Shumei Natural Agriculture Network
Featured farmers in the series:
Farming to create heaven on earth

Introduction:
Farming measured by a different yardstick altogether (Part I
& Part II & Part III)

How did an agricultural movement develop in Japan that is defined less by commercial success than by close harmony with nature? To tell that story, you have to understand the history of farming in Japan.

Reiji Murota:
Kishima Island
(Part One
& Part Two)

“The island itself has an undeniable mystique… a place where you pass through pleasures like scanning the dial….” Reiji Murota’s long experience here allows him to do less farming activity than in years before, and to still be the deft master orchestrating life in the fields to be more vibrant and productive than ever.

Yasuo Tarumi:
Fukuoka Prefecture

“You must observe what happens in the field—that is your greatest tool.” Yasuo Tarumi planted traditional cover crops to help heal his land from agri-chemical damage. He uses persistent observation and his extensive line of farm implements to practice his version of Natural Agriculture.

Nobuaki Nakayasu:
Hyogo prefecture

“In the lotus root pond there are power poles rising literally out of the water, their peaks taller than the blue mountains in the distance.” Farming between chemically treated plots in an industrial area, Nobuaki Nakayasu nourishes his soil with loads of tree trimmings as he passes on the heart and philosophy of Natural Agriculture.

Osamu Yoshino:
Chiba prefecture

“Natural Agriculture consumers make sacrifices to allow the farmers to join craft and spirit in a fashion unfettered by finances.” Osamu Yoshino survived a “cold turkey” switch to no-chemical, no-input farming thanks to supporters who were willing to pull his weeds, but had to be convinced to buy his crops.

Toki Kuroiwa:
Tsumagoi Region

“She kneels in the dirt as if in casual prayer, and her 66-year-old hands dig without tools: scratch on either side of the carrot top, then wiggle, slide, and toss into the small pile on her way to the next one.” Toki Kuroiwa carries the torch for Natural Agriculture in the midst of 6,000 acres of chemical cabbage, and wins the hearts of her tofu-producing sister farmers to supply the local school with GMO-free soyfoods.

Morioka CSA:
Iwate Prefecture

“The [CSA leaders’] adjustments centered not around appeasing consumers, but around drawing them closer to the things that repelled them.” After consumers went to the fields then learned new recipes in the kitchen, they bought food from Yoshinori Takahashi’s CSA more gladly. Now its members happily rent land to grow their own health-giving food in the more economically challenging times of Japan’s 21st Century.