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Chemical fertilizers for farming in Africa

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  • eccentrik_idiot
    Hi all, I have been lurking around here for a while looking at all the fascinating discoveries on this forum. Currently I am taking a course on Millenium
    Message 1 of 29 , Nov 11, 2006
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      Hi all,

      I have been lurking around here for a while looking at all the
      fascinating discoveries on this forum. Currently I am taking a
      course on Millenium Villages Project in Africa. The project is
      spearheaded by the Earth Institute of Columbia University and
      focuses on using appropriate technologies and other means to help
      African villages get out of the poverty trap, as a bottom-up
      approach to sustainable development. One major focus area is on
      helping small farmers raise agricultural productivity. The
      scientists who are working on this project advocate use of
      appropriate amounts of chemical fertilizers combined with organic
      fertilizers and leguminous tree stands. The priority is restoration
      of soil fertility (depleted after many cycles of crop production
      without any inputs). There is a lot of controversy on the program's
      high subsidy for chemical fertilizer supply and potential
      environmental impacts, but my professor justified it by saying that
      1) leaching is not a problem when only small amounts of chemical
      fertilizers are added, and in fact soil erosion is a more severe
      problem when there is nothing to hold the soil, and 2) there is
      limited organic matter for use as fertilizers around, and 3)
      leguminous trees grow too slowly, and 4) plants respond the same way
      to organic and chemical fertilizers.

      He also said that organic farming is not truly sustainable, since
      farmers have to spread phosphate rocks on the soil, which is not
      sustainable. The price of the crops is also too high to alleviate
      the hunger problem in Africa. Manure is said to be not a good source
      of potassium because of the high leaching rate.

      I'm just wondering how Fukuoka-style natural farming might address
      these problems? I read about Fukuoka's ideas about reforestation
      in "Road back to Paradise". Does anyone know whether there's any
      follow-up on that and whether it is effective or not?
    • Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry
      Message 2 of 29 , Nov 11, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        <There is a lot of controversy on the program's
        high subsidy for chemical fertilizer supply and potential
        environmental impacts, but my professor justified it by saying that
        1) leaching is not a problem when only small amounts of chemical
        fertilizers are added, and in fact soil erosion is a more severe
        problem when there is nothing to hold the soil, and 2) there is
        limited organic matter for use as fertilizers around, and 3)
        leguminous trees grow too slowly, and 4) plants respond the same way
        to organic and chemical fertilizers. >

        your professor might not be taking in accompt that adding chemical fertilisers is affecting very deeply the life in the soil to a point that IT IS contributing to erosion ( that is not an only mechnical phenomenon but a consequence of desertification of the soil , loss in balance and diversirty of species in the soil ).
        i will repeat again In many different forms : plants makes soil as much than soil makes plant . the relationship is a dynamic cyclic processus not a linear one .

        As long we stay in the paradigme of analysing situations ( looking for causes and effects ) we keep ourselves away from the magic of life and its true potential.

        jean-claude


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • eccentrik_idiot
        My professor said that the soil in those African villages is so depleted of nutrients that it is basically dead . They can t even get the leguminous plants to
        Message 3 of 29 , Nov 12, 2006
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          My professor said that the soil in those African villages is so
          depleted of nutrients that it is basically "dead". They can't even
          get the leguminous plants to grow on it without adding chemical
          fertilizers.
          After adding the fertilizers, there's actually a reduction in
          leaching rate because the leguminous trees can hold the soil (the
          major source of water pollution in those parts of Africa is soil
          erosion).
          I'm just wondering if Fukuoka's method has some more natural and
          less costly way of jump-starting the plants...

          Flora


          --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude
          Catry" <instinct@...> wrote:
          >
          > <There is a lot of controversy on the program's
          > high subsidy for chemical fertilizer supply and potential
          > environmental impacts, but my professor justified it by saying
          that
          > 1) leaching is not a problem when only small amounts of chemical
          > fertilizers are added, and in fact soil erosion is a more severe
          > problem when there is nothing to hold the soil, and 2) there is
          > limited organic matter for use as fertilizers around, and 3)
          > leguminous trees grow too slowly, and 4) plants respond the same
          way
          > to organic and chemical fertilizers. >
          >
          > your professor might not be taking in accompt that adding chemical
          fertilisers is affecting very deeply the life in the soil to a point
          that IT IS contributing to erosion ( that is not an only mechnical
          phenomenon but a consequence of desertification of the soil , loss
          in balance and diversirty of species in the soil ).
          > i will repeat again In many different forms : plants makes soil as
          much than soil makes plant . the relationship is a dynamic cyclic
          processus not a linear one .
          >
          > As long we stay in the paradigme of analysing situations ( looking
          for causes and effects ) we keep ourselves away from the magic of
          life and its true potential.
          >
          > jean-claude
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • btbenj
          Shalom from Israel You have the option of using non-tree legumes--beans, peas, clover, etc. or other locally suited cover crops to raise soil fertility. These
          Message 4 of 29 , Nov 13, 2006
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            Shalom from Israel
            You have the option of using non-tree legumes--beans, peas, clover,
            etc. or other locally suited cover crops to raise soil fertility.
            These work more quickly than trees. I am not well versed in Fukuoka
            so others on this forum could also tell you what he would have said
            about it.
            Meanwhile I want to call your attention to two books written by my
            mentor Dr. Elaine Solowey that you may find very useful in your
            project.
            One is titled "Small Steps Toward Abundance;Crops for a More
            Sustainable Agriculture" in which she profiles a number of useful
            crops, many of which will grow in very harsh conditions.
            The second, which was just published a few months ago, is
            titled "Supping at God's Table; A Handbook for the Domestication of
            Wild Trees for Food and Fodder." It is this second one that may
            prove most immediately useful to you in adjusting your professor's
            attitude toward biological resources, far beyond the issue of
            organic vs. chemical fertilizers.

            In this book Elaine asks some hard questions for those who would go
            to Africa and help local people do agriculture. She says "could it
            be, for instance, that the solution to African hunger will be found
            in African plants?" The key is her understanding that LOCAL,
            MULTIPURPOSE trees can provide a multitude of products, including
            food, medicine, fodder, fuel, resins, rare substances, and so forth,
            providing not only the basics for daily nutrition, but also the
            basis of participation in a money or barter economy. Compared to
            field crops like maize that are being grown under the Millenium
            project, trees provide so much more with so much less input and
            labor. It would be worthwhile to study all the trees that are
            probAbly already being utilized in the wild to some degree by the
            local people, and then to encourage their propagation and more
            widespread use.

            Sorry for the slightly off-topic answer, but please check out these
            books as resources for designing sustainability projects with a
            focus on local resources.

            Bat-Tzion Benjaminson
            Moshav Shokeda, Negev, Israel


            --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "eccentrik_idiot"
            <ridicully@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi all,
            >
            > I have been lurking around here for a while looking at all the
            > fascinating discoveries on this forum. Currently I am taking a
            > course on Millenium Villages Project in Africa. The project is
            > spearheaded by the Earth Institute of Columbia University and
            > focuses on using appropriate technologies and other means to help
            > African villages get out of the poverty trap, as a bottom-up
            > approach to sustainable development. One major focus area is on
            > helping small farmers raise agricultural productivity. The
            > scientists who are working on this project advocate use of
            > appropriate amounts of chemical fertilizers combined with organic
            > fertilizers and leguminous tree stands. The priority is
            restoration
            > of soil fertility (depleted after many cycles of crop production
            > without any inputs). There is a lot of controversy on the
            program's
            > high subsidy for chemical fertilizer supply and potential
            > environmental impacts, but my professor justified it by saying
            that
            > 1) leaching is not a problem when only small amounts of chemical
            > fertilizers are added, and in fact soil erosion is a more severe
            > problem when there is nothing to hold the soil, and 2) there is
            > limited organic matter for use as fertilizers around, and 3)
            > leguminous trees grow too slowly, and 4) plants respond the same
            way
            > to organic and chemical fertilizers.
            >
            > He also said that organic farming is not truly sustainable, since
            > farmers have to spread phosphate rocks on the soil, which is not
            > sustainable. The price of the crops is also too high to alleviate
            > the hunger problem in Africa. Manure is said to be not a good
            source
            > of potassium because of the high leaching rate.
            >
            > I'm just wondering how Fukuoka-style natural farming might address
            > these problems? I read about Fukuoka's ideas about reforestation
            > in "Road back to Paradise". Does anyone know whether there's any
            > follow-up on that and whether it is effective or not?
            >
          • Etem Tezcan
            As a quickgrowing and heat resistant legume, you may try cowpeas, http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/cowpea.html which is a native plant of Africa. I have
            Message 5 of 29 , Nov 13, 2006
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              As a quickgrowing and heat resistant legume, you may try cowpeas,

              http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/cowpea.html

              which is a native plant of Africa. I have read papers saying that it

              can fix upto 200 kg nitrogen per hectare if inoculated properly.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • eccentrik_idiot
              Thanks a lot! I will check out these two books. They look really interesting! Has anyone tried the methods in Africa? Are they successful? (I know Fukuoka
              Message 6 of 29 , Nov 13, 2006
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                Thanks a lot!
                I will check out these two books. They look really interesting!
                Has anyone tried the methods in Africa? Are they successful?
                (I know Fukuoka encouraged planting of daikons... sounds a little
                weird to me...)
                Or are organic methods regarded as luxuries still? Maybe farmers
                can't afford to plant too many trees because they shade out maize
                (the staple crop).

                Flora

                --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "btbenj" <btbenj@...> wrote:
                >
                > Shalom from Israel
                > You have the option of using non-tree legumes--beans, peas, clover,
                > etc. or other locally suited cover crops to raise soil fertility.
                > These work more quickly than trees. I am not well versed in Fukuoka
                > so others on this forum could also tell you what he would have said
                > about it.
                > Meanwhile I want to call your attention to two books written by my
                > mentor Dr. Elaine Solowey that you may find very useful in your
                > project.
                > One is titled "Small Steps Toward Abundance;Crops for a More
                > Sustainable Agriculture" in which she profiles a number of useful
                > crops, many of which will grow in very harsh conditions.
                > The second, which was just published a few months ago, is
                > titled "Supping at God's Table; A Handbook for the Domestication of
                > Wild Trees for Food and Fodder." It is this second one that may
                > prove most immediately useful to you in adjusting your professor's
                > attitude toward biological resources, far beyond the issue of
                > organic vs. chemical fertilizers.
                >
                > In this book Elaine asks some hard questions for those who would go
                > to Africa and help local people do agriculture. She says "could it
                > be, for instance, that the solution to African hunger will be found
                > in African plants?" The key is her understanding that LOCAL,
                > MULTIPURPOSE trees can provide a multitude of products, including
                > food, medicine, fodder, fuel, resins, rare substances, and so
                forth,
                > providing not only the basics for daily nutrition, but also the
                > basis of participation in a money or barter economy. Compared to
                > field crops like maize that are being grown under the Millenium
                > project, trees provide so much more with so much less input and
                > labor. It would be worthwhile to study all the trees that are
                > probAbly already being utilized in the wild to some degree by the
                > local people, and then to encourage their propagation and more
                > widespread use.
                >
                > Sorry for the slightly off-topic answer, but please check out these
                > books as resources for designing sustainability projects with a
                > focus on local resources.
                >
                > Bat-Tzion Benjaminson
                > Moshav Shokeda, Negev, Israel
                >
                >
                > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "eccentrik_idiot"
                > <ridicully@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Hi all,
                > >
                > > I have been lurking around here for a while looking at all the
                > > fascinating discoveries on this forum. Currently I am taking a
                > > course on Millenium Villages Project in Africa. The project is
                > > spearheaded by the Earth Institute of Columbia University and
                > > focuses on using appropriate technologies and other means to help
                > > African villages get out of the poverty trap, as a bottom-up
                > > approach to sustainable development. One major focus area is on
                > > helping small farmers raise agricultural productivity. The
                > > scientists who are working on this project advocate use of
                > > appropriate amounts of chemical fertilizers combined with organic
                > > fertilizers and leguminous tree stands. The priority is
                > restoration
                > > of soil fertility (depleted after many cycles of crop production
                > > without any inputs). There is a lot of controversy on the
                > program's
                > > high subsidy for chemical fertilizer supply and potential
                > > environmental impacts, but my professor justified it by saying
                > that
                > > 1) leaching is not a problem when only small amounts of chemical
                > > fertilizers are added, and in fact soil erosion is a more severe
                > > problem when there is nothing to hold the soil, and 2) there is
                > > limited organic matter for use as fertilizers around, and 3)
                > > leguminous trees grow too slowly, and 4) plants respond the same
                > way
                > > to organic and chemical fertilizers.
                > >
                > > He also said that organic farming is not truly sustainable, since
                > > farmers have to spread phosphate rocks on the soil, which is not
                > > sustainable. The price of the crops is also too high to alleviate
                > > the hunger problem in Africa. Manure is said to be not a good
                > source
                > > of potassium because of the high leaching rate.
                > >
                > > I'm just wondering how Fukuoka-style natural farming might
                address
                > > these problems? I read about Fukuoka's ideas about reforestation
                > > in "Road back to Paradise". Does anyone know whether there's any
                > > follow-up on that and whether it is effective or not?
                > >
                >
              • John Warner
                Hello Flora and list members, Indeed, manufactured fertilizers are the fastest and at the present time the most cost effective way to jump start soil. Your
                Message 7 of 29 , Nov 13, 2006
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                  Hello Flora and list members,

                  Indeed, manufactured fertilizers are the fastest and at the present time the most cost effective way to jump start soil. Your professor is correct.

                  Contrary to the opinion of many, manufactured fertilizers increase soil organic matter rather than deplete it if, during the intital soil building period, the land is not heavily cropped and no-tillage or conservation tillage is practiced. Given present costs and the anticipated peaks in world oil and gas production, there is no better or higher use for the world's remaining fossil energy--most certainly a higher use than for tractor fuel--than manufactured fertilizer.

                  This can be easily verified by anyone with a lawn or pasture on poorly productive soil that can remain untilled or uncropped for a while. Just toss out a prudent quantity on part of it and see what happens. [Careful here to not unfavorably influence pH by using inappropriate forms of nitrogen--urea and sulfates acidify and nitrates move pH toward basic.] Fertilized areas may produce several times the biomass of depleted land. Earthworm populations will leap with increased food supply if soil is not made too acid for them. Even if only nitrogen alone is used, organic acids may make other nutrients more available and plant roots in the greener, fertilized area will extend deeper into the soil effectively mining other nutrients from below.

                  For sure, Mr Fukuoka would not approve of this but time is running out as we anticipate the effects of global climate change, peak oil and gas, the collapse of the United States' economic bubble and the possibility of global warfare, including the use of nukes, as the US initiated resource wars spread out of the Middle East.

                  If one is lucky enough to have a piece of land that needs fixing, my advice is to do it in the fastest, cheapest and most expedient way. Peak food and water are probably with us right now. Save organic principles for later when we'll all be "organic" whether we like it or not or are ready or not.

                  As a realtively sustainable practice I advocate using land managed in Mr. Fukuoka's manner for mulch gathering as well as the direct gathering of food. Mulch is applied to intensive beds in a manner described in our website at

                  http://www.wholesystemsag.org

                  which I invite you to visit. If nutrient "leakage" is not considered, intensive beds will produce food on close to a pound for pound, calorie for calorie ratio to the mulch gathered and applied to the beds. This in accordance with the principle of the conservation of matter and energy taught in every high school class in physical science.

                  Best wishes and good growing to all of you.

                  John Warner near Fresno, California
                  Hand scale market growers since 1996




                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Robert Monie
                  Hi Flora, Leguminous plants may fix nitrogen, but that by no means makes them the easiest plants to grow. White clover, for instance, is notoriously hard to
                  Message 8 of 29 , Nov 13, 2006
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                    Hi Flora,

                    Leguminous plants may fix nitrogen, but that by no means makes them the "easiest" plants to grow. White clover, for instance, is notoriously hard to establish in a smooth even bed. It tends to grow spordaically in patches on all but the best (that is best for clover) soils. In nature, non-leguminous grasses, forbes, and "weeds" are more likely to volunteer and establish themselves in fields (especially worn-out fields) than leguminous plants are.

                    If Fukuoka has one quality, it is a very sharp eye for what actually wants to be in the field at a given time. You need to scan your field with a Fukuokan eye, looking for signs of plant life, however small and seemingly unpromising--and take steps to augment and complement them. Your professor friend may be missing the whole point. Imagine a dialog between the Earth (or that little patch of the Earth with which you are concerned) and her:

                    Earth: "Here is a 1 inch high dandelion next to a 2 inch high plantain, and a 4 inch
                    chicory is growing across from them."

                    Professor: "There is nothing here but bare earth and a few barely visible, useless weeds; we'll have to apply fertilizer at once."

                    Earth: "If you gave me some buckwheat, I might sprout it; it might be too warm here for ryegrass, but you could try some. Sudan grass or vetiver grass might be just what the doctor ordered or sorghum, and I might surprise you by sending up some nice stalks of phacelia, if you sowed the seeds."

                    Professor: "What nonsense! You obviously need a stiff dose of petrol-based nitrogen immediately."

                    Earth: "Perhaps (gag!), but a nice serving of soymeal (very high in nitrogen but also containing other plant nutrients and much nicer to microorganisms in the rhyzosphere) might be more tasty. And, what's the big hurry? Don't you know it may take a few years to build up humus and topsoil?

                    If you look carefully, very little soil in completely bare. Something (usually not legumes) is already growing there. You can find that something's plant relatives and sow that or you can try to use a natural fertilizer like soymeal or alfalfa meal that will build up the soil a little and not interfere too much with the microbial life around the roots.

                    My own experience growing things in the past few years suggests that three main factors influencing the growth of humus in soil (or at least in the south Louisiana, USA soil where I live) are good calcium content (neither too much nor too little), the prevalance of inulin-containing roots (such as chicory, dandelion, Jerusalem artichoke, yacon, onions), and finally deep-burrowing legumous roots such as red clover and sweet yellow clover. The legimuous roots do not grow well until the calcium content is right and the grasses and forbes necessary for inulin have flourished. You may have to cultivate the green weeds, grasses and forbes for a few years before the legumes will do anything. Commercial oil-based fertilizer is unnecessary and less than optimal in even the most depleted soils. The nitrogen in soymeal is as available as the nitrogen in any commerical fertilizer. (Warning: when soymeal gets wet, for the first few days it will attract hoards of flies and other
                    swarming creatures, and smell about as bad as horse manure. It usually degrades quickly enough so that the problem subsides in a week or so. But I always cover soymeal with a least an inch of soil or fully matured compost to avoid the smell and bugs.)

                    The short white clover cover crops (Dutch clover, New Zealand, or Ladino) that Fukuoka made famous are not really STARTER crops in most soil. They are the END PRODUCT of a very sophisticated system of soil building that he used; they are like icing on the cake. First you have to make the cake! The old ley farmers of England thought that it took about 4 years to make that "cake." They were lucky enough to begin farming land that was probably not as wasted as your African land, but there may still be much to learn from their approach. They planted a seed mix similar to that currently offered as a "Herbal Pasture Mix" by Peaceful Valley Seeds. (See http://www.groworganic.com .) This mix included perenninal ryegrass, Akaroa orchardgrass, Italian ryegrass, Timothy grass, burnet, yarrow, lucrene, plantain, and fennel among other things). By trial and error the ley farmers tended to add more chicory, dandelion and bunchgrasses with long roots (such as orchard grass) and
                    without being aware of it (so far as I know) thereby increased the inulin content of the soil. They also usually "limed" the land, to increase the calcium content (which they were very much aware of). .
                    The ley farmers found that the big-rooted legumes like red clover and sweet perennial yellow clover, once they got the right nourishment, would eventually plow through the soil. Together with the grasses and forbes, these plants eventually provided the ingredients necessary for humus build-up (calcium, inulin, protein-roots, nurtients and exudates for the microorganisms that do most of the work around the root-hairs).

                    Something like this working ley team is surely available on your land; by observation and trial and error you have to find your own calcium, inulin, and protein sources--as well as ways to get the nitrogen-fixers (legumes like clovers) and non-legumes (such as indigo, New Jersey tea plant, gumi shrub) to grow, and let nature build humus. I doubt that petrol-based nitrogen is the key to such progess.

                    Best wishes,

                    Bob Monie
                    Zone 8
                    After the Flood--in New Orleans

                    eccentrik_idiot <ridicully@...> wrote:
                    My professor said that the soil in those African villages is so
                    depleted of nutrients that it is basically "dead". They can't even
                    get the leguminous plants to grow on it without adding chemical
                    fertilizers.
                    After adding the fertilizers, there's actually a reduction in
                    leaching rate because the leguminous trees can hold the soil (the
                    major source of water pollution in those parts of Africa is soil
                    erosion).
                    I'm just wondering if Fukuoka's method has some more natural and
                    less costly way.

                    Flora





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Robert Monie
                    Hi Flora, Leguminous plants may fix nitrogen, but that by no means makes them the easiest plants to grow. White clover, for instance, is notoriously hard to
                    Message 9 of 29 , Nov 13, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Hi Flora,

                      Leguminous plants may fix nitrogen, but that by no means makes them the "easiest" plants to grow. White clover, for instance, is notoriously hard to establish in a smooth even bed. It tends to grow spordaically in patches on all but the best (that is best for clover) soils. In nature, non-leguminous grasses, forbes, and "weeds" are more likely to volunteer and establish themselves in fields (especially worn-out fields) than leguminous plants are.

                      If Fukuoka has one quality, it is a very sharp eye for what actually wants to be in the field at a given time. You need to scan your field with a Fukuokan eye, looking for signs of plant life, however small and seemingly unpromising--and take steps to augment and complement them. Your professor friend may be missing the whole point. Imagine a dialog between the Earth (or that little patch of the Earth with which you are concerned) and her:

                      Earth: "Here is a 1 inch high dandelion next to a 2 inch high plantain, and a 4 inch
                      chicory is growing across from them."

                      Professor: "There is nothing here but bare earth and a few barely visible, useless weeds; we'll have to apply fertilizer at once."

                      Earth: "If you gave me some buckwheat, I might sprout it; it might be too warm here for ryegrass, but you could try some. Sudan grass or vetiver grass might be just what the doctor ordered or sorghum, and I might surprise you by sending up some nice stalks of phacelia, if you sowed the seeds."

                      Professor: "What nonsense! You obviously need a stiff dose of petrol-based nitrogen immediately."

                      Earth: "Perhaps (gag!), but a nice serving of soymeal (very high in nitrogen but also containing other plant nutrients and much nicer to microorganisms in the rhyzosphere) might be more tasty. And, what's the big hurry? Don't you know it may take a few years to build up humus and topsoil?

                      If you look carefully, very little soil in completely bare. Something (usually not legumes) is already growing there. You can find that something's plant relatives and sow that or you can try to use a natural fertilizer like soymeal or alfalfa meal that will build up the soil a little and not interfere too much with the microbial life around the roots.

                      My own experience growing things in the past few years suggests that three main factors influencing the growth of humus in soil (or at least in the south Louisiana, USA soil where I live) are good calcium content (neither too much nor too little), the prevalance of inulin-containing roots (such as chicory, dandelion, Jerusalem artichoke, yacon, onions), and finally deep-burrowing legumous roots such as red clover and sweet yellow clover. The legimuous roots do not grow well until the calcium content is right and the grasses and forbes necessary for inulin have flourished. You may have to cultivate the green weeds, grasses and forbes for a few years before the legumes will do anything. Commercial oil-based fertilizer is unnecessary and less than optimal in even the most depleted soils. The nitrogen in soymeal is as available as the nitrogen in any commerical fertilizer. (Warning: when soymeal gets wet, for the first few days it will attract hoards of flies and other
                      swarming creatures, and smell about as bad as horse manure. It usually degrades quickly enough so that the problem subsides in a week or so. But I always cover soymeal with a least an inch of soil or fully matured compost to avoid the smell and bugs.)

                      The short white clover cover crops (Dutch clover, New Zealand, or Ladino) that Fukuoka made famous are not really STARTER crops in most soil. They are the END PRODUCT of a very sophisticated system of soil building that he used; they are like icing on the cake. First you have to make the cake! The old ley farmers of England thought that it took about 4 years to make that "cake." They were lucky enough to begin farming land that was probably not as wasted as your African land, but there may still be much to learn from their approach. They planted a seed mix similar to that currently offered as a "Herbal Pasture Mix" by Peaceful Valley Seeds. (See http://www.groworganic.com .) This mix included perenninal ryegrass, Akaroa orchardgrass, Italian ryegrass, Timothy grass, burnet, yarrow, lucrene, plantain, and fennel among other things). By trial and error the ley farmers tended to add more chicory, dandelion and bunchgrasses with long roots (such as orchard grass) and
                      without being aware of it (so far as I know) thereby increased the inulin content of the soil. They also usually "limed" the land, to increase the calcium content (which they were very much aware of). .
                      The ley farmers found that the big-rooted legumes like red clover and sweet perennial yellow clover, once they got the right nourishment, would eventually plow through the soil. Together with the grasses and forbes, these plants eventually provided the ingredients necessary for humus build-up (calcium, inulin, protein-roots, nurtients and exudates for the microorganisms that do most of the work around the root-hairs).

                      Something like this working ley team is surely available on your land; by observation and trial and error you have to find your own calcium, inulin, and protein sources--as well as ways to get the nitrogen-fixers (legumes like clovers) and non-legumes (such as indigo, New Jersey tea plant, gumi shrub) to grow, and let nature build humus. I doubt that petrol-based nitrogen is the key to such progess.

                      Best wishes,

                      Bob Monie
                      Zone 8
                      After the Flood--in New Orleans

                      eccentrik_idiot <ridicully@...> wrote:
                      My professor said that the soil in those African villages is so
                      depleted of nutrients that it is basically "dead". They can't even
                      get the leguminous plants to grow on it without adding chemical
                      fertilizers.
                      After adding the fertilizers, there's actually a reduction in
                      leaching rate because the leguminous trees can hold the soil (the
                      major source of water pollution in those parts of Africa is soil
                      erosion).
                      I'm just wondering if Fukuoka's method has some more natural and
                      less costly way.

                      Flora





                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry
                      hello John By whipping an exhausted horse , you can for sure makes it move its butt for a while and ...you will have to walk later on . Fertilisers especially
                      Message 10 of 29 , Nov 13, 2006
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                        hello John

                        By whipping an exhausted horse , you can for sure makes it move its butt for a while and ...you will have to walk later on .
                        Fertilisers especially synthetised ones are not able to mimic the "juices of the earth "in their complexity , diversity , timing and balance of nutrients . so whatever you will supply will create "holes" in time or space in supply of other nutrients ( like blocking absorptions ).
                        it is true for the soil as it is true for supplementing one's deficient diet with some nutrients that could be lacking.

                        there is no other shortcut than letting the plants that want to grow ( or their analogs in ecological function ) at any specific time to do their job .
                        the result will be slower at first but a durable increase in fertility will occur. ( the same way that tilling favorise the growth at first because of release of nutrients by bacterias , but slow down after . naturally plants grow slow at first then explode toward maturity)
                        did earth started as a desert.?
                        earth knows no time as we experience it.( everything comes at its own pace in harmony with what the whole system need).
                        the collapse of a system of things that rely on quick effects ( oil based ) is part of the earth processes and will only benefit life on earth.

                        the quicker we fall in harmony with the rythme of nature , the happier and less fearfull we will becomes.
                        i am curious of how it lands in you .
                        jean-claude




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Gloria C. Baikauskas
                        Here in Texas where I now live my soil was dead according to soil tests. This is a common problem here after being chemically farmed for so many years. I
                        Message 11 of 29 , Nov 13, 2006
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                          Here in Texas where I now live my soil was dead according to soil
                          tests. This is a common problem here after being chemically farmed for
                          so many years. I tried to fix it organically...amending the soil with
                          this and that that was recommended. It helped, but still it was
                          lacking that which would have made the plants happy and unstressed.
                          That is necessary so that disease and insects do not attack them.

                          So...I gulped hard and let the gardens go back to nature. Then I did
                          what Emilia Hazelip told me to do so often...I observed. Each year I
                          noticed that the weeds changed out as they healed the land. In the
                          areas where I had amended they grew more richly than where I had done
                          nothing. I have 3 acres....so little of it was amended...just some
                          dedicated beds.

                          I also tried cover crops like hairy vetch. They did grow and thickly,
                          but I didn't try to grow them the first year. So I can't say if they
                          would have grown without help then as you would have to try this year.

                          I honestly think the soil is better where I did nothing..did not
                          interfere at all. You see it comes back on its own. At first nothing
                          would grow...not even weeds. Then the Johnson grass grew and grew.
                          Next dandelions arrived. Slowly wildflowers began to show themselves
                          as the birds dropped the seeds....and finally hackberry trees and
                          native elms showed up. I did not mow, so no interference presented
                          itself to this process.

                          In I think the second year in the one large dedicated bed Queen Anne's
                          Lace showed up and annihilated much of the garden..all but the largest
                          foundation plants...because they shade out everything that grows
                          beneath them so totally. Still I waited and let Nature take its
                          course. The Queen Anne's Lace grew back for a couple of years, but
                          this year it grew slightly...but did not grow large. I cut it off at
                          the soil level and waited. Various weeds have grown in there this
                          year, but I started cutting them off at the soil level and leaving them
                          on top of the soil. I also started adding some kitchen scraps now and
                          then. My chickens are free ranging, but I have only 3 at the moment,
                          so their manure is most likely negligible in this one bed.

                          What makes it so remarkable is that the soil is so much better
                          now...and I have done almost nothing. The problem as I see it is that
                          people are impatient. They want crops now...not in several years.

                          My land is not totally healed...but it is no longer dead either. Some
                          areas are further ahead of the others. We have had drought for the
                          last 2 years, too, which should have made it worse, but the weeds grew
                          anyway. Different weeds. I don't know all of their names. I need I
                          suppose to learn them. To me they are not unwanted. They are the
                          angels this place needed much more than the more civilized plants folks
                          want to see growing.

                          I don't know how long this process takes. I am still watching it
                          happen. I know many say the land will not heal itself. I know that is
                          probably true in some areas. I also know that in many of those areas
                          people mow....people will dig and plow in plant material thinking they
                          are helping. They aren't, though, since they are removing the
                          necessary carbon for life in that soil. What is missing in the soil is
                          far more than nitrogen. Carbon must be there, too. That can come from
                          amending, or it can come from decomposing materials, and fire.

                          Your professor only makes the whole process more impossible by his
                          interference. I don't know how to convince him otherwise. He wants
                          instant results. He can't have them. It is not how Nature works.

                          Gloria, Texas


                          --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "eccentrik_idiot"
                          <ridicully@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > My professor said that the soil in those African villages is so
                          > depleted of nutrients that it is basically "dead". They can't even
                          > get the leguminous plants to grow on it without adding chemical
                          > fertilizers.
                          > After adding the fertilizers, there's actually a reduction in
                          > leaching rate because the leguminous trees can hold the soil (the
                          > major source of water pollution in those parts of Africa is soil
                          > erosion).
                          > I'm just wondering if Fukuoka's method has some more natural and
                          > less costly way of jump-starting the plants...
                          >
                          > Flora
                          >
                        • Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry
                          gloria i am very touch by your attitude during your learning process . it sound that you are willing to loose your mind and come back to your senses. to which
                          Message 12 of 29 , Nov 13, 2006
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                            gloria
                            i am very touch by your attitude during your learning process .
                            it sound that you are willing to
                            loose your mind and come back to your senses.
                            to which you add your gratitude for what is .
                            thank you it meet my need for respect to nature and understanding or where lie the work needed to be done .

                            the only weeds there is are in our minds .

                            PS queen anne's lace are very tasty and nutritious . in my former depleted meadow they have been determinant in bringing back some fertility , after 3 years of wild growth they gently surrendered to other plants while the test plot was still wanting badly, them to do their work ,10 years later this annually mowed field is still full of queen anne's lace
                            jean-claude



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • eccentrik_idiot
                            Thanks a lot to everyone for all this helpful and insightful input! I guess one thing I need to find out is whether there is a point after using chemical
                            Message 13 of 29 , Nov 14, 2006
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                              Thanks a lot to everyone for all this helpful and insightful input!

                              I guess one thing I need to find out is whether there is a point
                              after using chemical fertilizers to "jump-start" soil when the
                              farmer can stop using fertilizers altogether and let the system be
                              self-sustaining. I will ask my professor when I see him.

                              It's probably not a good idea if the soil gets addicted to chemicals!
                              Otherwise, if a bit of chemical fertilizers are needed to get the
                              ball rolling, it may be a labor-saving idea in Africa, especially
                              since so many people have fallen sick because of AIDS and have no
                              energy to work their fields.

                              I have got "Small Steps Toward Abundance;Crops for a More
                              Sustainable Agriculture" from my library... now reading it!

                              Best,
                              Flora

                              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude
                              Catry" <instinct@...> wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > gloria
                              > i am very touch by your attitude during your learning process .
                              > it sound that you are willing to
                              > loose your mind and come back to your senses.
                              > to which you add your gratitude for what is .
                              > thank you it meet my need for respect to nature and
                              understanding or where lie the work needed to be done .
                              >
                              > the only weeds there is are in our minds .
                              >
                              > PS queen anne's lace are very tasty and nutritious . in my
                              former depleted meadow they have been determinant in bringing back
                              some fertility , after 3 years of wild growth they gently
                              surrendered to other plants while the test plot was still wanting
                              badly, them to do their work ,10 years later this annually mowed
                              field is still full of queen anne's lace
                              > jean-claude
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                            • eccentrik_idiot
                              I put an article called Sanchez- Soil Fertility and Hunger in Africa in the Files Section. You can take a look if you are interested. It is only about 2
                              Message 14 of 29 , Nov 14, 2006
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                                I put an article called "Sanchez- Soil Fertility and Hunger in
                                Africa" in the Files Section. You can take a look if you are
                                interested. It is only about 2 pages.
                                It basically sums up everything my professor said!

                                Best,
                                Flora


                                --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude
                                Catry" <instinct@...> wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                > gloria
                                > i am very touch by your attitude during your learning process .
                                > it sound that you are willing to
                                > loose your mind and come back to your senses.
                                > to which you add your gratitude for what is .
                                > thank you it meet my need for respect to nature and
                                understanding or where lie the work needed to be done .
                                >
                                > the only weeds there is are in our minds .
                                >
                                > PS queen anne's lace are very tasty and nutritious . in my
                                former depleted meadow they have been determinant in bringing back
                                some fertility , after 3 years of wild growth they gently
                                surrendered to other plants while the test plot was still wanting
                                badly, them to do their work ,10 years later this annually mowed
                                field is still full of queen anne's lace
                                > jean-claude
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                              • Matthew Bond
                                Chemical fertilisers deplete the top soil. If you have top soil, these fertilisers work on the watery element of the plant making it bigger in size but there
                                Message 15 of 29 , Nov 14, 2006
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                                  Chemical fertilisers deplete the top soil. If you have top soil,
                                  these fertilisers work on the watery element of the plant making it
                                  bigger in size but there is no proportional increase in the presence
                                  of trace elements and the human body values food according to trace
                                  elements, not according to how bulky the food is. Plants may very
                                  well react the same way to chemical fertilisers as they do to
                                  organic ones but the soil does not. If you want to deplete the top
                                  soil, go for it! These farmers don't have acres upon acres that
                                  they can just let lie fallow until nature rejuvinates them again,
                                  they need a system which takes into account the fact that they need
                                  a particular area every single year!

                                  Now please don't anyone take this the wrong way as I value
                                  everyone's input here and their experience but now I will raise the
                                  spectre of the compost which is not intended as an attack on
                                  Fukuoka's methods but an alternative to the accepted applicability
                                  thereof. I believe there is value in all techniques of organic
                                  farming and a combination of all ideas in varying degrees is
                                  necessary according to the conditions of the particular area you are
                                  working in. I don't think there is any particular way that is
                                  applicable to every part of the world as well as urban and rural
                                  areas. Composting is vital in urban areas because otherwise we
                                  would just have huge breeding grounds for rats - the rate at which
                                  kitchen scraps naturally decay is not fast enough for acceptable
                                  hygiene standards. You can get away with not composting in rural
                                  areas but not in urban areas unless you're quite happy to continue
                                  being unsustainable and creating landfill. Composting is a method
                                  for effective waste management.

                                  I'm still new to this so I would be interested to know how Fukuoka
                                  deals with kitchen scraps. Does he distribute them far from the
                                  house out in the fields? Does he address urban vs rural scenarios?

                                  Again, I would like to point out that I value Fukuoka's methods and
                                  I would like to learn more about them even though I do not think
                                  they are universally applicable to every part of the world.

                                  Matthew.
                                  --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "eccentrik_idiot"
                                  <ridicully@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Hi all,
                                  >
                                  > I have been lurking around here for a while looking at all the
                                  > fascinating discoveries on this forum. Currently I am taking a
                                  > course on Millenium Villages Project in Africa. The project is
                                  > spearheaded by the Earth Institute of Columbia University and
                                  > focuses on using appropriate technologies and other means to help
                                  > African villages get out of the poverty trap, as a bottom-up
                                  > approach to sustainable development. One major focus area is on
                                  > helping small farmers raise agricultural productivity. The
                                  > scientists who are working on this project advocate use of
                                  > appropriate amounts of chemical fertilizers combined with organic
                                  > fertilizers and leguminous tree stands. The priority is
                                  restoration
                                  > of soil fertility (depleted after many cycles of crop production
                                  > without any inputs). There is a lot of controversy on the
                                  program's
                                  > high subsidy for chemical fertilizer supply and potential
                                  > environmental impacts, but my professor justified it by saying
                                  that
                                  > 1) leaching is not a problem when only small amounts of chemical
                                  > fertilizers are added, and in fact soil erosion is a more severe
                                  > problem when there is nothing to hold the soil, and 2) there is
                                  > limited organic matter for use as fertilizers around, and 3)
                                  > leguminous trees grow too slowly, and 4) plants respond the same
                                  way
                                  > to organic and chemical fertilizers.
                                  >
                                  > He also said that organic farming is not truly sustainable, since
                                  > farmers have to spread phosphate rocks on the soil, which is not
                                  > sustainable. The price of the crops is also too high to alleviate
                                  > the hunger problem in Africa. Manure is said to be not a good
                                  source
                                  > of potassium because of the high leaching rate.
                                  >
                                  > I'm just wondering how Fukuoka-style natural farming might address
                                  > these problems? I read about Fukuoka's ideas about reforestation
                                  > in "Road back to Paradise". Does anyone know whether there's any
                                  > follow-up on that and whether it is effective or not?
                                  >
                                • Etem Tezcan
                                  A response for whether to make compost on urban areas by Matthew Bond: In Natural Farming, p90, it says that I firmly believe that, while compost itself is
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Nov 15, 2006
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                                    A response for whether to make compost on urban areas by Matthew Bond:





                                    In Natural Farming, p90, it says that

                                    "I firmly believe that, while compost itself is not without value, the
                                    composting of organic materials is fundamentally useless"

                                    And on One straw, p40 there is a note which says

                                    "Mr.Fukuoka makes compost of his wood ashes and other organic household
                                    wastes. He applies this to his small kitchen garden"



                                    I believe these two sentences advise that compost making is OK in urban
                                    areas



                                    Etem













                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Gloria C. Baikauskas
                                    Thank you, Jean Claude. Below is kind of a followup to what I wrote. Writing it made me go walking yesterday on my land. This is what it inspired me to
                                    Message 17 of 29 , Nov 15, 2006
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                                      Thank you, Jean Claude. Below is kind of a followup to what I
                                      wrote. Writing it made me go walking yesterday on my land. This is
                                      what it inspired me to write:

                                      Today I took a walkabout on the back half of my property....and onto
                                      my neighbor's property behind mine. See she mows hers all of the
                                      time. I wanted to see the differences. Didn't take a magnifying
                                      glass.

                                      I had walked up there through weeds happily growing...and weeds
                                      turned brown from the drought. I walked on thatch from weeds and
                                      wildflowers that grew last year. I didn't see my dirt beneath them.
                                      I did see sprouts of green winter weeds peeking their heads through
                                      the thatch. What I saw was life......growth.....the way it should
                                      be, even if it is not perfect.

                                      When I got to my neighbor's property I gasped. It has been 10 years,
                                      folks. Ten years! Her land was dirt....bare dirt with a very few
                                      brave tiny weeds now and then. I cringed thinking that it was desert
                                      here...on her property. The winds I knew were picking up her
                                      dirt/soil and blowing it to eternity. It was dry, too. The
                                      differences were astounding as I walked about.

                                      Which of us has done the right thing? You decide. Which one would
                                      you choose after reading of my experience?

                                      Gloria, Texas
                                      US zone 8a




                                      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude
                                      Catry" <instinct@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > gloria
                                      > i am very touch by your attitude during your learning process .
                                      > it sound that you are willing to
                                      > loose your mind and come back to your senses.
                                      > to which you add your gratitude for what is .
                                      > thank you it meet my need for respect to nature and understanding
                                      or where lie the work needed to be done .
                                      >
                                      > the only weeds there is are in our minds .
                                      >
                                      > PS queen anne's lace are very tasty and nutritious . in my
                                      former depleted meadow they have been determinant in bringing back
                                      some fertility , after 3 years of wild growth they gently surrendered
                                      to other plants while the test plot was still wanting badly, them to
                                      do their work ,10 years later this annually mowed field is still
                                      full of queen anne's lace
                                      > jean-claude
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      >
                                    • Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry
                                      Message 18 of 29 , Nov 15, 2006
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                                        < I'm still new to this so I would be interested to know how Fukuoka
                                        deals with kitchen scraps. Does he distribute them far from the
                                        house out in the fields?>

                                        he was probably composting them close to the kichen aera as he is not against composting , he doesn't see the advantage of working hard at making compost piles ( on a farm scale ) when better result can be obtained growing and rotting the fertiliser on the spot .with minimum effort and less waste of the energy contained in the organic matter.
                                        the advantage of kitchen compost is an aestethic and convenience one , no more . in urban aera it is also a recycling issue as a lot of organic matter go wasted for good .
                                        my self i don't compost because everything from the kitchen goes to the chickens who do the job for me ( composting on the surface )/
                                        jean-claude

                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry
                                        Again, I would like to point out that I value Fukuoka s methods and I would like to learn more about them even though I do not think they are universally
                                        Message 19 of 29 , Nov 15, 2006
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                                          Again, I would like to point out that I value Fukuoka's methods and
                                          I would like to learn more about them even though I do not think
                                          they are universally applicable to every part of the world.
                                          ther is a confusion about masanobu fukuoka' s method .
                                          it is not a technic and certainly not reduced to the technics he developped himself for his land , it is an attitude and an understanding of the interdependance of all natural phenomenons. humans being only one element of this dance not the doer of the dance .
                                          so his method is non only actually applicable to the world but a necessarry endeavor to heal our relationship to the earth ( note that i am not saying healing the earth )
                                          " nature knows thousands of diseases and yet none "
                                          jean-claude



                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • Andrew E Fister
                                          Excellent point, Jean-claude! Finally, the real dirt on Fukuoka s way. Andrew Fister Wandafar Sanctuary Glasgow, KY, USA On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 19:28:53 -0800
                                          Message 20 of 29 , Nov 16, 2006
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                                            Excellent point, Jean-claude! Finally, the real dirt on Fukuoka's way.

                                            Andrew Fister
                                            Wandafar Sanctuary
                                            Glasgow, KY, USA



                                            On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 19:28:53 -0800 "Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry"
                                            <instinct@...> writes:
                                            Again, I would like to point out that I value Fukuoka's methods and
                                            I would like to learn more about them even though I do not think
                                            they are universally applicable to every part of the world.
                                            ther is a confusion about masanobu fukuoka' s method .
                                            it is not a technic and certainly not reduced to the technics he
                                            developped himself for his land , it is an attitude and an understanding
                                            of the interdependance of all natural phenomenons. humans being only one
                                            element of this dance not the doer of the dance .
                                            so his method is non only actually applicable to the world but a
                                            necessarry endeavor to heal our relationship to the earth ( note that i
                                            am not saying healing the earth )
                                            " nature knows thousands of diseases and yet none "
                                            jean-claude

                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          • Matthew Bond
                                            Thank-you, Jean Claude. Merci beaucoup. Now I get it - j y suis! ... and ... developped himself for his land , it is an attitude and an understanding of the
                                            Message 21 of 29 , Nov 16, 2006
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                                              Thank-you, Jean Claude. Merci beaucoup. Now I get it - j'y suis!

                                              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude
                                              Catry" <instinct@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > Again, I would like to point out that I value Fukuoka's methods
                                              and
                                              > I would like to learn more about them even though I do not think
                                              > they are universally applicable to every part of the world.
                                              > ther is a confusion about masanobu fukuoka' s method .
                                              > it is not a technic and certainly not reduced to the technics he
                                              developped himself for his land , it is an attitude and an
                                              understanding of the interdependance of all natural phenomenons.
                                              humans being only one element of this dance not the doer of the
                                              dance .
                                              > so his method is non only actually applicable to the world but a
                                              necessarry endeavor to heal our relationship to the earth ( note
                                              that i am not saying healing the earth )
                                              > " nature knows thousands of diseases and yet none "
                                              > jean-claude
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              >
                                            • linda
                                              I certainly agree with you and you have stated it well. linda ... From: Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry it is an attitude and an
                                              Message 22 of 29 , Nov 16, 2006
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                                                I certainly agree with you and you have stated it well.
                                                linda

                                                ----- Original Message -----
                                                From: "Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry" <instinct@...>


                                                it is an attitude and an understanding of the interdependance of all
                                                natural phenomenons. humans being only one element of this dance not the
                                                doer of the dance .
                                                > so his method is non only actually applicable to the world but a
                                                necessarry endeavor to heal our relationship to the earth ( note that i am
                                                not saying healing the earth )
                                                > " nature knows thousands of diseases and yet none "
                                              • eccentrik_idiot
                                                Thanks a lot jean-claude, your explanation makes a lot of sense. I had my Millenium Villages course yesterday and asked my professor about the long-term
                                                Message 23 of 29 , Nov 18, 2006
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                                                  Thanks a lot jean-claude, your explanation makes a lot of sense.

                                                  I had my Millenium Villages course yesterday and asked my professor
                                                  about the long-term feasibility of using chemical fertilizers in
                                                  Africa, and basically he does not see plans to stop using chemical
                                                  fertilizers anytime in the future. What he said was that when the
                                                  program withdraws its fertilizer subsidies, the villages will buy
                                                  the chemical fertilizers themselves because they have gotten
                                                  themselves out of the poverty trap and can afford buying stuff by
                                                  that time. When I asked him what would happen if they stop using
                                                  chemical fertilizers, he said "yields would go down." Also, the
                                                  Millenium Villages does not dictate a certain method to villagers,
                                                  but works with villagers to identify what they want most. Since the
                                                  villagers want chemical fertilizers (they have a very negative
                                                  opinion of food aid), the project helped them get fertilizers. And
                                                  that's basically it...

                                                  Yesterday I saw presentations by two agroforest experts working with
                                                  Millenium Villages in Kenya and Malawi, and both of them had very
                                                  positive views of chemical fertilizers (it's the greatest success of
                                                  the program so far) and were convinced that the African Green
                                                  Revolution is under way. In Malawi, the yield has increased hundreds
                                                  of percents due to chemical fertilizer application and imported
                                                  hybrid maize seeds (from Monsanto...). The hybrid maize is more
                                                  suited to African climate than traditional maize in some ways. For
                                                  example, it uses less water, and can deal with climate flunctuations
                                                  better. Secondly, it matures faster and reduces risks. When I asked
                                                  them why they don't plant indigenous drought-resistant crops like
                                                  millet instead, they said it's not practical since none of the
                                                  villagers want to eat things like millet and sorghum nowadays. I am
                                                  not sure whether hybrid maize uses less water than traditional
                                                  crops... does anyone know?

                                                  Improved yields in maize may also improve biodiversity and
                                                  livelihood security, since now that the villagers can feed
                                                  themselves they also want to plant some cash crops like cabbages and
                                                  groundnuts instead of maize monocrop. However, I do not know if all
                                                  this is just short-term speculation... I also fear Africa is going
                                                  down the same path everyone else is trying to backtrack nowadays,
                                                  but maybe the bottom line is that sustainability is a luxury good at
                                                  this stage.


                                                  --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Matthew Bond"
                                                  <m007j_1999@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > Thank-you, Jean Claude. Merci beaucoup. Now I get it - j'y suis!
                                                  >
                                                  > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ingrid Bauer / Jean-
                                                  Claude
                                                  > Catry" <instinct@> wrote:
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Again, I would like to point out that I value Fukuoka's methods
                                                  > and
                                                  > > I would like to learn more about them even though I do not
                                                  think
                                                  > > they are universally applicable to every part of the world.
                                                  > > ther is a confusion about masanobu fukuoka' s method .
                                                  > > it is not a technic and certainly not reduced to the technics he
                                                  > developped himself for his land , it is an attitude and an
                                                  > understanding of the interdependance of all natural phenomenons.
                                                  > humans being only one element of this dance not the doer of the
                                                  > dance .
                                                  > > so his method is non only actually applicable to the world but a
                                                  > necessarry endeavor to heal our relationship to the earth ( note
                                                  > that i am not saying healing the earth )
                                                  > > " nature knows thousands of diseases and yet none "
                                                  > > jean-claude
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                  > >
                                                  >
                                                • Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , Nov 19, 2006
                                                  • 0 Attachment
                                                    < What he said was that when the
                                                    program withdraws its fertilizer subsidies, the villages will buy
                                                    the chemical fertilizers themselves because they have gotten
                                                    themselves out of the poverty trap and can afford buying stuff by
                                                    that time. When I asked him what would happen if they stop using
                                                    chemical fertilizers, he said "yields would go down." >

                                                    Drud dealer in the street do the same, they bait peoples into dependance then sale their crap .

                                                    what happens is that people loose their hability to secrete endorphine and other natural pleasure hormones and become dependant on substances exterior to the body to experience pleasure . the end result is an unavoidable lost of quality of life and hability to feel good on their own feet.
                                                    the soil life is no different , withdraw the chemicals and it experience withdrawal symptoms .
                                                    the "power" of addiction can be seen in so many aspects of our culture and its commerce .
                                                    More people spin off the center of nature and more this process takes its toll ...

                                                    more you center yourself in harmony with the flow of nature less addiction have power over you .

                                                    The reason Masanobu choose to help the poorest of the poorest , is because they have no chance to get off " the poverty trap" and so no hability to buy dreams . that makes them more receptive to the truth.

                                                    Track back the money trail behind those "generous help to the poor" and see !
                                                    ( i don't even say your professor is conscient of the role he play into this game, yet he is getting his reward )

                                                    soon enough, the rich will beg the poorest of all, to teach them about life without crutches.

                                                    jean-claude



                                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                  • Forest Shomer
                                                    My dear regional neighbor Jean-Claude, It s not so much what you have to say, but the way you say it. The scornful tone in your certitude often causes me to
                                                    Message 25 of 29 , Nov 20, 2006
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                                                      My dear regional neighbor Jean-Claude,

                                                      It's not so much what you have to say, but the way you say it. The
                                                      scornful tone in your certitude often causes me to wonder, if one
                                                      meets such a tone in face-to-face communication, wouldn't one just
                                                      walk away, even in mid-sentence? Or stay, and engage in argument?

                                                      There are over 900 other readers on this list, and that means there
                                                      are as many possible interpretations of Fukuokan teaching. None of
                                                      them deserve to be insulted. Just because we don't meet face-to-face
                                                      is no excuse for being so harsh.

                                                      When you write, try imagining that the person(s) is right in front of
                                                      you and that you care for him/her.

                                                      The great irony of this list, is that Masanobu Fukuoka doesn't write
                                                      in his own comments, yet there are some writers who presume to speak
                                                      for him from their own limited perspective. Newbies: take this
                                                      second-hand 'teaching' with a few grains of salt!

                                                      Twenty years ago, Fukuoka-san visited and stayed in my home for three
                                                      days. We walked around the gardens I had at that time (they don't
                                                      exist now) and he commented, "This is 80% of what I do."

                                                      To me that means that either I have 20% more to learn (actually one
                                                      never stops learning), or he graciously grants me 20% in which to be
                                                      different and develop my own locality-specific form of mastery.

                                                      So most of all, he is gracious in his method. This matters at least
                                                      as much as the specific techniques he offers.

                                                      Personally, I enjoy very much Bob Monie's contributions to this list.
                                                      He speaks from personal experience, employs Fukuokan teaching in a
                                                      non-doctrinal way as befits his situation, shows consideration for
                                                      all readers, and doesn't come across as self-aggrandizing. Bob, I
                                                      would enjoy meeting you someday!

                                                      Truly,

                                                      Forest Shomer
                                                      Port Townsend, WA, USA




                                                      At 12:14 PM +0000 11/20/06, fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                                                      >Drud dealer in the street do the same, they bait peoples into
                                                      >dependance then sale their crap .
                                                      >
                                                      >what happens is that people loose their hability to secrete
                                                      >endorphine and other natural pleasure hormones and become dependant
                                                      >on substances exterior to the body to experience pleasure . the end
                                                      >result is an unavoidable lost of quality of life and hability to
                                                      >feel good on their own feet.
                                                      >the soil life is no different , withdraw the chemicals and it
                                                      >experience withdrawal symptoms .
                                                      >the "power" of addiction can be seen in so many aspects of our
                                                      >culture and its commerce .
                                                      >More people spin off the center of nature and more this process
                                                      >takes its toll ...
                                                      >
                                                      >more you center yourself in harmony with the flow of nature less
                                                      >addiction have power over you .
                                                      >
                                                      >The reason Masanobu choose to help the poorest of the poorest , is
                                                      >because they have no chance to get off " the poverty trap" and so no
                                                      >hability to buy dreams . that makes them more receptive to the truth.
                                                      >
                                                      >Track back the money trail behind those "generous help to the poor" and see !
                                                      >( i don't even say your professor is conscient of the role he play
                                                      >into this game, yet he is getting his reward )
                                                      >
                                                      >soon enough, the rich will beg the poorest of all, to teach them
                                                      >about life without crutches.
                                                      >
                                                      >jean-claude

                                                      --
                                                    • Matthew Bond
                                                      Brilliant! I never thought of fertilisers being like drugs of dependence! That just sums it up beautifully! ... dependance then sale their crap . ...
                                                      Message 26 of 29 , Nov 20, 2006
                                                      • 0 Attachment
                                                        Brilliant! I never thought of fertilisers being like drugs of
                                                        dependence! That just sums it up beautifully!

                                                        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude
                                                        Catry" <instinct@...> wrote:
                                                        >
                                                        > < What he said was that when the
                                                        > program withdraws its fertilizer subsidies, the villages will buy
                                                        > the chemical fertilizers themselves because they have gotten
                                                        > themselves out of the poverty trap and can afford buying stuff by
                                                        > that time. When I asked him what would happen if they stop using
                                                        > chemical fertilizers, he said "yields would go down." >
                                                        >
                                                        > Drud dealer in the street do the same, they bait peoples into
                                                        dependance then sale their crap .
                                                        >
                                                        > what happens is that people loose their hability to secrete
                                                        endorphine and other natural pleasure hormones and become dependant
                                                        on substances exterior to the body to experience pleasure . the end
                                                        result is an unavoidable lost of quality of life and hability to
                                                        feel good on their own feet.
                                                        > the soil life is no different , withdraw the chemicals and it
                                                        experience withdrawal symptoms .
                                                        > the "power" of addiction can be seen in so many aspects of our
                                                        culture and its commerce .
                                                        > More people spin off the center of nature and more this process
                                                        takes its toll ...
                                                        >
                                                        > more you center yourself in harmony with the flow of nature less
                                                        addiction have power over you .
                                                        >
                                                        > The reason Masanobu choose to help the poorest of the poorest ,
                                                        is because they have no chance to get off " the poverty trap" and so
                                                        no hability to buy dreams . that makes them more receptive to the
                                                        truth.
                                                        >
                                                        > Track back the money trail behind those "generous help to the
                                                        poor" and see !
                                                        > ( i don't even say your professor is conscient of the role he play
                                                        into this game, yet he is getting his reward )
                                                        >
                                                        > soon enough, the rich will beg the poorest of all, to teach them
                                                        about life without crutches.
                                                        >
                                                        > jean-claude
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                        >
                                                      • Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry
                                                        hello forest Are you feeling annoyed and uneasy because you would like some consideration for other point of view? it will help me if you could give me a
                                                        Message 27 of 29 , Nov 20, 2006
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                                                          hello forest

                                                          Are you feeling annoyed and uneasy because you would like some consideration for other point of view?
                                                          it will help me if you could give me a specific observation of what i am writing that trigger such feeling .

                                                          I am wondering how you can to get the tone of my saying thru email .
                                                          i am not in agreement with your perception of my tone , it is not my experience !
                                                          i value other people's certitudes and so i value mines!

                                                          if you look carefully Masanobu's writing you will see that he value this also, yet in person he is a gentle man.
                                                          i will love to meet you and your garden one day ,i have friends in portownsend . you are also welcome to visit me and hear the tone of my voice .

                                                          i am curious if forest concerns are shared by others it will meet my need for clarity .
                                                          jean-claude
                                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                                          From: Forest Shomer
                                                          To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                                          Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 6:49 AM
                                                          Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Chemical fertilizers for farming in Africa


                                                          My dear regional neighbor Jean-Claude,

                                                          It's not so much what you have to say, but the way you say it. The
                                                          scornful tone in your certitude often causes me to wonder, if one
                                                          meets such a tone in face-to-face communication, wouldn't one just
                                                          walk away, even in mid-sentence? Or stay, and engage in argument?

                                                          There are over 900 other readers on this list, and that means there
                                                          are as many possible interpretations of Fukuokan teaching. None of
                                                          them deserve to be insulted. Just because we don't meet face-to-face
                                                          is no excuse for being so harsh.

                                                          When you write, try imagining that the person(s) is right in front of
                                                          you and that you care for him/her.

                                                          The great irony of this list, is that Masanobu Fukuoka doesn't write
                                                          in his own comments, yet there are some writers who presume to speak
                                                          for him from their own limited perspective. Newbies: take this
                                                          second-hand 'teaching' with a few grains of salt!

                                                          Twenty years ago, Fukuoka-san visited and stayed in my home for three
                                                          days. We walked around the gardens I had at that time (they don't
                                                          exist now) and he commented, "This is 80% of what I do."

                                                          To me that means that either I have 20% more to learn (actually one
                                                          never stops learning), or he graciously grants me 20% in which to be
                                                          different and develop my own locality-specific form of mastery.

                                                          So most of all, he is gracious in his method. This matters at least
                                                          as much as the specific techniques he offers.

                                                          Personally, I enjoy very much Bob Monie's contributions to this list.
                                                          He speaks from personal experience, employs Fukuokan teaching in a
                                                          non-doctrinal way as befits his situation, shows consideration for
                                                          all readers, and doesn't come across as self-aggrandizing. Bob, I
                                                          would enjoy meeting you someday!

                                                          Truly,

                                                          Forest Shomer
                                                          Port Townsend, WA, USA

                                                          At 12:14 PM +0000 11/20/06, fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                                                          >Drud dealer in the street do the same, they bait peoples into
                                                          >dependance then sale their crap .
                                                          >
                                                          >what happens is that people loose their hability to secrete
                                                          >endorphine and other natural pleasure hormones and become dependant
                                                          >on substances exterior to the body to experience pleasure . the end
                                                          >result is an unavoidable lost of quality of life and hability to
                                                          >feel good on their own feet.
                                                          >the soil life is no different , withdraw the chemicals and it
                                                          >experience withdrawal symptoms .
                                                          >the "power" of addiction can be seen in so many aspects of our
                                                          >culture and its commerce .
                                                          >More people spin off the center of nature and more this process
                                                          >takes its toll ...
                                                          >
                                                          >more you center yourself in harmony with the flow of nature less
                                                          >addiction have power over you .
                                                          >
                                                          >The reason Masanobu choose to help the poorest of the poorest , is
                                                          >because they have no chance to get off " the poverty trap" and so no
                                                          >hability to buy dreams . that makes them more receptive to the truth.
                                                          >
                                                          >Track back the money trail behind those "generous help to the poor" and see !
                                                          >( i don't even say your professor is conscient of the role he play
                                                          >into this game, yet he is getting his reward )
                                                          >
                                                          >soon enough, the rich will beg the poorest of all, to teach them
                                                          >about life without crutches.
                                                          >
                                                          >jean-claude

                                                          --





                                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                        • michael
                                                          Forest, is Duke Rhodes still knocking about in your town these days? - Michael ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                          Message 28 of 29 , Jan 8, 2007
                                                          • 0 Attachment
                                                            Forest,
                                                            is Duke Rhodes still knocking about in your town these days?
                                                            - Michael

                                                            On Nov 20, 2006, at 8:49 AM, Forest Shomer wrote:

                                                            > My dear regional neighbor Jean-Claude,
                                                            >
                                                            > It's not so much what you have to say, but the way you say it. The
                                                            > scornful tone in your certitude often causes me to wonder, if one
                                                            > meets such a tone in face-to-face communication, wouldn't one just
                                                            > walk away, even in mid-sentence? Or stay, and engage in argument?
                                                            >
                                                            > There are over 900 other readers on this list, and that means there
                                                            > are as many possible interpretations of Fukuokan teaching. None of
                                                            > them deserve to be insulted. Just because we don't meet face-to-face
                                                            > is no excuse for being so harsh.
                                                            >
                                                            > When you write, try imagining that the person(s) is right in front of
                                                            > you and that you care for him/her.
                                                            >
                                                            > The great irony of this list, is that Masanobu Fukuoka doesn't write
                                                            > in his own comments, yet there are some writers who presume to speak
                                                            > for him from their own limited perspective. Newbies: take this
                                                            > second-hand 'teaching' with a few grains of salt!
                                                            >
                                                            > Twenty years ago, Fukuoka-san visited and stayed in my home for three
                                                            > days. We walked around the gardens I had at that time (they don't
                                                            > exist now) and he commented, "This is 80% of what I do."
                                                            >
                                                            > To me that means that either I have 20% more to learn (actually one
                                                            > never stops learning), or he graciously grants me 20% in which to be
                                                            > different and develop my own locality-specific form of mastery.
                                                            >
                                                            > So most of all, he is gracious in his method. This matters at least
                                                            > as much as the specific techniques he offers.
                                                            >
                                                            > Personally, I enjoy very much Bob Monie's contributions to this list.
                                                            > He speaks from personal experience, employs Fukuokan teaching in a
                                                            > non-doctrinal way as befits his situation, shows consideration for
                                                            > all readers, and doesn't come across as self-aggrandizing. Bob, I
                                                            > would enjoy meeting you someday!
                                                            >
                                                            > Truly,
                                                            >
                                                            > Forest Shomer
                                                            > Port Townsend, WA, USA
                                                            >
                                                            > At 12:14 PM +0000 11/20/06, fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                                                            > >Drud dealer in the street do the same, they bait peoples into
                                                            > >dependance then sale their crap .
                                                            > >
                                                            > >what happens is that people loose their hability to secrete
                                                            > >endorphine and other natural pleasure hormones and become dependant
                                                            > >on substances exterior to the body to experience pleasure . the end
                                                            > >result is an unavoidable lost of quality of life and hability to
                                                            > >feel good on their own feet.
                                                            > >the soil life is no different , withdraw the chemicals and it
                                                            > >experience withdrawal symptoms .
                                                            > >the "power" of addiction can be seen in so many aspects of our
                                                            > >culture and its commerce .
                                                            > >More people spin off the center of nature and more this process
                                                            > >takes its toll ...
                                                            > >
                                                            > >more you center yourself in harmony with the flow of nature less
                                                            > >addiction have power over you .
                                                            > >
                                                            > >The reason Masanobu choose to help the poorest of the poorest , is
                                                            > >because they have no chance to get off " the poverty trap" and so no
                                                            > >hability to buy dreams . that makes them more receptive to the truth.
                                                            > >
                                                            > >Track back the money trail behind those "generous help to the
                                                            > poor" and see !
                                                            > >( i don't even say your professor is conscient of the role he play
                                                            > >into this game, yet he is getting his reward )
                                                            > >
                                                            > >soon enough, the rich will beg the poorest of all, to teach them
                                                            > >about life without crutches.
                                                            > >
                                                            > >jean-claude
                                                            >
                                                            > --
                                                            >
                                                            >
                                                            >



                                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                          • Jeff
                                                            One of the ideas I ve run across that is truely inspiring for the tropics is terra preata. It is a system of soil improvement by the ancients in the Amazon
                                                            Message 29 of 29 , May 13 12:00 PM
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                                                              One of the ideas I've run across that is truely inspiring for the
                                                              tropics is terra preata.

                                                              It is a system of soil improvement by the ancients in the Amazon Rain
                                                              forest basin. Tracts of 200 acres have been found. Amazingly after 500
                                                              years of cultivation they retain significant fertility.

                                                              The primary ingredient in terra preata is bio-char (low to mid
                                                              temperature charcoal). It sorbs nutrients very tightly and prevents
                                                              leaching. The bio-char also has ideal water holding capacity.

                                                              The terra preata soils have up to 30% charcoal.

                                                              There are several sites on the internet available with technical
                                                              information.

                                                              Does anyone from the group have experience with this??
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