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Farming in Ethiopia and many other things

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  • Robert Monie
    Tewolde Egziabher, who will appear with Fukuoka at the Shiva school presentation in October, has been steadily guiding Ethiopian farmers back to their roots in
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 2, 2002
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      Tewolde Egziabher, who will appear with Fukuoka at the Shiva school presentation in October, has been steadily guiding Ethiopian farmers back to their roots in diversified agriculture. Ethiopians have grown light and dark-colored varieties of the tiny grain teff for centuries, without recourse to artificial fertilizer, chemical pesticides, or herbicides. An instructive overview of Ethiopian practice appears at http://www.organicvolunteers.com/forum/display-message.asp?mid=701 .

      Teff is the kind of agricultural product that international business has contempt for, since it is scarcely known outside of its traditional locale and has a much smaller world market than the "standard" cereals and grains. Yet teff contains within its chromosomes volumes of information that allow it to survive in times of drought and pestlience that could not be replaced by genetically modified grains of the more familiar type (corn, wheat).

      So far, the suggested gifts for Fukuoka are seeds and a representation of the Shinto god of agriculture (Dosojin?) strumming while the crops grow. If seeds are the choice, it would be best to find some local Indian varieties; Fukuoka loves to see new varieties; for example he mentions in an interview how well African-adapted daikon grow. He was delighted to see that some soils in Africa produce better daikons than he got on his own farm in Japan. The Shinto god would be ok too, if only we could locate the right one. It is easy for well-meaning foreigners to mess up such cross-cultural overtures. We don't want to present him with the god of weddings or stream-bathing when we mean the god of agriculture; he might be puzzled! I wonder about a third choice: Has Fukuoka ever seen Emilia's video, the Synergistic Garden?

      The question of whether the Indian Company that publishes Fukuoka's books does so with his permission still seems to be open. Someone should ask him if he would like to see his entire printed output (seven books?) available on a CD. It would be great if Robert's company could get Fukuoka's latest book "Traveling with Seedballs" translated and in print in the US, but many different legal interests are no doubt involved.

      As Don Graves, Dr Ingham and others have suggested, probiotics (using beneficial microorganisms to foster plant nutrient delivery and plant health both at the root level and the foliar spray leaf-and-stem level) has a role to play in natural farming. When a farmer boasts that he or she has grown an excellent crop, the credit ought to go to the countless microorganisms that have made the nutrients available in an absorbable form and have fended off countless attacks and less than beneficial interactions from other microorganisms. Sir Arthur Howard knew this in a general sort of way many decades ago, but it is easy to forget. We owe as much to these microorganisms, fungal and nonfungal, as we do to the natural nitrogen-fixers in the soil. My guess is even the cabbages and other greens that disdain assistance from micorhizal organisms use as-yet-unidentified microorganisms of another kind for similar purposes. Science should turn its attention away from profit-making patented crops and toward the ways that the multitude of micro-creatures in the soil, water, and air actually do most of the "work" of growing the plant. Then, maybe we could all do more harp strumming while watching the plants grow.

      And, yes, this will require precise identification and the use of technical terms of the kind that Don Graves and Professor Ingham regularly use. No room for the "word police" here. And if Doojin the Shinto plant guy wants to wax poetically about such goings on, then let him roll. If the great web of living things isn't worth a little philosophy and song, then what is?

      Bob Monie



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    • jamie
      ... stream-bathing ... I wonder about ... Synergistic Garden? Nice! It will allow Fukuoka to realise there are many outside Japan and the developing world who
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 2, 2002
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        Bob wrote:

        >We don't want to present him with the god of weddings or
        stream-bathing
        >when we mean the god of agriculture; he might be puzzled!
        I wonder about
        >a third choice: Has Fukuoka ever seen Emilia's video, the
        Synergistic Garden?

        Nice! It will allow Fukuoka to realise there are many outside Japan and the
        developing world who appreciate his work and have taken concrete steps to
        follow his lead. Would the lack of Japanese subtitles or dialogue diminish
        the gesture's value though?

        Jamie
        Souscayrous
      • Sameer Mohan
        Thanks for the update on Tewold as i had no clue Abt him and that not much was being mentioned at the Shiva School..... It should be most appropriate to attend
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 3, 2002
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          Thanks for the update on Tewold as i had no clue Abt him and that not much
          was being mentioned at the Shiva School.....
          It should be most appropriate to attend boththe speakers in this course as
          they work in together...principally and practically...

          Samy
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
          To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 10:25 PM
          Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Farming in Ethiopia and many other things


          >
          > Tewolde Egziabher, who will appear with Fukuoka at the Shiva school
          presentation in October, has been steadily guiding Ethiopian farmers back to
          their roots in diversified agriculture. Ethiopians have grown light and
          dark-colored varieties of the tiny grain teff for centuries, without
          recourse to artificial fertilizer, chemical pesticides, or herbicides. An
          instructive overview of Ethiopian practice appears at
          http://www.organicvolunteers.com/forum/display-message.asp?mid=701 .
          >
          > Teff is the kind of agricultural product that international business has
          contempt for, since it is scarcely known outside of its traditional locale
          and has a much smaller world market than the "standard" cereals and grains.
          Yet teff contains within its chromosomes volumes of information that allow
          it to survive in times of drought and pestlience that could not be replaced
          by genetically modified grains of the more familiar type (corn, wheat).
          >
          > So far, the suggested gifts for Fukuoka are seeds and a representation of
          the Shinto god of agriculture (Dosojin?) strumming while the crops grow. If
          seeds are the choice, it would be best to find some local Indian varieties;
          Fukuoka loves to see new varieties; for example he mentions in an interview
          how well African-adapted daikon grow. He was delighted to see that some
          soils in Africa produce better daikons than he got on his own farm in Japan.
          The Shinto god would be ok too, if only we could locate the right one. It
          is easy for well-meaning foreigners to mess up such cross-cultural
          overtures. We don't want to present him with the god of weddings or
          stream-bathing when we mean the god of agriculture; he might be puzzled! I
          wonder about a third choice: Has Fukuoka ever seen Emilia's video, the
          Synergistic Garden?
          >
          > The question of whether the Indian Company that publishes Fukuoka's books
          does so with his permission still seems to be open. Someone should ask him
          if he would like to see his entire printed output (seven books?) available
          on a CD. It would be great if Robert's company could get Fukuoka's latest
          book "Traveling with Seedballs" translated and in print in the US, but many
          different legal interests are no doubt involved.
          >
          > As Don Graves, Dr Ingham and others have suggested, probiotics (using
          beneficial microorganisms to foster plant nutrient delivery and plant health
          both at the root level and the foliar spray leaf-and-stem level) has a role
          to play in natural farming. When a farmer boasts that he or she has grown
          an excellent crop, the credit ought to go to the countless microorganisms
          that have made the nutrients available in an absorbable form and have fended
          off countless attacks and less than beneficial interactions from other
          microorganisms. Sir Arthur Howard knew this in a general sort of way many
          decades ago, but it is easy to forget. We owe as much to these
          microorganisms, fungal and nonfungal, as we do to the natural
          nitrogen-fixers in the soil. My guess is even the cabbages and other greens
          that disdain assistance from micorhizal organisms use as-yet-unidentified
          microorganisms of another kind for similar purposes. Science should turn its
          attention away from profit-making patented crops and toward the ways that
          the multitude of micro-creatures in the soil, water, and air actually do
          most of the "work" of growing the plant. Then, maybe we could all do more
          harp strumming while watching the plants grow.
          >
          > And, yes, this will require precise identification and the use of
          technical terms of the kind that Don Graves and Professor Ingham regularly
          use. No room for the "word police" here. And if Doojin the Shinto plant guy
          wants to wax poetically about such goings on, then let him roll. If the
          great web of living things isn't worth a little philosophy and song, then
          what is?
          >
          > Bob Monie
          >
          >
          >
          > ---------------------------------
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        • gate44o
          The link given for the overview of Tewolde and Ethiopian farming practise gave a not found error. I and others are curious and we ask the great Bob to help us
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 6, 2002
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            The link given for the overview of Tewolde and Ethiopian farming
            practise gave a not found error. I and others are curious and we
            ask the great Bob to help us understand more about Tewolde and
            his work with Masanobu.

            As I mentioned earlier, Mollison's methods returned Vietnam to a
            sustainable agriculture, and Masanobu's can have a similar or
            greater impact. All evidence of Fukuoka effectiveness in
            stressful environments will help us counter the corporate
            western arguments in favor of foisting GE food on starving
            people.

            Leland
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