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Re: [fukuoka_farming] growing food for the people ( ants problem )

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  • Adin Sh
    Dieter my friend! I side with you, why not indeed to incorporate into NF some ideas of a diferent schools? What s wrong with burying the seed 1/2 sm beneath
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 4, 2008
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      Dieter my friend!
      I side with you, why not indeed to incorporate into NF some ideas of a diferent schools?
      What's wrong with burying the seed 1/2 sm beneath the surface or even ( Oh, horror! )arrange that in rows?
      If something works on a given acre, why not use it instead of sticking to some dogmas that have proven themselves dead fruitless, again, on a given acre?




      Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:
      Calin, Bob et al.

      Why do we have to limit the size of farms to no more than one acre?
      In some places, 1 acre may be enough, in others, with poorer soil,
      10 acres are hardly enough to sustain a family even under subsistence
      farming. But more importantly, would it be so terrible if we could figure
      out a way of applying some of the advantages of NF or "organic no-till"
      to large scale mechanized farming? Fukuoka developed his methods
      of non-mechanized farming on a small traditional Japanese farm, which,
      in Japan, are probably even smaller than elsewhere. I think we all agree
      that this model cannot be exported to other places without modification,
      and I can't remember that he made such a request either.

      Besides, it isn't going to happen, is it? We are not going to empty the
      cities and give everyone an acre of land to live on. That would indeed be
      terrible! Remember, that the "back to the country" movement of Mao's
      red hordes was followed by one of China's worst starvations, costing the
      life of millions (OK, it wasn't only that, there was also the "big leap
      forward" to blame).

      So, what is NF going to be? Is it going to be a play thing for the
      privileged few? Or is it going to provide people with natural food?
      Even in my remote corner of the World, people can buy organic food
      or food produced according to bio-dynamic principals at the supermarket
      or at the local health food store. Where are the shelves with NF food?

      And what is NF anyway? Is it what nowadays is called "organic no-till"?
      Or is it what is sometimes referred to as "semi-wild cultivation"?

      Dieter Brand
      Portugal

      Robert Monie <bobm20001@...> wrote:
      Hi,

      I agree with Dieter's complaint that Fukuoka farming has not made much of an impression world-wide. Some types of alternative farming have been able to get public or private endorsement for continuing demonstration projects but (at least outside of India and maybe Greece) no private or public fund currently supports a Fukuoka-style demonstration farm or garden. Dave Jacke, in his large and intensively researched Edible Forest Gardens, mentions Fukuoka a few times but never refers to a Fukuoka project, probably because he couldn't find one! Jacke does mention and show photos of the Agroforestry Trust in Devon, England, funded by th elate John Seymour and Gaia theorist James Lovelock. The trust showcases Martin Crawford's "research and demonsration garden" based on, but not limited to, Robert Hart's Forest Farming ideas.

      Crawford has written a series of books on how to grow fruits and nuts and use temperate
      nitrogen fixers, and he sells root trainers and plants to interested parties. He and the agroforestry trust know how to PROMOTE their approach, and they got a lot of free publicity in Jacke's book (including an excellent interview with Crawford and pictures of the little farm interspersed throughout. ) They have taken Robert Hart's inchoate ideas and developed them in a demonstrable way calculated to sustain public interest and present something attractive for people to visit and view. Rather than making a shrine of Robert Hart's original somewhat slapdash (but inspiring) forest garden they have found a way to manage improvements creatively, entice visitors, and keep the financial support coming in.

      This they do without a word of metaphysics, Zen, or mysticism. And, though they recognize the ethical and spiritual dimensions of forest farming, they stick to verifiable facts and procedures that ordinary mortals can put into place--no existentialism, no deconstruction, no word games. This is also the approach taken by Jacke and Toensmeier in their book, Edible Forest Gardens, and may go a long way to account for the excellent reviews the book has received. If they were to say that forest farming had nothing to do with growing things, most reviewers would probably wince or laugh ("so why do you want us to plant cover crops and measure canopy widths?") and go on to more rewarding reading.

      Bob Monie
      New Orleans, La

      crandrei <crandrei@...> wrote:

      There is a reason why there aren't many successful NF examples of big,
      (lot of acres) farms, growing food for lots of people.
      It was never meant to work that way.
      It can't be used to make lots of money or to prop up a broken system
      that departed from nature and was already here long before NF.
      Eventually it will lead to land/people abuse and degeneration.
      Fukuoka talks about a small size family farm, about an acre or so.
      This limits (size of the farm and the scope of NF) are very important.

      To Dieter:
      Some of us don't have practical experience because we are still in
      (conventional) hort school where we learn about pest management,
      among other things. One way you go about that is getting a bunch
      of ideas (Google works just fine for that) and validating them into
      practice. When there is something wrong about most of the ideas, one
      is just left with no plan at all, stuck with the pest and maybe self
      censoring in the future.

      calin.

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    • Calin A. Radulescu
      Limits should be self imposed and different from one location to another. Yet they are important, because without limits one would be dealing and wheeling,
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 4, 2008
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        Limits should be self imposed and different from one
        location to another. Yet they are important, because
        without limits one would be dealing and wheeling,
        instead of watching and learning; doing, instead of
        not-doing. Chances are that the main purpose of the
        farm would pretty soon become to make money just like
        anybody else, selling out nutrients, energy and real
        estate to the empire when the price is right.
        Religions goes on for pages about this when they talk
        about greed; I am just going to say that it takes the
        mystery out of the field, keeping the farmer from
        advancing spiritually, and have very little to do with
        nature.
        Why would be tilling such an evil thing then? A little
        bit of tilling wouldn't hurt nobody. It would be only
        done because... you know... raising a family...


        --- Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:




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      • Anders Skarlind
        Dear Calin you seem to think that tilling is evil. Why evil? It is a religous concept I think. Is it relevant here? Unwise I can understand. Against nature I
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 4, 2008
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          Dear Calin
          you seem to think that tilling is evil. Why evil? It is a religous
          concept I think. Is it relevant here? Unwise I can understand.
          Against nature I can perhaps understand, but it depends on how nature
          is perceived (or construed). But evil? No, not really.

          It sounds like you think: man needs limits to avoid doing the evil.
          Well, in a sense and to some extent I can agree. It depends on
          condtions and what you mean by evil. And you also say self-imposed
          and different from one location to another. That is good I think. But
          still it seems like you think that man is inherently evil and
          therefore he needs these limits. There I cannot follow you, and I
          think you are also outside of the scope of a farming discussion. And
          perhaps also distanced from Fukuoka, even though I haven't studied
          religion enough to tell the difference properly. My bold impression
          is anyway that your concept of evil is of a Christian brand, while
          Fukuoka's thoughts are rooted in eastern philosophy. I wonder if you
          have considered this. If I am right here, I think the problem with
          this would not be Christian roots in your thinking per se, not at
          all, but rather an unreflected mixture of modes of thought from quite
          different traditions. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if much of the
          ideology arising around Fukuoka's philosophy has similar roots.

          I also wonder what is your basis for speaking of "making money like
          everybody else"? If you think of farmers, my picture is that, even
          though conditions vary from time to time and place to place, farmers
          more often than not finds it difficult to survive economically (if
          not even nutritionally), whether they farm conventionally,
          ecologically, or whatever. One factor that seems beneficial is to
          avoid buying lots of input material (chemical fertiliser etc etc).
          Another is good husbandry.
          But OK, you speak of purpose, not outcome. But still I wonder what
          you are thinking of here.

          Sincerley
          Anders Skarlind, Sweden

          At 00:06 2008-01-05, Calin A. Radulescu wrote:
          > Limits should be self imposed and different from one
          >location to another. Yet they are important, because
          >without limits one would be dealing and wheeling,
          >instead of watching and learning; doing, instead of
          >not-doing. Chances are that the main purpose of the
          >farm would pretty soon become to make money just like
          >anybody else, selling out nutrients, energy and real
          >estate to the empire when the price is right.
          >Religions goes on for pages about this when they talk
          >about greed; I am just going to say that it takes the
          >mystery out of the field, keeping the farmer from
          >advancing spiritually, and have very little to do with
          >nature.
          >Why would be tilling such an evil thing then? A little
          >bit of tilling wouldn't hurt nobody. It would be only
          >done because... you know... raising a family...
          >
          >
          >--- Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:
        • Dieter Brand
          Calin, I had the impression that the problem is that farmers cannot earn enough money not that they earn too much. That is why most small farmers in the
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 5, 2008
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            Calin,

            I had the impression that the problem is that farmers
            cannot earn enough money not that they earn too much.
            That is why most small farmers in the industrialized
            World had to give up farming and why many of those
            that still remain have to look for employment outside
            the farm just to keep going. Can we really expect
            farmers to live in utter poverty without car, TV, Internet,
            fridge, health services, ... All those things the rest of
            us take for granted? Sure, life on the farm has its
            compensations, and personally, at this stage in my live,
            I'm quite content to put up with some inconveniences,
            living in my little earth hut in the mountain. That is my
            choice, but for people born out here, in little houses with
            a floor of rammed earth, who could blame them for
            wanting a bit more creature comfort?

            Thanks for bringing up the issue of tilling. But is it really
            evil? Fukuoka is categorical about this "do not plough"!
            And I have seen what ploughing can do to the soil. Yet,
            as long as we don't have a method that will allow to grow
            food without ploughing in many parts of the World we will
            have to go on ploughing, and, in the meantime, try to find
            methods that are appropriate to specific conditions in
            different places.


            Dieter Brand
            Portugal

            "Calin A. Radulescu" <crandrei@...> wrote:
            Limits should be self imposed and different from one
            location to another. Yet they are important, because
            without limits one would be dealing and wheeling,
            instead of watching and learning; doing, instead of
            not-doing. Chances are that the main purpose of the
            farm would pretty soon become to make money just like
            anybody else, selling out nutrients, energy and real
            estate to the empire when the price is right.
            Religions goes on for pages about this when they talk
            about greed; I am just going to say that it takes the
            mystery out of the field, keeping the farmer from
            advancing spiritually, and have very little to do with
            nature.
            Why would be tilling such an evil thing then? A little
            bit of tilling wouldn't hurt nobody. It would be only
            done because... you know... raising a family...

            --- Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:

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          • Calin A. Radulescu
            Dieter, Anders about making money like everyone else Here in the US most people are very pragmatic. They are in a particular business or activity just
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 6, 2008
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              Dieter, Anders

              about " making money like everyone else"

              Here in the US most people are very pragmatic.
              They are in a particular business or activity just
              because of the money. There are farmers that are
              struggling to make the ends meet and other farmers
              that make big money. Farming is a huge business in
              many states, billions of dollars, mostly from a big
              acreage, high inputs situation.

              about "why tilling should be evil"

              Actually tilling is alright, deserts aren't made by
              farmers that till the soil.
              They just dropped from the sky. Aliens made them.

              Anders,

              about being a Christian, what i think, etc.

              I can assure you that am not a Christian. What i think
              doesn't really matter. I am not a teacher. Nature is.




              --- Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:

              > Calin,



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            • Dieter Brand
              Calin, ... We all know that deserts are caused by: 1. deforestation 2. overgrazing (in particular by goats who make tabula rasa) 3. wrong agricultural
              Message 6 of 13 , Jan 7, 2008
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                Calin,

                >Actually tilling is alright, deserts aren't made by
                >farmers that till the soil.
                >They just dropped from the sky. Aliens made them.

                We all know that deserts are caused by:
                1. deforestation
                2. overgrazing (in particular by goats who make tabula rasa)
                3. wrong agricultural practices including tilling under condition
                when this shouldn't be done.

                Yet to jump to conclusion or to generalize serves no purpose
                at all. The North European plains have been ploughed for
                centuries without any danger of desertification even under
                the modern day onslaught of chemicals-based industrial
                scale agriculture.

                Even though, nobody here is advocating tilling, in fact I have
                spent, for a number of years, a substantial amount of my time
                and part of my savings to find a method of no-till farming for my
                region. That is why I know that, at present, there is no method
                of no-till farming that would allow to feed people in large parts
                of the World where people have traditionally fed themselves
                by dry-land farming. And since I joined this group a few
                years ago, I have found not much interest or even adversity
                to the idea of discussing practical steps for finding such a
                method, after all, if it is "nature that feeds us" why should we
                bother, or perhaps "people shouldn't live there in the first place".

                Just in case you are of the latter persuasion, I would ask
                you to send us a few billion green cards for resettlement
                in your backyard. Unless, of course, you have something
                a little more sinister in mind.

                Dieter Brand
                Portugal


                "Calin A. Radulescu" <crandrei@...> wrote:
                Dieter, Anders

                about " making money like everyone else"

                Here in the US most people are very pragmatic.
                They are in a particular business or activity just
                because of the money. There are farmers that are
                struggling to make the ends meet and other farmers
                that make big money. Farming is a huge business in
                many states, billions of dollars, mostly from a big
                acreage, high inputs situation.

                about "why tilling should be evil"

                Actually tilling is alright, deserts aren't made by
                farmers that till the soil.
                They just dropped from the sky. Aliens made them.

                Anders,

                about being a Christian, what i think, etc.

                I can assure you that am not a Christian. What i think
                doesn't really matter. I am not a teacher. Nature is.

                --- Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:

                > Calin,

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              • Calin A. Radulescu
                Dieter, Tilling has been relatively safe in Northern Europe because the gentle rain pattern in that region. That is an exception, and the experience based on
                Message 7 of 13 , Jan 7, 2008
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                  Dieter,

                  Tilling has been relatively safe in Northern Europe
                  because the gentle rain pattern in that region. That
                  is an exception, and the experience based on that,
                  would be at least risky to transfer anywhere else.

                  I believe that you sincerely want to help the people
                  in your part of the world, but the question is how far
                  would they want to go to help themselves ? I wouldn't
                  bet on it. Time hasn't come for a change yet.
                  If we had all the true masters of the humanity, all
                  the
                  elders and senseis in the world willing to help with
                  the transition, they couldn't do a thing because most
                  people aren't ready for the real change right now.
                  You know, there were people that died because of the
                  western ideas. Entire cultures have been wiped out
                  completely, so this time around the change should come
                  deeply from within first, otherwise it wouldn't matter
                  very much at all.

                  And no, I don't think that bringing billions of people
                  to North America will solve the problem. Their worries
                  for the future will get to be different, but that may
                  be as well the only change they'd experience.

                  Calin.



                  --- Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:




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                • Calin A. Radulescu
                  Robert, Natural Farming is the Road back to Nature, the very not-doing of the commercial farming, not some method that we can strip away of it essence, copying
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jan 10, 2008
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                    Robert,

                    Natural Farming is the Road back to Nature, the very
                    not-doing of the commercial farming, not some method
                    that we can strip away of it essence, copying bits and
                    parts of it and paste them into commercial farming and
                    still call it Natural Farming or Fukuokan. What is
                    natural about commercial farming ? What is natural
                    about economic growth ? The farm size is naturally
                    limited by the manpower of the farmer, his family
                    and friends. What can be wrong about that ? Every
                    one is free to grow an organic crop but why would
                    anybody associate that with Fukuoka ?


                    calin.



                    --- Robert Monie <bobm20001@...> wrote:


                    > Stripped of its mystery, this could be
                    > called organic no-till, green (living) manure
                    > farming. It has much in common with







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                  • Robert Monie
                    Hi Calin, Well, a little improvement is better than none. If you are drenching your soil with Haber-process fertilizer and you see that your neighbor doesn t
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jan 10, 2008
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                      Hi Calin,

                      Well, a little improvement is better than none. If you are drenching your soil with Haber-process fertilizer and you see that your neighbor doesn't have to use as much because she rotates cover crops, buckwheat, sudan grass/sorgum, triticale, rye, and either cuts them or rolls tham down (as Titus suggested) to provide biomass, nutrition, and biology to the soil, you may say, "I'll try that and see if it works." If it does, then you have made your farm/garden just a little more self-reliant, with lower input requirement and more vital soil web activity at the root level. Is something wrong with that? If you later plant nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs and clovers and notice that your field becomes still more nutrient-sparing, what is wrong with that? If you add bee-attracting plants, nectary plants for birds, insectary plants to attract beneficial bugs, maybe plant some citrus thyme and vetiver grass to cut back a little on the predatory bugs, isn't that an
                      improvement? If you try companion planting, and develop supporting plant guilds, grow chicory, stinging nettle, comfrey and other dynamic plant accumulators, and you see that your garden is getting green, healthy and more productive, what's wrong with that, even it is not "all the way" natural?

                      These are the kinds of improvements that Jacke suggests in Edible Forest Farming to try to wean your farm or garden from excessive reliance on added fertilizer and pesticides. To me, that would be edging your field toward--dare I say it--natural farming. Not everyone is blessed with sudden gnosis or inspiration to conspire with nature to produce a perfect garden out of whole cloth. Some have to go step by step. Not everyone can benefit from mystery. Some need clarity and method to guide them. The essence of natural farming is to reach very low input levels, high levels of self-sustenance, and not damage the environment. This is quite a bit more than just organic farming, and why should anyone insist that it be achieved mystically if it can also be approached by method and known good practices? Robert Hart's little forest garden fed him right up to his death, and according to Jacke, he did nothing at all by way of maintenance for the last 3 or 4 years. I would say that
                      mystic and mysterious or not, that was some kind of natural garden. Forest gardening and forest farming are a long way from "commercial"; their current scale is more along the mom, pop, and friends lines that you suggest as ideal.

                      With the increasing number of people living in high density urban apartments, it is realistic (as Dieter recently pointed out) to expect that fairly large farms are needed to feed them. Is there an intrinsic reason why these farms could not be, if not entirely natural, then at least adoptive of as many natural attributes as possible?

                      Bob Monie
                      New Orleans, La
                      Zone 8


                      "Calin A. Radulescu" <crandrei@...> wrote:

                      Robert,

                      Natural Farming is the Road back to Nature, the very
                      not-doing of the commercial farming, not some method
                      that we can strip away of it essence, copying bits and
                      parts of it and paste them into commercial farming and
                      still call it Natural Farming or Fukuokan. What is
                      natural about commercial farming ? What is natural
                      about economic growth ? The farm size is naturally
                      limited by the manpower of the farmer, his family
                      and friends. What can be wrong about that ? Every
                      one is free to grow an organic crop but why would
                      anybody associate that with Fukuoka ?

                      calin.

                      --- Robert Monie <bobm20001@...> wrote:

                      > Stripped of its mystery, this could be
                      > called organic no-till, green (living) manure
                      > farming. It has much in common with

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