To help transition Japan to a peace promoting post-carbon country while enjoying every step of the process.
僕のビジョンは、祖国日本で、平和文化を育みポストカーボン(Post-Carbon) 社会を促進してゆく事です。

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Natural Farming the Miracle Apple 奇跡の林檎

The two most well-known and revolutionary Japanese natural farmers alive today are probably Kazuichi Kawaguchi and Akinori Kimura. I've written a bit about Kazuichi in the past and hopefully I will write more soon, but this entry is about Akinori and his "Miracle Apples."





Above is the bestseller book that introduced me to this amazing man.
Later, I watched a TV show that made him even more famous
and reignited the consciousness of the Japanese masses about chemical-free foods.
It is "common sense" that you can't grow fruits without chemicals in mainstream Japan.
Especially apples.
That's why its called the miracle apple.

I remember doing a presentation about natural farming at the PDC this year, and Doug Bullock having a hard time believing the apple story. Not an unusual response as the growing season in Japan is rainy and hot, which is an ideal environment for pests like bugs and fungi to flourish. From the book,
Research in Japan suggests that if pesticides are not used, apple yields decline by at least 90 per cent due to damage caused by pests....
[Apple trees are] subject to major damage which results in a reduction in yield to 10 per cent or less of annual average yield cannot produce blossom the following year. Without blossom, there will of course be no fruit. In other words, if pesticides are not used for two continuous years, the apple crop will almost certainly drop to zero. Unless pesticides are used, this situation cannot be turned around....
Attacks by huge swarms of destructive insects, diseases spreading like wildfire … the history of apple growing is also one of the futile battles against insects and disease. One ray of light illuminating the battlefield was pesticides. Had pesticides not been developed, apple growing would have disappeared in Aomori Prefecture ages ago. The idea of growing apples without pesticides is nothing but nonsense. All apple farmers are convinced of this. The question is, why was Kimura [not] taken in by it?
Whether it be Akinori or Masanobu Fukuoka, what strikes me is their relentless curiosity and exceptional observation skills. Deep observation seems to be the key element for succeeding in natural farming....and in any of life's tasks for that matter. Seeing reality for what it is.

Pests, diseases, and weeds are indicators of ecological balance and plant health. Instead of seeing these as "enemies" to fight against, we can appreciate them as information about our environment, and receive them as a challenging opportunity to look deeply into root causes. Same with people and their actions. If we really understand the unmet needs of ourselves and others, we can come up with better strategies to meet those needs.

A common experience that these natural farming pioneers went through is intense hardship. To be a farmer and have no harvest is devastating in itself. But to be ostracized by your community and at times threatened, in addition to shaming your family because they were attempting something new must have been excruciating.

Anyways, this book is very touching and entertaining, and the two Japanese women I lent it to cried while reading it. Very touching story. Its one man's quest to attempt the impossible, and is filled with interesting stories of Japanese culture, and even aliens!
Unfortunately, it's in Japanese.......

But, after reading the book on a flight from Japan to NYC, Yoko Ono was deeply moved. She had it translated and posted the text on the web for all to enjoy! Many thanks to Yoko, the original author, and of course Akinori, who almost commit suicide after six years of failing in his attempts and suffering immensely along with his family.
If there's a will, there's a way.

Here is the book in full

No comments:

Post a Comment