A Philosophy of Harmony with the Earth.
The principles and practices of Natural Agriculture were developed in Japan in the early decades of the 20th century by Mokichi Okada to foster a renewed understanding of the harmony that exists among the natural elements of the earth. Mokichi Okada conducted extensive research in the development of agricultural practices that would yield the most productive and beneficial results for nourishing the human body, mind and spirit. From this research he developed techniques of food cultivation that are breaking new ground in the advancement of agriculture, without compromising the purity and integrity of the produce.
The unique contribution of Natural Agriculture is its fundamental respect for all the elements involved in the natural growing processes – light, soil, water and air. Natural Agriculture fosters a deep awareness of the contributions of each element and the benefits derived from working in harmony with them. In today’s consumer society, people have lost the understanding of the underlying interconnection of all life; one reflection of this has been a severing from the natural world. People no longer see their relationship to the natural elements, as they have for millennia. The manipulation of Nature has taken an enormous toll on human heath and the well-being of the planet. Natural Agriculture seeks to restore the vital and sacred relationship between humankind and the environment. Thus, the practice of Natural Agriculture is based on a highly developed philosophy of life.
“The principle of Natural Agriculture is an over-riding respect and concern for Nature,” stated Okada in his book A Great Agricultural Revolution. This respect leads to minimum intervention in the growing processes. Whilst many modern agricultural practices are based on a belief in the need to control and manipulate the growing process, Natural Agriculture sees greater benefit in supporting and working in partnership and conjunction with the natural forces. Thus, the soil is cultivated in its natural state without the addition of foreign elements. If properly cared for, soil provides better nutrition for plants without the addition of chemical fertilizers, which prohibit the soil’s natural energy from being transferred to the plants. Similarly, seeds are respected for their natural purity and are not manipulated for specified ends. Extensive experience has shown that this approach leads to crops that are healthier, stay fresh longer and are better tasting than those produced by conventional agricultural methods.
An essential element for the success of Natural Agriculture is the relationship between the producer and the produce. The farmer plays a pivotal role. In the Natural Agriculture method, the attitude and behaviour of the grower toward the produce has a direct impact on its quality. The farmer who relates to and cares for the crops will see beneficial results. Mokichi Okada perceived agriculture to be an art, created by the human hand and heart. The farmer has a unique position in restoring and maintaining the balance within nature, and this ability is essential for Natural Agriculture’s success.