WHAT IS NATURAL FARMING? Part 1 NATURAL FARMING ABUNDANCE Natural Farming is the idea of creating food abundance by mimicking nature and working with natural processes, rather than trying to control nature. In essence you are turning much of the work of growing food over to Nature. For example, having healthy, abundantly living soil where worms do the tilling rather than tractors. Or using Integrated Pest Management and Species Diversification to develop a more balanced, more efficient ecosystem for food production. The goals are to create a healthy ecosystem which grows food with higher yields, that is healthier, and that takes less work, all in ways that honors all forms of life, from people, plants and animals, down to the smallest microbe, and out to the environment on a planetary scale. We are all part of the system of Life on Earth.
Korean Natural Farming, commonly denoted as KNF, is a system of Natural Farming developed by Han-Kyu Cho, known globally as Master Cho. His organization is Cho Global Natural Farming, CGNF. This system is has been practiced for over 50 years and has spread to at least 40 countries. KNF is a systemic, holistic approach. Master Cho was a peasant chicken farmer who went to study with Masters in Japan. He then developed his KNF system in Korea for which he was prosecuted and almost killed. Master Cho and his Korean Natural Farming system are now renowned worldwide.
KNF is NOT: a list of recipes, tips and techniques, not a list of farm-based inputs to be used in an ad-hoc manner. If individual inputs and techniques are used independently you may get good results, but you will not achieve the amazing results of the KNF Natural Farming System. You will not create the dynamically balanced ecosystem which will almost run itself, much like the “One Straw Revolution” of Masanobu Fukuoka. The effects are synergistic and can do more and do it better when used together. This is how living systems work in the wild and this is what we are trying to replicate in our gardens and farms with Natural Farming.
KNF IS: a holistic system based on the concept that agricultural practices can be undertaken with local materials on or near the farm. This translates into a system that is optimally free or at least very low cost. It is a system that includes plants, animals, humans and microbes, air sunshine, water and soil. All inputs are safe and edible. The system develops the Natural Ecosystem of the farm or garden so that each year top soil is increased, rather than depleted, amazingly at a rate much higher than occurs in Nature, where human labor is needed less and less each year, and where plants, animals and people live in peak health, with no waste created and water conserved. The holistic approach makes pests and disease minimal as the Ecosystem is balanced and healthy, as is found in healthy Natural Systems.
While many Natural Farming techniques are found in Traditional Organic Gardening, Permaculture and many other practices, Korean Natural Farming is uniquely different.
It is important to note that JADAM is not Korean Natural Farming. Jadam is not KNF. While also developed in Korea, JADAM is a system of Organic Gardening that was developed by Master Cho’s son, Youngsang Cho, who is University trained, and is based on conventional organic methodology. While it is also a very low cost system with inputs made on the farm, it relies on large amounts of water, and uses soil drenches for fertilization, rather than letting plants uptake their own nutrition as needed from healthy living soil. It also uses a couple of inputs that are very dangerous to make and inputs that are not consumable by humans. In contrast, KNF based on Master Cho’s system is 100% edible and safe for humans. Korean Natural Farming is highly effective. JADAM is a good system, and helpful for some people. JADAM may be a popular method of Organic Gardening, but it is not KNF. You will not learn about JADAM here.
FUNDAMENTALS of KNF Korean Natural Farming:
· Microbial soil health for Soil Foundation
· Directed Biochemistry based on the Nutritive Cycle
· Observe and Follow the laws of Nature
Both Soil Foundation and the Nutritive Cycle need to be practiced together for optimal results. Soil Foundation will give you healthier soil but lacks the power of directed biochemistry. Without the Soil Foundation, the plants may lack the elements, nutrients, and minerals they might need, making the Nutritive Cycle inputs, the directed biochemistry, possibly irrelevant. And everything should fit within the laws, the patterns of Nature. Working with Natural systems is much more effective and less work than fighting the way Nature wants to be.
FEATURES of NATURAL FARMING:
· Environmentally friendly
· Zero emissions
· All wastes recycled
· Conserves water
· Conserves carbon
· Respect and care for the Environment and all Living Things
· Better living conditions for crops, livestock and people
· Localization of food system
· Inputs made from Natural materials on or near farm*
· Animal feed from Natural materials on or near farm*
· No chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides
· Costs of Inputs are low to zero*
· Higher Yields
· Better Quality
· No Till
· Mulching and cover crops
· Hedgerows and Fencerows
· Companion planting and plant diversity
· Integrated Pest Management
· Integration of plants, animals, and people
· Wild Aerobic Fermentation*
· Directed Biochemistry*
· Weekly foliar sprays formulated for stage of life*
*Unique to KNF Korean Natural Farming as developed by Master Han-Kyu Cho