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Life in the Soil video update/Nature Farming
------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 14:37:45 +0000
Reply-to: AGRISYNERGY <AGRISYNERGY@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU>
From: Steve Diver <steved@NCATARK.UARK.EDU>
Subject: Life in the Soil video update/Nature Farming
> >Glad you signed on. I think you once had information on purchasing
> >the video "Life In The Soil" for a really good price. Could it
> >have been as low as $10? Anyway, could you check your files and
> >repost? -- Rex Harrill
The reference above refers to a post containing not-exactly-correct information
I put on sanet over a year ago. The following threads on sanet provided the
pertinent information, but since it has re-appeared here on Agrisynergy and
has fueled further confusion, I offer the following information.
World Sustainable Agriculture Association
8554 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Sells a $50 video titled "Life in the Soil"
Nature Farm Research and Development Foundation
6495 Santa Rosa Rd.
Lompoc, California 93436
Sells a video titled something like "The Living Soil" for about $20
And there you have it....plain and simple.
I am simply reporting on a well established fact. There
are two organizations in California that promote Nature
Farming and each group has a video with similar sounding
The ATTRA Resource Center has a video titled "Life in the
Soil", and it is excellent. I highly recommend it to EVERY
farmer and agriculture professional. It fully supports the
emerging consciousness that soil "life" is far more critical and
holistic than our old way of thinking ever imagined. Using
root rhizotron microphotography, it provides a glimpse into the
very active underground world of soil life.
To make this story even more interesting, there is a third video
which is produced by the Luebke family of Austria that is (also) titled
"The Living Soil." It uses advanced light microscopy to view
underground images of plant roots and microbial activity, but focuses
mainly on the humus crumb. The video compares soils managed via
conventional farming practices that produce a flat 2-D humus crumb in
contrast to soils managed organically with CMC Compost, green manures,
and rotations to arrive at a 3-D humus crumb. The 3-D humus crumb is
the image that blew my mind, because it looks like a cross between a brain
with all its undulating patterns and a cave with all its stalagtites and
stalagmites. This image was so powerful and magnificent that I aquired
one slide for use in my workshops.
To compare the combined learning experience of viewing the beautiful humus
crumb and life in the soil, I am reminded of a passage Annie Dillard
writes in her book "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"...."I had been my whole life
a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck."
I mention the Luebke video in the same post as the Nature Farm video
because for me, they speak volumes and volumes about the science and
art of organic agriculture. A third image I would add to this
photographic/cognitive learning experience, is the images and understanding
of the soil foodweb developed by Dr. Elaine Ingham.
OK, back to the story....
Very briefly for an historical insight, Nature Farming is a method
first advocated in 1935 by Mokichi Okada (1882-1955), a spiritual
philosopher and holistic health advocate in Japan, as an alternative
to chemical farming practices.
Jump to the present, due to internal strife in the decades-old
core organization in Japan, there are now TWO Nature Farming
* MOA Nature Farming, which is associated with WSAA
in its efforts to promote sustainable agriculture around the world
* Kyusei Nature Farming, which is associated with NaturFarm and
NFRDF in Lompoc, California
Dr. Patrick Madden, former Penn State ag economist and prominent
spokesman for sustainable agriculture, is associated with WSAA
and therefore more closely aligned with MOA Nature Farming.
Dr. James Parr and Dr. Sharon Hornick, retired USDA soil
scientists and prominent researchers in organic/sustainable soil
management, are associated with Nature Farm Research and Development
Foundation researh efforts and are therefore more closely aligned with
Kyusei Nature Farming.
Having said all this, I should add that I am confident both organizations
are accomplishing honorable goals and helping organic agriculture in their
own way. Diversity is a universal principle of sustainable agriculture.
NFRDF is the group associated with sponsoring four international
conferences on Kyusei Nature Farming. The proceedings of the
international conferences are the most informative publications on
Kyusei Nature Farming that exist. Like the IFOAM proceedings,
they should be in every land-grant university library.
Kyusei Nature Farming is the group working with Effective
Microorganisms, or EM, developed by the Japanese research
horticulturist Dr. Teruo Higa, University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa,
Kyusei Nature Farming, in addition, is the group more closely aligned
with the spiritual organization called Johrei Fellowship which
promotes the energetic healing system known as Johrei.
It is in this latter regard that Kyusei Nature Farming and Biodynamic
Farming have something in common. They are both based on sound
agronomic husbandry practices akin to traditional organic farming, but in
addition to all of the regular organic farming practices such as crop
rotation, strip cropping, green manures, composts, rock minerals,
etc., NF and BDF rely on inoculants to enhance microbial activity or
infuse homeopathic energies. Lastly, Nature Farming and Biodynamic
Farming are grounded in an underlying spiritual philosophy.
Some helpful URL's on Nature Farming:
Nature Farming International Research and Development Center