Many people ask what is natural farming, and how is it different from other forms of farming such as organic farming and conventional farming (industrialized Petro-chemical farming)?
The philosophy of natural farming is based on the principle that nature is inherently perfect; that it needs no improvement or artificial means of engineering to make it better.
Natural farming has two aspects to it.
The first aspect is the view and philosophy of natural farming. More on this later.
The second aspect is the techniques and practices of natural farming.
The practices of natural farming flow out of the philosophy, but as mere techniques they can also be done without the philosophy.
To read more in depth about the practices of natural farming read my other blog. (Will be posted soon).
Natural farming believes that nature is perfect, but to say this is quite a radical belief for people to accept. It means that we can put our trust in nature; for it to take care of us, so we can let go of control and relax.
If we follow the direction of nature and work with the inherent ability for nature to regenerate and restore itself then nature will flourish and thrive.
When nature thrives we will be able to partake of nature and receive the things we need for our lives while also living in harmony and balance with other animals at the same time.
However if we become greedy and take more than what we really need. If we exterminate other species and seek to totally dominate and control nature for our presumed benefit; if we abuse nature and push it beyond its limits than nature will abandon us with catastrophic results.
The philosophy of natural farming runs counter to this and that is why natural farming promotes humility and respect towards nature as well as working on ecological principles in its techniques.
It is a misconception that natural farming means doing nothing at all and letting nature run its course. Rather in natural farming the farmer is integrated into the ecosystem as a co-interdependent participant. Much like how a bee survives on the nectar of flowers, but in doing so pollinates the flowers and ensures the reproduction of the flowers.
A natural farmer is first a natural person. That is someone who is in tune with the rhythms and timings of nature. Someone who has a connection with, and a feeling for natural phenomena such as when the sun rises and sets; when the seasons change, when seeds and fruits ripens and when they sprout; the sounds of birds chirping; and the way different things grow and die.
“A natural farmer is first a natural person.”
It is not a mere knowledge, because every person can look up the obvious fact that the sun rises at 6:00 AM in a certain month. A person can read in a book the way things grow or listen to the sound of birds on YouTube, but this is not the kind of thing I am talking about.
I frequently meet people both from the city or even from the countryside who have lost any feeling or connection with nature. I suppose the best way to describe it is a kind of affinity.
In asking what is natural farming we may ask “What is nature?”, however this is a question that has kept philosophers busy for the past 3,000 years and brings more confusion than clarity.
It would be better to ask more personal questions such as “What does it mean for me to be in nature, to be a part of nature and to engage with it?” or “What does it mean for me to be natural?”.
It would be best to wonder about these questions while we are in a peaceful environment in nature such as a forest or the beach. While pondering these questions we should keep in mind that there is no judgement in nature and that we should not feel afraid or feel ashamed to question our own beliefs and the world around us.
Nature is also dynamic, things move around and change all the time. The way you look at nature may be different in a few years compared to now and that is perfectly alright. It is your experiences growing like a tree that grows new branches while shedding off its older branches.
After reading all of this you may still not understand what natural farming is.
That is because natural farming has no straight forward answers, but I guarantee you that if you just go out in nature with humility and no preconceptions then the answers will become clear to you.
If you are ready to dive in and start natural farming read this ultimate beginners guide to natural farming. (Will be posted soon).