This white paper was produced thanks to my mentor, Dr. Han Kyu Cho of the Korean Natural Farming Association and the influence of the natural farmers I visited and apprenticed with in Japan.
“Farmers have lost the independent authority which they had in the farming techniques of the old days. Farmers have become dependent in buying almost everything that they need in farming, and they are now just engaged in farming by role according to the program presented by the seller.”
“I insist to recover the spirit of farmers. To achieve it is impossible until the exhilarated farming that farmers can recover subjectivity in the farming technique is realized.”
“A new vision of farming techniques is needed to recover the true nature of farming. There is a hidden possibility to realize a new vision in the ways that farmers make and apply which are necessary farming materials by making use of local materials actively.” – Dr. Han Kyu Cho
“There is a need to invest in natural capital like the soil through the proliferation of beneficial indigenous microorganisms, sustaining their growth and population, creating living soil and opening mechanisms and bridges to extract natural minerals to be taken by the plant and stored, broken down again to be mineralized for future use as it completes the nutrient cycle. Beneficial Indigenous Microorganisms is the start of this cycle, the ultimate digester, user and re-users.” – Anonymous
In 2003, while I was attending an Apprenticeship course in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California Santa Cruz, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (UCSC-CASFS), I had the opportunity to share my practical knowledge and experience with the natural farming system of culturing beneficial indigenous microorganisms for use in agriculture with other apprentices in the program. We had started to raise free-range chickens at the UCSC Farm & Garden and had used this traditional Asian natural farming technology not only in raising odor free, healthy chickens but also to grow vegetables in our kitchen garden. Interestingly enough, we had grown healthy chickens without the use of vaccines and antibiotics, and fed them only once a day. We had also raised some vegetables in our kitchen garden bed which had been inoculated with beneficial indigenous microorganisms and occasionally sprayed with biological nutrients from local herbs and weeds. We had observed healthy plants with very minimal pests and no diseases. We had mulched some beds and sprayed them with beneficial indigenous microorganisms and only minimally tilled the soil.