larry korn

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since May 17, 2009
Ashland, Oregon
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Recent posts by larry korn

Fukuoka-san's farm, which is now being managed by his oldest son, Masato, consists of a ten acre orchard and about an acre and a half of rice and barley fields. He also has a regular house in the village. It really is quite lovely there!
5 years ago
Thanks everyone and congratulations to the winners!
5 years ago
Sure, natural farming can be practiced in the Northeast. How do you think the indeginous people managed? When you look at it and compare I think you will find that the world view of the indeginous people of North American and world-wide was the same as what Fukuoka-san is trying to explain in his way. Certainly their techniques are a perfect demonstration of people in a wonderful partnership with nature.
5 years ago
Hi Jamie, Nice to hear from you. I really enjoyed my visit with you in Bellingham! It's really hard to generalize about weeds since conditions are so varied. Often they exist as "invasive" because of something people are doing, most commonly tilling the soil. When you do that you not only stir up seeds deep in the soil but you also set succession back to time zero. Nature seems to abhor bare ground so it is covered up as soon as possible by plants that have an advantage under those conditions. So the first two things you should consider is what might I consider discontue doing that is causing the weeds to get so strong, and how might I improve the soil or otherwise change things so those problem weeds will no longer have an advantage. In Gaia's Garden, for example, Toby gives the example of bindweed, one of the most difficult weeds in the PNW. It does particularly well in poor soil and that is generally what we create by our activity. Once he was able to improve the soil by using mulch and a permanent ground cover, the bindweed lost its advantage and disappeared.

Typical conventional permaculture techniques would be STOP PLOWING, mulch, sheet mulch, permanent ground cover. Fukuoka-san said that dealing with weeds was his most difficult challenge while he was creating his natural farming techniques.

Say hi to everyone for me, OK?
5 years ago
Thanks everyone, I just got a practical course in seed-balling! I don't have much to add except to refer you to the many Youtubes showing Fukuoka-san and other making seedballs. Also, there is a more complete description of the make up of seedballs in the Appendix of Sowing Seeds in the Desert Also, check out the three part Youtube of Sensei's visit to Greece. The second video is almost all about seedballs.
5 years ago
Hi Ginna (and hello again Nicolas), Although I have spent a lot of time in the tropics, I haven't farmed there. There are tropics and then there are tropics. Every place is different. I have a video posted on my Fukuoka website that is from a group in India that worked out an ingenious plan using runner beans. Check it out...go to the video section of www.onestrawrevolution.net
5 years ago
Hey Andrew, Shizen noo-hoo in Japanese simply means natural farming. For me, creating the special microbial application the group you mentioned and using it to get better yields is the same old thing. On one level, industrial farming and organic farming are the same since they both proceed from the basic question, "How can I get what I want from nature." The industrial guys think using chemicals is best while the organic farmers think that in the long run using organic techniques is better. When that fellow said that they eventually found that using their organic technique worked better for them I think it was because they are limited in their capacity to let go. Fukuoka approached it from a completely different perspective. He said that a farmer should first ask the question, "What does the land need." In most cases the land has been damaged in some way so the early stages involve rehabilitation. "Simply serve nature and all is well" is another way of saying it. The idea is to form a partnership with nature and letting nature take the lead. Using this point of view Fukuoka-san got yields of rice equal to and greater than the most productive farms in Japan. That's without using chemicals or machinery, creating no pollution and the soil improved in fertility with each year. He also shipped out 200,000 lbs. of Mandarine oranges each year. That's without any special microbial booster. That sounds like tinkering to me. It's saying, "Humans know better...we can improve upon nature."

I haven't been back to Japan since 1975 so I am a little out of touch with what is going on there. Several people who were students at his farm while I was there are practicing what they learned from Sensei, but they are not interested in giving tours or anything like that. Sorry I can't be of help there.
5 years ago
Hi John, Boy, it's really hard to say what a "Fukuoka farm" is, actually. Natural farming is at it's core a way of seeing the world. When the farmer or gardener "gets it" they generally know just what to do. Most of the natural farmers I know seem to enjoy flying under the radar. There is no Institute of Natural Farming or anything like that. The closest I have seen both refer to themselves as permaculture/biodynamic farms, but they are gradually heading in the direction of Fukuoka's way. One is Don Tipping's Seven Seeds Farm in Williams, OR and another is Brian K's Inspiration Farm in Bellingham, WA. The reason I say they are moving in that direction has only partly to do with the techniques, although they too are evolving. I mainly guage how close a farm is to natural farming by the understanding and world outlook of the farmer. The place where natural is being embraced by a vast number of people is in India.
5 years ago
Hi Lauren, Animals are important to any natural environment and Fukuoka-san certainly felt that way. In Japan there is no virtually no tradition of grazing cattle or sheep or animals like that. That is mainly because of the topograpgy of Japan and the Buddhist admonishment to avoid red meat, especially beef (going all the way back to India). Anyway, yes, he did have chickens and ducks. The chickens ran around freely in the orchard and were brought in at night to protect them from predators. He used ducks and geese in the rice fields for many years, as was traditional in Japan until the end of WWII, but then the construction of a highway between his home in the village where he housed the ducks and geese, made it impossible to get them safely to the rice fields. After that he supplemented clover/straw from time to time with some chicken manure he got from a neighbor farmer. When I was there he also had rabbits and a few goats. He thought that for his situation smaller animals, up to about the size of a goat, worked the best.
5 years ago