A Course on the Principles of Natural Agriculture
Drawing on the traditions of Permaculture and Synergistic Agriculture
This course will look at ways to maintain the processes of nature
with this 'do-nothing' farming approach.
with Jamie Nicol
Friday 23rd - Friday 30th June
The Dharmahouse community near Ales, Southern France
(Languedoc and Roussillon)
Contact : info@...
`Natural Agriculture' is inspired by the practice of Masanobu
Fukuoka, Jamie will Also be drawing on the temperate climate
adaptations of Emilia Hazelip, Marc Bonfils, Paul Moray and the `dry
land' agriculture Jamie has begun to develop on his farm in the South
of France. This approach also draws heavily on `Permaculture', whose
holistic design process attempts to find the best means of
integrating human habitation into an existing natural environment.
"The idea is to return manual labour to the gardens, fields and
orchards, although wherever possible the approach resolutely seeks to
discover what not to do so as to not disturb the processes of nature.
The essential aspect of Natural Agriculture is to reconnect the
farmer (and the farming family/group) to the land in a relationship
of care: In other words, to return agriculture to a human scale.
Whilst yield is considered to be of importance, the defining factor
of the agriculture will be the health of the total system
concentrating on all `life', so that sustainable yields will be able
to be drawn year after year.
This agricultural path leads inevitably to ever-greater simplicity in
farming, derived from a more intimate understanding of natural
processes within a particular environment. To work with rather than
against the grain of nature is the work of observation, which is the
work of a gradual opening up of ourselves, which is, ultimately, the
work of a lifetime. Natural Agriculture attempts to return
agriculture from the science it has become in the West, to a craft,
which I would describe as a focussed knowing of the primacy of
During our week together the course with involve a hands-on
Synergistic Agriculture approach where we will construct some beds,
organise irrigation [greywater, roof-fed or otherwise], and plant
and/or seed veg) with a little background on soil's self-fertility,
companion planting, rotations and successions. There will be many
detailed planting schedules developed by Emilia Hazelip available to
the course participants, which have not been published elsewhere.
Alongside this will be something about trees and their role in
realtion to the community site which will include windbreaks, natural
orchards, soil building, prevention of soil erosion, the need for
trees to create a full water cycle etc, again with the hands-on
experience of planting whatever saplings, seedlings or seeds of trees
you will have ready. I would also like very much to organise a
Fukuokan seedballing session (perhaps for the last day) where we take
a whole load of seeds and coat them in clay and then, once dry, we
take them and as a group broadcast them on some of theland that has
been prepared by cutting the grass very low to the ground. It is an
important aspect of Natural Agriculture and the regreening of
disturbed land and a deeply fulfilling and fun thing to do."
By Jamie Nicol
"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,
but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."
Contact : info@...