Nature Farming is based on the philosophy of Meishu-sama (Mokichi Okada). It is the practice of bringing out the natural energy of the soil by vitalizing it to its fullest potential. It is a method of growing fruits, vegetables and grains uncontaminated by pesticides and other unnatural substances. Practicing this method, foods produced and consumed through this natural process foster health and vitality. We encourage the practice of creating small home gardens for people living in urban areas.
Respecting Nature and the Natural Energy of the Soil
(Excerpts from Mokichi Okada's essays)
Principles of Nature Farming
The underlying principle of Nature Farming is to bring into full play the creative power inherent in soil. The dependence on chemical fertilizer has gradually developed into a fervent belief that good and healthy crops cannot be raised without it.
The number of farmers practicing Nature Farming has been increasing steadily and their harvests have been astounding. The practice of natural agriculture as per Okada's principles has resulted in successful prototypes and full production farms in North and South America, Asia, Europe and Africa.
Non-Johrei farmers are carefully making note of the sustained and drastically higher productivity of natural agriculture.
In Okada's own words, "...As the term implies, Nature Farming uses no animal or artificial fertilizers whatsoever, only compost made up of the dead leaves and grass that collect over the course of time. Whereas compost occurs naturally, nature does not provide, from the sky or from within the soil, manure or synthetic fertilizers. Such deliberately-produced soil additives cannot possibly be considered completely natural.
All of creation depends on the blessings of nature. Living things come into being and are able to grow and change because of the three elements of fire, water, and soil. These have known scientific properties--oxygen which comes from fire, hydrogen from water, and nitrogen from soil. Each and every plant requires all three. Nature's laws make perfect sense; they reveal the hand of God ensuring that the land always produces just enough grains and vegetables to support human life: not too much and not too little. If a nation is not producing enough to feed its population, the reason has to be that somehow the divine laws of nature are being broken; but as long as no one realizes this, there is no chance of finding a permanent solution to the food shortage.
Even to this day people assume that artificial fertilizer is the only reliable way to produce good crops. Is it any wonder that they, being so ignorant and out of touch with the laws of nature, can't grow enough food? Perhaps that is the cost of having failed to grasp nature's basic principles."
Working with natural compost, which adds no outside matter to the soil, has three positive effects. First, it helps to warm the earth. For wet rice fields, you should gather rice straw from the previous harvest and chop it up as fine as you can, then work it well into the soil. Second, compost can counteract hardening of the soil in dry fields. Here, take leaves and grass and let them decompose until they are wilted and then mix them thoroughly into the soil. This softens the soil, letting in air. Roots of plants have trouble penetrating hard, packed earth and cannot grow and spread as they should. Mixing in compost allows air in, but it is not the air itself that benefits the roots, as agronomists mistakenly believe. It is simply that small pockets of air around the roots allow them to grow freely.
It is often thought that compost contains a fertilizing component, but it doesn't. The functions of compost are to keep the earth from getting too hard, to warm the soil, and to help keep moisture in. Mixing in abundant natural compost helps prevent loss of moisture when the earth around the roots has a tendency to dry out.
The basic objective of Nature Farming is to activate the soil's innate vitality by keeping it as free as possible from impure substances, which means, of course, refraining from introducing any contaminants such as artificial fertilizers. Then nothing will impede the soil as it recovers its full, original vigor and capacities.