One of the major changes in my life was joining, my husband Tony, to help him in his work in the Shumei Natural Agriculture farm. At that time, I just came back from my work with UNICEF in Bangkok helping victims and survivors of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. It was very depressing. Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to join my husband and work with him on the farm. I started digging and planting and dirtying my hands. As I cared and nurtured the plants and watched them grow slowly I started to feel really good – happy, energized and invigorated by the experience. Soon I was going with Tony regularly to the farm and really enjoyed the experience of being with nature and appreciating its beauty. This experience also had an impact in my personal relationship with Tony and my two sons, who soon joined us planting in the garden and going to the farm.
Through the practice of Shumei Natural Agriculture I learned that agriculture is more than just about technology. It is also about working in harmony with the nature. It is learning from nature. This is a very humbling experience for me and has made me more grateful for the many gifts God has been given us. I am particularly attracted to the simplicity of Shumei’s philosophy and the spiritual aspect of natural agriculture – the spirit of God and the perfection of God manifested in nature.
Being formally educated and trained in Psychology at a university, I also saw a change in my professional life. I was able to practice what I preached in the classroom through a new course which I currently teach (Eco Psychology) where I integrate Shumei’s philosophy and farm experiences into the course syllabus. I have brought several of my students to the Shumei Natural Agriculture Farm in Tanay, where they experienced for themselves working on the farm and being in communion with nature. This farm experience had a profound impact on the students too. I have since been coordinating with other professors at the University who might be interested to bring their students to enjoy this farm and community experience.
Being a child psychologist, every day, I see the health threatening effects of the synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are used on the food they eat. These are kids growing up in the big cities who never, or hardly ever, touch the soil, who eat almost exclusively processed fast foods, and who don’t know the smell of a flower or the sound of a bird. I also see the deadening effects of our wired technology on the psyche and spirit of children. These kids only know and learn about these things through the virtual world of the internet and social media. It has a numbing effect on their mind and on their spirit. I wouldn’t even want to imagine what they and this world will be like when they grow up not having the experience of being in nature. By bringing children back to nature we can change this. We can heal and enrich the lives of the young people through nature. The Shumei Natural Agriculture farm plays an important role in addressing this issue.
Tony and I envision the Shumei Natural Agriculture farm to be a learning place for people of all ages and beliefs to learn about Natural Agriculture, as well as, art and beauty. But we especially want to reach the youth. Thus, we want the Shumei Natural Agriculture Farm to be a place where children can enjoy and learn to appreciate the grace of God and the blessings of nature. We have also incorporated the topic of Shumei Natural Agriculture in all the lectures, seminars, and workshops that we give to local government units, non-government organizations and farmer groups that come to the Shumei Natural Agriculture farm to learn about natural agriculture. That is also one thing I like about Shumei, it is deeply connected and involved with the community where all the benefits of our work in the farm is ploughed back to the community.