
                many thousands of hectares were converted into Eucalyptus
                monoculture plantation for the countries paper industry (mind you,
                better this way than cutting down the rainforest), much of the
                region was declared "zone of protected nature" under EU
                regulations. Now you can get EU subsidies to raze all that
                protected nature by bulldozer. My modest efforts obviously don't
                qualify for any subsidies.>

                could you explain this better?

                <It is funny, when I had another look at "One Straw Revolution" the
                other day, I notice that Mr. Fukuoka "cleared the hillside" and
                generally did a lot of the things I do now to get his land into the
                shape it is in now. Lucky, he didn't post it on this group or he
                may have gotten severely criticised.>

                he transformed a pine grove into an edible orchard .for that he cut the
                trees, planted the sappling buried organic matter of cut trees , sown
                seeds to cover the ground , brought at first logs from outside to be burried
                then grew manure trees on the spot for that purpose .

                that is not the same than clearing of the land with fire or bulldozers
                because everything and more have been returned to the earth to be
                transformed shortly into new trees .

                < What I want to find out is how to use the land
                intelligently using Fukuoka's works and other sources as
                inspiration. >

                it is not clear to me what is your intention here?
                stopping desertification?
                growing annuals crops ?
                planting edible forests ?

                before doing natural farming it is necessarry to know where you stand ,
                whant you want then you can relate to your environment .

                <Your observation about madrone and oaks differ greatly from the
                realities as they exist here. And what is the use of succession
                theories? >

                if your goal is to regreen your land . understanding succession is
                primordial . in a desertified climate trees are much needed for their
                ability to makes a link between ground and sky water .

                what you see above the earth is the tip of an iceberg when you consider the
                number of species involved in each stage of succession in time .
                catastrophic events( fire, volcanic eruption , mud slide, clearing the
                land etc... leave legacies in the ground like store of nutrients , organic
                matter, soil organisms ,plants ( seeds and roots included ) any of those
                will affect the speed of the regeneration and influence its species
                composition . so knowing where you stand in the succession can give you
                informations about how to procede and for what goal .
                if for ex you want to go from bushes to annuals you will need some
                catastrophic events to makes it possible but if you want to go from bushes
                to big trees you need to know the succession of trees that will allow the
                climax ones to thrive ( here for ex after clearing the land from fir most
                often alders have to come first to prepare the ground for firs again,
                overwise planted firs will be slow to comes and not vibrants .each species
                and type of plants ( annuals , perrennial herbs , bushes trees have their
                own associated microflora and fauna that will influence what association
                they authorise with other species and type of plants .

                so you have to work at 3 levels horizontal, vertical , and in time

                it is my opinion that your aera needs serious considerations for not
                contribuating to the desertification , and for working toward increasing
                divesity and total biomass. because you are interested in natural farming
                you have the responsability to educate peoples around you and yourself about
                the danger in the long run to continue the practices that brought
                desertification in the first place .


                .
                < I can try and do something with the land, like
                cultivating by Fukuokan methods, or someone else will come along and
                turn it into an Eucalyptus plantation, turning the soil upside down
                every 9 years.>

                i understand how the social context can be frustrating and overwhelming when
                you see the potential of nurtering the land differently than what peoples
                accept as good practices .

                for your problem of straw and dead organic matter not decomposong during the
                dry season i will mulch over with stones , cardboard or whatever could keep
                moisture underneath , maybe some microorganisms needs also to be inseminated
                ( some fresh manure or compost ) masanobu used chicken manure sprinkled over
                the straw to speed up the decomposition .( naturally it will happen thru the
                birds eating the seeds in the field )

                jean-claude
              • souscayrous
                Hello Dieter, succession is a definitely a theory. For Mediterranean lands (Maquis/Garrigue), it grew out of the associationist theory of J. Braun-Blanquet and
                Message 7 of 12 , Dec 6, 2005
                  Hello Dieter, succession is a definitely a theory. For Mediterranean lands
                  (Maquis/Garrigue), it grew out of the associationist theory of J.
                  Braun-Blanquet and was largely defined by Kuhnholtz-Lordat. I have no
                  interest in theory.
                  For more than a year now I have been attempting to buy 4 hectares of land
                  and have spent much time on the land trying to understand it. This does not
                  mean that I have spent lots of time reading books about it and then taking
                  the theories in the books and applying them to the land. I have also been
                  gardening on an old, ploughed vineyard here for the past 6 years and been
                  following the revegetation on 60 hectares owned by friends nearby who had a
                  fire 2 years ago.
                  I have read and continue to read many books, including Fukuoka's - and I
                  should mention here that Fukuoka does not advise clearing his hillside (he
                  took over the hillside after it had been clear cut some years before), what
                  he actually says he did was cut back the existing vegetation and plant the
                  citrus and green manure trees, then completely ignore the whole lot for
                  several years, only then to return and again cut back the native vegetation
                  to reveal the planted/seeded varieties. It was then, at this stage, that he
                  terraced the hillside by hand. He specifically advises against the use of
                  bulldozers for clearing land - and I find reading different perspectives
                  helps me continue to open my own perspective, and I believe it is this
                  ongoing process of opening ourselves that is fundamental to the an
                  understanding of NF.
                  Irrespective of the actual movement that leads to forests, it would be very
                  difficult for me to deny that it is only under the oak forests locally that
                  a relatively stable environment is created. I have not reached this
                  conclusion theoretically, but by spending time within woods and forests and
                  being cool in summer and warm in winter, by noticing the incredible species
                  diversity and density.
                  It is difficult for me to believe that the very clear differentiation of
                  land due to the years each parcel has been out of grape production does not
                  correspond to the movement of this land back to a forest; amongst the vines
                  grows roquette, once the vine has been ploughed up there is sticky inula,
                  this is followed by grasses, dorycnium (sometimes almost in pure stands),
                  then gorse/Spanish broom/juniper/fragon and then pines and, if there are
                  acorns present, oaks. (This is the movement on calcareous soil here, it will
                  be similar but with different plants on your land eg rosemary, thyme, Erica
                  species such as E. scoparia, Pistache lentisque/terebenthe, phyllaria,
                  ciste, olive, pines and, of course, Arbutus unedo).
                  Any intervention that takes away part or all of this growth has the effect
                  of taking away this movement toward stability, leaving the soil poorer and
                  leaving the whole far more susceptible to fire - oaks do not burn like
                  pines, inside the forest canopy the soil, plants and air are all more humid
                  than outside, resisting the spread of fire.
                  I offer no elaborate theory Dieter, just the simple fact that taking away
                  biomass will impoverish the land and more likely lead to fire. Begin
                  clear-cutting and bulldozing and you will always have to clear-cut and
                  bulldoze.
                  Specific recommendations for your land: leave everything in place and
                  seedball/seed all the seeds you can get your hands on. And contact local
                  groups doing the same - if everything is interdependent then we will get no
                  where working alone; see this page for more details on a project (that
                  is/used to be) going on in the Alentejo:
                  http://www.ibiblio.org/ecolandtech/permaculture/permaculture-list-archives-1
                  999-2002/msg04485.html

                  Do nothing and the earth will provide - remember this is not a theory or a
                  belief but the reality of 5 million years, until we began to manipulate the
                  earth on such a scale through our reason that we began to destroy what
                  supports us, what we are. Do nothing and the earth will provide sounds
                  ridiculous to our ears used to valorising the human in opposition to nature,
                  but what is ridiculous is that we have forgotten that we are nature.

                  Jamie
                  Souscayrous
                • diebrand
                  Steve, Ever so glad you are still talking to me. Already thought you might want to kick me off the list. I spent much of my working life in Japan, and I feel
                  Message 8 of 12 , Dec 6, 2005
                    Steve,

                    Ever so glad you are still talking to me. Already thought you might
                    want to kick me off the list.

                    I spent much of my working life in Japan, and I feel that another
                    context of NF is a tendency for technical overkill in contemporary
                    Japanese society which may be due to a fondness for technical
                    perfection in the national character, the achievements of which we
                    all greatly admire. It is easy to see how NF may want to respond to
                    this by proposing to "do less". Even though, I suspect that Mr.
                    Fukuoka is probably true to the national character by timing and
                    placing the straw just so.

                    When transporting the universals of NF to the rest of the World, the
                    specific embodiments that resulted from the specific cultural
                    context risk to get lost or are in danger of being taken too literal
                    in a different context.

                    While searching the Web the other day, I came across a number of
                    sites on "no-till systems", "cash crops with green manure
                    undergrowing", etc. I didn't look at it in detail, but I think part
                    of it was probably conducted on a larger scale with agricultural
                    machinery, and who knows perhaps even a little fertilizer or some
                    pesticides. I think that, if such trends can be consolidated, this
                    may prove to be more beneficial than the upholding of true orthodoxy
                    in our own vegetable plot. Even though, there is of course a place
                    for that too.

                    That is were I draw my line.

                    Dieter

                    --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Steve Gage <sgage@t...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > Anthony, Dieter, et al.,
                    >
                    > We seem to be going round and round. And I seem to agree with
                    everyone,
                    > which can't possibly be right :-)
                    >
                    > I live in NH, USA, (hi Anthony!) which is not southern Japan. So
                    far,
                    > I've established that I don't have to till, I don't have to
                    prepare
                    > compost, and I don't need chemicals of any kind. But, I do plant
                    seeds,
                    > and I do use a cold frame to start things, and then transplant
                    them. I
                    > could not possibly have tomatoes, cucumbers, and some other crops
                    > without doing so. Is this Fukuoka Farming? Are tomatoes
                    not "supposed"
                    > to be grown here? I do not randomly scatter seeds and see what
                    comes up.
                    >
                    > For that matter, are people not "supposed" to live here? Now we
                    get into
                    > "what's really natural?", and that gives me a headache.
                    >
                    > Sometimes, natural farming requires a leap of faith: I didn't
                    water my
                    > garden last Summer, which was a gamble for me, because we get some
                    > pretty hot/dry spells. No problem! But I have a fairly thick
                    mulch, and
                    > that makes all the difference I guess. But that thick mulch was
                    largely
                    > spent hay from my horse and sheep, i.e., imported. Hmmm.... MF
                    himself
                    > did some flooding of his fields, so irrigation, per se, is not
                    outside
                    > the bounds of Fukuoka Farming.
                    >
                    > When MF talks about cutting down the existing forest, and burying
                    the
                    > the resultant wood in trenches as a way towards establishing an
                    orchard,
                    > well, that doesn't seem very "do nothing" to me. It seems to me
                    hugely
                    > interventionist, and when reading "The Natural Way of Farming", I
                    always
                    > am puzzled when I come across this.
                    >
                    > Some of us here have spoken of various drainage "problems" on
                    their
                    > land, with ideas of how to deal with it that seem fairly "do
                    something". So?
                    >
                    > The name of this list is fukuoka_farming, which means something,
                    but
                    > what? Do we all agree on "no tilling, no weeding, no pesticides,
                    no
                    > fertilizers"? (OK, I'll admit it - I do pull some weeds from time
                    to
                    > time, mostly witch grass.)
                    >
                    > I guess my point is, is there a line that we can draw as to what
                    > constitutes "Fukuoka Farming", or "Natural Farming"? Or is it more
                    of an
                    > attitude that we bring to our land. Are our compromises dictated
                    by our
                    > circumstances, or are we just afraid to try all-out natural
                    farming?
                    >
                    > These are some of the things that I think about while reading all
                    your
                    > fine posts here. I know there are lots of strong feelings about
                    where
                    > that line should be drawn. I tend to think that these are early
                    days,
                    > and we're all learning... on our own land, and from each other.
                    >
                    > All best,
                    >
                    > - Steve
                    >
                    ... snip
                  • diebrand
                    Jean-Claude, ... that is ... I used to burn in the beginning. Now, having found a simple way of shredding on-site, I leave everything as a mulch layer on the
                    Message 9 of 12 , Dec 6, 2005
                      Jean-Claude,

                      > what does good conditions means ? what do you do with the biomass
                      that is
                      > cleared ( burned?)

                      I used to burn in the beginning. Now, having found a simple way of
                      shredding on-site, I leave everything as a mulch layer on the
                      ground. As pointed out by Jamie, most of the native Mediterranean
                      shrubs, bushes and trees grow again from the roots to provide new
                      biomass for the next season. But since it isn't fun to keep on
                      cutting just for the sake of it, I want to try and plant/sow
                      something in between the existing bushes and trees (I don't of
                      course raze the grounds, that is not what the clearing of
                      undergrowth means) to build topsoil by getting some green stuff with
                      the woody mulch from the shrubs, and in the future, who knows,
                      perhaps even grow some cash crop on a modest scale. It was easy to
                      grow peas and beans by just throwing the seeds under the mulch. By
                      the time the peas were ready for harvesting thorny shrubs had grown
                      to just about cover the peas and thus protect them from the birds.
                      The blackbirds are so keen on my garden that they have already
                      hacked away every single pod in less than an hour when I didn't use
                      netting, which is a hassle. Clover has proved to be a little
                      tougher, even though it starts to come along too where the mulch
                      isn`t too thick.

                      I have run a number of tests, starting with the first rains in early
                      October through early December using direct broadcasting and seed
                      balls with different types of clover, grains including oats, rye,
                      wheat, barley, dinkel, buckwheat, quinoa and even a little rice.
                      Daikon is no problem of course, it will always come up and Lupines
                      are OK too. The ants disappeared in the second half of November.
                      I'm just curious to see what will happen when we get the first night
                      frost. Much of the buckwheat already went when temperatures dropped
                      to near 0 deg. once. But spring is too late for sowing in these
                      parts since everything has gone dry by June.

                      > could you do fire breaks around the perimeter of your land so you
                      could
                      > establish a lush forest garden inside and content the fire
                      department ?

                      There are fire breaks of about 10 m in width. The pulp companies
                      that operate the Eucalyptus plantations are obliged by law to clear
                      these by bulldozer every year. To be effective they would have to
                      be 200 to 300 m in width, which would consume the better part of our
                      land. I have seen new fires being ignited by flying sparks hundreds
                      of meters ahead of a fire front. When my trees are a little taller,
                      and I have some more time I want to make a double fence around at
                      least part of the property to create an enclosure for goats. They
                      make tabula rasa.

                      >
                      > The
                      > <land is being abandoned by the farmers due to a neglect by the
                      > government of the regions infrastructure, consequently, and after
                      > many thousands of hectares were converted into Eucalyptus
                      > monoculture plantation for the countries paper industry (mind you,
                      > better this way than cutting down the rainforest), much of the
                      > region was declared "zone of protected nature" under EU
                      > regulations. Now you can get EU subsidies to raze all that
                      > protected nature by bulldozer. My modest efforts obviously don't
                      > qualify for any subsidies.>
                      >
                      > could you explain this better?

                      Which part of it?

                      > … snip …
                      > it is not clear to me what is your intention here?
                      > stopping desertification?
                      > growing annuals crops ?
                      > planting edible forests ? Tell me more about these.

                      See above.

                      … snip …
                      > if for ex you want to go from bushes to annuals you will need some
                      > catastrophic events to makes it possible but if you want to go
                      from bushes
                      > to big trees you need to know the succession of trees that will
                      allow the
                      > climax ones to thrive ( here for ex after clearing the land from
                      fir most

                      I wouldn't want to impose my will on nature. I'm just trying to
                      make the best of what there is.

                      … snip …
                      > … because you are interested in natural farming
                      > you have the responsability to educate peoples around you and
                      yourself about
                      > the danger in the long run to continue the practices that brought
                      > desertification in the first place .

                      Local farmers are scandalized by the waste of seeds broadcast
                      directly into the weeds. And you can't even blame them, the region
                      is very poor. Until very recently many people lived, and sometimes
                      still live, in mud huts not much bigger than 50 to 60 m2. To them
                      all this new stuff is just something rich foreigners can indulge
                      in. All they yearn for is a little bit of that comfort you and I
                      have taken for granted since we were born.


                      Dieter
                    • partha biswas,9830511359
                      Dear all Natural Farming lover, This is Partha Biswas from India.. I have just reached today at the Titus Natural Farm at Hosangabad India.Raju and Shalini
                      Message 10 of 12 , Dec 6, 2005
                        Dear all Natural Farming lover,

                        This is Partha Biswas from India..

                        I have just reached today at the Titus Natural Farm at
                        Hosangabad India.Raju and Shalini Titus are pioneer in
                        adopting Natural Farming in India and obviously they
                        are the first who started this with the help of
                        Masanobu Fukuoka.Masanobu Fukuoka himself visited this
                        farm in january 1988.And, he commented that, the Titus
                        Natural Farm is the best among all the natural farm in
                        the world.
                        Regarding burning of undergrowth and shrubs Raju and
                        Shalini Titus adopted the way of digging the ground 2
                        feet * 1 foot and they cut all the huge undergrowth
                        and shrubs 18 years back and filled the pit with that.
                        And it gave miraculous result.It greatly improves the
                        water holding capacity and increases the fertility to
                        a great deal.And this is also mentioned in page 149 in
                        the book of Masanobu Fukuoka named "the natural way of
                        farming"

                        Thanks all

                        Partha Biswas



                        --- Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
                        <instinct@...> wrote:

                        >
                        >
                        > < The importance of
                        > clearing undergrowth and shrubs (they call it mato
                        > here) is
                        > absolutely obvious for anyone familiar with the
                        > situation. I try to
                        > do a hectare or two every year while maintaining the
                        > previously
                        > cleared part in good conditions.>
                        >
                        > what does good conditions means ? what do you do
                        > with the biomass that is
                        > cleared ( burned?)
                        >
                        >
                        > < If I'm lucky, I can clear most of
                        > it the "soft way" (sparing bushes and small trees
                        > while encouraging
                        > other vegetation, and most of all building top soil)
                        > before the fire
                        > department will force me to raze the whole with
                        > bulldozers.>
                        >
                        > could you do fire breaks around the perimeter of
                        > your land so you could
                        > establish a lush forest garden inside and content
                        > the fire department ?
                        >
                        > The
                        > <land is being abandoned by the farmers due to a
                        > neglect by the
                        > government of the regions infrastructure,
                        > consequently, and after
                        > many thousands of hectares were converted into
                        > Eucalyptus
                        > monoculture plantation for the countries paper
                        > industry (mind you,
                        > better this way than cutting down the rainforest),
                        > much of the
                        > region was declared "zone of protected nature" under
                        > EU
                        > regulations. Now you can get EU subsidies to raze
                        > all that
                        > protected nature by bulldozer. My modest efforts
                        > obviously don't
                        > qualify for any subsidies.>
                        >
                        > could you explain this better?
                        >
                        > <It is funny, when I had another look at "One Straw
                        > Revolution" the
                        > other day, I notice that Mr. Fukuoka "cleared the
                        > hillside" and
                        > generally did a lot of the things I do now to get
                        > his land into the
                        > shape it is in now. Lucky, he didn't post it on
                        > this group or he
                        > may have gotten severely criticised.>
                        >
                        > he transformed a pine grove into an edible orchard
                        > .for that he cut the
                        > trees, planted the sappling buried organic matter
                        > of cut trees , sown
                        > seeds to cover the ground , brought at first logs
                        > from outside to be burried
                        > then grew manure trees on the spot for that purpose
                        > .
                        >
                        > that is not the same than clearing of the land with
                        > fire or bulldozers
                        > because everything and more have been returned to
                        > the earth to be
                        > transformed shortly into new trees .
                        >
                        > < What I want to find out is how to use the land
                        > intelligently using Fukuoka's works and other
                        > sources as
                        > inspiration. >
                        >
                        > it is not clear to me what is your intention here?
                        > stopping desertification?
                        > growing annuals crops ?
                        > planting edible forests ?
                        >
                        > before doing natural farming it is necessarry to
                        > know where you stand ,
                        > whant you want then you can relate to your
                        > environment .
                        >
                        > <Your observation about madrone and oaks differ
                        > greatly from the
                        > realities as they exist here. And what is the use
                        > of succession
                        > theories? >
                        >
                        > if your goal is to regreen your land . understanding
                        > succession is
                        > primordial . in a desertified climate trees are much
                        > needed for their
                        > ability to makes a link between ground and sky water
                        > .
                        >
                        > what you see above the earth is the tip of an
                        > iceberg when you consider the
                        > number of species involved in each stage of
                        > succession in time .
                        > catastrophic events( fire, volcanic eruption , mud
                        > slide, clearing the
                        > land etc... leave legacies in the ground like store
                        > of nutrients , organic
                        > matter, soil organisms ,plants ( seeds and roots
                        > included ) any of those
                        > will affect the speed of the regeneration and
                        > influence its species
                        > composition . so knowing where you stand in the
                        > succession can give you
                        > informations about how to procede and for what goal
                        > .
                        > if for ex you want to go from bushes to annuals you
                        > will need some
                        > catastrophic events to makes it possible but if you
                        > want to go from bushes
                        > to big trees you need to know the succession of
                        > trees that will allow the
                        > climax ones to thrive ( here for ex after clearing
                        > the land from fir most
                        > often alders have to come first to prepare the
                        > ground for firs again,
                        > overwise planted firs will be slow to comes and not
                        > vibrants .each species
                        > and type of plants ( annuals , perrennial herbs ,
                        > bushes trees have their
                        > own associated microflora and fauna that will
                        > influence what association
                        > they authorise with other species and type of plants
                        > .
                        >
                        > so you have to work at 3 levels horizontal,
                        > vertical , and in time
                        >
                        > it is my opinion that your aera needs serious
                        > considerations for not
                        > contribuating to the desertification , and for
                        > working toward increasing
                        > divesity and total biomass. because you are
                        > interested in natural farming
                        > you have the responsability to educate peoples
                        > around you and yourself about
                        > the danger in the long run to continue the practices
                        > that brought
                        > desertification in the first place .
                        >
                        >
                        > .
                        > < I can try and do something with the land, like
                        > cultivating by Fukuokan methods, or someone else
                        > will come along and
                        > turn it into an Eucalyptus plantation, turning the
                        > soil upside down
                        > every 9 years.>
                        >
                        > i understand how the social context can be
                        > frustrating and overwhelming when
                        > you see the potential of nurtering the land
                        > differently than what peoples
                        > accept as good practices .
                        >
                        > for your problem of straw and dead organic matter
                        > not decomposong during the
                        > dry season i will mulch over with stones , cardboard
                        > or whatever could keep
                        > moisture underneath , maybe some microorganisms
                        > needs also to be inseminated
                        > ( some fresh manure or compost ) masanobu used
                        > chicken manure sprinkled over
                        > the straw to speed up the decomposition .( naturally
                        > it will happen thru the
                        > birds eating the seeds in the field )
                        >
                        > jean-claude
                        >
                        >
                        >


                        Partha Biswas, National Park, PO-Naihati, Dt.-N.24 Pargs,743165,Ph.-09231539115






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                      • michael
                        Same here in WI.
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jan 29, 2006
                          Same here in WI.

                          On Dec 4, 2005, at 4:54 PM, Steve Gage wrote:

                          > I live in NH, USA,

                          > So far,
                          > I've established that I don't have to till, I don't have to prepare
                          > compost, and I don't need chemicals of any kind.
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