A Philosophy of Harmony with Nature
Natural Agriculture was developed in Japan by Mokichi Okada (1882 - 1955) to foster a renewed understanding of the harmony that exists among all elements: earth, sun, wind, rain, seasons, the farmer, the people who eat the food, and the society in which people live. 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 while working with nature instead of against it.
“The principle of Natural Agriculture is an overriding respect and concern for nature,”
stated Mokichi Okada in his article, “A Great Agricultural Revolution.” This respect leads to minimum intervention in the growing process. Many modern agricultural practices are based on a belief in the need to control and manipulate the growing process. Nature is viewed as a mechanical thing in which it is possible to replace one gene with a manufactured genetically modified organism without any effect upon the natural world order and balance. With honey bee die off, growing intolerances to staples like wheat, an increase in allergies, not to forget other more grievous health concerns, the assumption that life is only a mechanical process falls flat. Natural Agriculture, on the other hand, sees greater benefit in supporting and working in partnership with the natural forces. The natural world is viewed as an organic, living and spiritual being where order and balance move beyond the extraction only produce model to a sustainable harmony.
By understanding the relationship among all the elements involved in the natural growing processes—light, soil and water—Natural Agriculture fosters a deep awareness of the contribution of each element. In today’s modern society many people have lost the understanding of the interconnection of all life and how harming one part of the ecosystem will ultimately pollute waters and soil and destabilize the whole natural balance.
The principle of respect for nature is based on the perception that consciousness guides all life process. This consciousness extends to all that grows. Natural Agriculture recognizes that plants are living entities and that the elements of nature function best when left in their pure, natural state. Thus it recognizes the purity of soil, which contains all the elements needed for healthy plant growth. If properly cared for, soil provides better nutrition for plants without the addition of fertilizers, which inhibit the soil’s natural ability to enrich itself. Similarly, seeds are respected for their natural purity and are not manipulated for specified ends. Seeds are collected and continually cropped for the symbiotic balance between soil and themselves. 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. This in turn leads to better health and a better frame of mind for those who eat Natural Agricultural produce.
If asked what they are trying to accomplish, Natural Agriculture farmers will often surprisingly answer, “world peace.” Indeed working with nature instead of constantly being caught in an unending war between production, the soil, the weather and the other plant and insect life that inhabits the world might truly be the first step to world peace. Everything has its place and its purpose and is intimately tied to the physical and spiritual laws that govern the universe. To realize this and to respect everything for what it is will indeed open up the heart and mind to the beauty of the world we inhabit. If we do not have internal peace can we expect an external one?
Natural Agriculture then is more than a system of food production, it is a way of life.