This blog has been moved.

This blog has been moved to a different website called https://jihatsuecofarm.com/blog/

All the old blog posts on this blog have been moved to the new website, and no new blogposts will be added here anymore.
Any blogpost that remain on here have not been moved cause they lacked the quality required of the new site.

Thank you for reading the blog. The new website has a lot more pictures and better content.

Why I am not growing beans anymore

I pondering about not growing beans at all anymore, in the Philippines known as sitaw and the English common tongue: pole bean or snap bean, and by beans I mean climbing bean vines, specifically of the species Vigna unguicula and Phaseolus Vulgaris.

Altho pole beans seem like an easy to grow crop because they sprout easily and have very small water requirement; it can actually be a nightmare to grow them in a polycultural system (especially with trees) and the work to reward ratio does not pay off well. I have realized how much maintenance climbing beans really need. They climb over other crops and then you need to untangle them or else they over-grow the other crop and in the process of untangling you might damage the bean or the other crop.
The usual method is to grow them on stakes or sticks, but sometimes the bean refuses to climb on the stake and just wanders of somewhere else, then the bean needs to be ‘trained’ to climb on the stick and attach it with several strings. When the bean does climb on the stick, the stick might start rotting, or is attacked by termites, or sometimes the stick gets too heavy and it falls over on top of other crops. Another method is to grow beans on living trees, but after some time the bean just grows too big and covers the entire tree. At that point the bean needs to trimmed down which is just more maintenance.

There are also other non-bean climbing crops, usually in the gourd family such as cucumber, bitter gourd, sponge gourd, chayote, and so on, as well as singkamas. And altho they can suffer from all the same problems with bean vines as described above, in general they grow slower than bean vines and are easier to manage. The stems of these climbing crops are usually also thicker than beans so that they are easier to take off from trees.

Luckily nature has provided us with nitrogen fixing legumes that are not climbing such as mung bean, soybean, pigeon pea, peanut, and so on. Out of these I like pigeon pea the most since it grows tall above the weeds, is perennial, and easily maintained.

So for now I will not grow any vining beans or climbing plants anymore and focus more on crops that are easy to maintain. Maybe in the future I will come back again to vines.

Why I am decluttering my house

Masanobu Fukuoka has been frequantly quotes as famously saying: “How about not doing this and not doing that, instead of doing this and doing that”
As addition we could imagine the quote continueing as “How about not having this and not having that, instead of having this and having that”

Today me and my wife realized we have slowly been accumulating a lot of stuff, causing the house to be cluttered and chaotic. We are just 2 people living in a house yet we have 8 mugs, 20 spoons and forks, 15 plates; several pots and pans of wich we only use 2 on a daily basis; tech gadgets that we never use; tupperwares, bottles, bags, clothes, and so on and son.

So we decided to declutter house and get rid of some stuff. After removing all these unessecery possesions we immideatly felt better and more light.

I encourage you to go trough all your stuff once in a while and remove all the things you do not really need or any stuff that makes your life more burdensome.
Its really amazing to see how often our material possessions are closely linked to our mental well being.

Discovering food, discovering the abundance of nature

Butter fly pea flower growing on a tree.

Papaya leaves, papaya seeds, tamarind leaves, young leaves of jackfruit, male flowers of jackfruit, seeds of jackfruit, green ipil-ipil beans, roselle leaves, tender guava leaves, young leaves of mango, butterfly pea flowers, squash flowers, squash leaves, squash tendrils, squash seeds, okra and hibiscus flowers, onion leaves, garlic leaves, ginger leaves, winged bean leaves, sweet potato leaves, chili leaves, soursop leaves, soursoup flowers, melon seeds, the silk of corn, black nightshade.

All of the above are edible foods, did you know this? Earlier I wrote “did you know you can eat banana stems?”. Since then I have learned about the many more different parts of plants that can be eaten. The more I discover about plants that are edible of which my whole life I did not know was edible; the more I discover the true abundance of nature.
Food is all around us, but we do not know it. We have forgotten the abundance of nature and because of it our diet becomes less diverse, boring, and more expensive.

Bharat Mansata has written that there are around 80,000 species of plants that are edible, but only about 20 edible plant species are commonly found in the modern supermarket.
It is a tragedy and an extinction of knowledge about the abundance of nature and the large diversity of food it provides.

City people often think of nature as being scarce and dangerous. With poisonous plants everywhere and venomous creatures lurking around every corner. However the truth is that the number of poisonous plants in the wild is very small while the number of edible or medicinal plants is very high. And even among poisonous plants, the number of deadly plants is smaller than those that are mildly toxic and non-deathly. Actually most edible plants are slightly toxic, but for most of them it would be impossible to eat enough of it to actually become poisoned to a significant degree.

It would be great if people will get to know the forgotten edible plants and mushrooms again. Especially edible weeds which grow all around us and are easy to grow.
If we can find out more about edible wild plants our farming will become easier and our diets will become rich with diversity and great taste.

How and when I publish posts on this blog

To any regular readers of this blog I want to say: Thank you for reading and supporting me. I am very grateful for your interest in my project. You can always email or message me anytime.

I do not have any regular publishing schedule. I just write whenever I want to or something interesting happens I think is worth sharing.
A million different small exciting things happen on the farm everyday, but its not worth writing a blogpost about. Like for example this morning I saw a grasshopper jump into the web of a spider and getting stuck.
Anyway I do try to write something once a week or once every 3 weeks, depending on what is happening. However even tho I write I am not able to always publish immediately, because I lack a good internet connection. I write many blogs and store them on my laptop, then once I get a good internet connection I publish everything at once. That is why sometimes nothing gets published for like a month and then suddenly within one day there is 10 new blogposts and some of them might be a month or more old.
Usually the only time I can find good internet is in town and even then its not always the best. Also recently I have been wanting to add more pictures to the blog, but for pictures I need an even better internet connection. I guess that is one of the downsides of living far away in the countryside, modern conveniences like fast internet are scarce.

So if there are no new blogposts for a long time, it does not mean I have stopped writing or death (I hope), just that I am waiting for a good internet connection to publish.

I went to a zoo in Thailand

On a short holiday in Thailand with my family I went to a zoo.
The zoo had a huge safari area where you can drive trough with a car.
There were 2 sections of this safari. The first section is a grassland area with small lakes where there are thousands of birds and herbivore grass eating hoofed animals such as gazelle.
The second section is a forested area with a pack of lions.
The sections were divided by a huge metal fence Jurassic park style.

I must admit that it was really awesome to see the giant lions walk in front of our car, but at the same time I was disappointed.
The lions were fed cut up chunks of meat which was given to them by the park rangers. At the same time the grassland section could hardly be considered grassy, it was a dried out desert.
The whole land was overgrazed and the few plucks of grass that remained were so short it barely came out of the ground. Poop was everywhere and the animals lived in a unhygienic condition.
The area they lived in was not even small, the size was not the problem. Like I said the area was so big that you can drive trough with cars and it had several lakes. The animals had plenty of room to roam around. Just that the animals were too much. Yes it was nice to see all these different animals living together, but there population was too much for the area. Because of the overgrazing park rangers constantly had to bring in grass from somewhere else (probably a farm nearby) to feed the animals. Neither the lions nor the hoofed animals and birds could live on their own and were dependent on the park rangers for their food.

The lion section was in sharp contrast to the herbivore section. The lion section had many tall trees for shade. Grasses grew tall and weedy vegetation grew all around. Even wild birds sat among the tree branches. The lion section was a jungle, but herbivore area was a desert; yet these 2 areas were right next to each other and none of the animals could survive on their own.

When I observed this tragedy I immediately fantasized of nature taking over this situation. One would only have to open and remove the big gate separating the carnivores from the herbivores.
Letting the lions roam freely among the herbivores. The lions would eat the herbivores to reduce their population. At the same time the park rangers can sow the seeds of many types of grasses, trees, plants poisonous to herbivores, and other vegetation among the desert area. Tho the lions would eat some of the animals, I am certain they would not be able to eat all of them. In just a few months of sowing grasses they would grow very tall and the herbivores would have fresh grass to eat and with their reduced population they would not be able to eat all of the grass. As trees grow up between the grasses and in pockets of poisonous plants left standing by the herbivores, especially thorny trees to deter herbivores soon in a few years the first signs of jungle would emerge. This is the way of nature… A balance between carnivores, herbivores, vegetation, and microorganisms.

You may think it is not suitable for a zoo to let carnivores roam among herbivores. That it would be too brutal for visitors to see a lion ripping open a gazelle and tearing it to pieces in from of them, but I personally would enjoy seeing that more than the dependent and unbalanced state of nature the park is in now.

List of trees to grow in the tropics

NOTE: This is list is very incomplete and I will add more to the list as I learn more trees. There are literally hundreds of thousands of tree species to plant in the tropics.

NOTE: Filipino name is used first, then English name if it is available, then Latin name.
If no Filipino name or English name can be found I use the local name the tree is known as in its native range from any language.

NOTE: This list is not ordered in any way.

If you wish to add more to this list and help me expand it, me please contact me here.

Latest update: 29 March 2020


 

Mango (Mangifera indica)
Tall Mango (Mangifera altisimus)
Avocado
Cacao
Coffee
Coconut (Cocus nucifera)
Guava (Psidium guajava)
Casoy Cashew ()
Lychee
Fig
Cinnamomum
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)
Monkey fruit (Artocarpus lacucha)
Langka Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)
Curcum Longa
Asian Persimmon (Diospyros kaki)
Lotus Persimmon (Diospyros lotus)
Korean mango (Diospyros discolor)
Indian Persimmon (Diospyros peregrina)
Black sapote (Diospyros nigra)
Anonang (Cordia dichotoma)
Talisay Tropical almond (Terminalia catappa)
Kalumpit (Terminalia)
Santol cottonfruit (Sandoricum koetjape)
Djenkol (Archidendron pauciflorum)
Parkia speciosa
Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum/mutabile)
Lansones (Lansium parasiticum)
Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)
Atis Sugar Apple(Annona squamosa)
Guyabano Soursop (Annona muricata)
Manzanita (Arctostaphylos)
Sineguelas (Spondias purpurea)
Kaimito Star Apple (Chrysophyllum cainito)
Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola)
Tampoy (Syzygium jambos)
Macopa (Syzygium samarangense)
Duhat (Syzygium cumini)
Hagis (Syzygium tripinnatum)
Lipote Jambolan plum (Syzygium curranii)
Palmyra palm
Salak (Salacca zalacca)
Chico Sapote (Manilkara zapota)
Noni mulberry (Morinda citrifoli)
Biriba (Rollinia deliciosa)
Kalumpit (Terminalia microcarpa)
Dracontomelon duperreanum
Malunggay (Moringa oleifera)
Philippine tea tree (Carmona retusa)
Calabash tree (Crescentia cujete)
Akapulko (Senna alata)
Yangmei (Myrica rubra)
Calamansi (x Citrofortunella microcarpa)
Dalandan
Orange
Lemon
Pomelo
Pomegrenate
Bignay Salamander tree (Antidesma bunius)
Flame tree (Delonix Regia)
Bay (Laurus nobilis)
Neem (Azadirachta indica)
Albizia
Gemelina arborea
Acacia (Acacia confusa)
Narra (Pterocarpus indicus)
Katuray (Sesbania grandiflora)
Alibangbang (Phanera purpurea)
Akleng parang (Albizia procera)
Tindalo (Afzelia rhomboidea)
Ipil-ipil (Leucaena leucocephala)
Kupang (Parkia javanica)
Batino (Alstonia macrophylla)
Bani (Millettia pinnata)
Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa)
Kakawate (Madre de Cacao)

Dao (Dracontomelon dao)
White Lauan (Shorea contorta)
Red lauan (Shorea negrosensis)
Anahaw / Luyong (Saribus rotundifolius)

Banana (Technically not a tree)(Musa acuminate)
Papaya (Technically not a tree!?)(Carica papaya)

Did you know you can eat banana stem?

Banana stems are edible. Yes, that’s right.
3 to 5 old month banana trunks seem to be the best for cooking. The tough and hard outer layers should be cut off and the tender core used in cooking.
The taste is somewhat similar to endives. Boiling the banana stems in water for 5 minutes is enough to eat them. They are best used in soups.
Banana stems may also be a medicine for kidney stones and weight loss. Another way to consume the banana trunk is by squeezing all the juice into a cup and drinking the juice.
Turmeric and lime juice or lemon juice may be a good combo with banana trunk.
The banana trunk should be consumed on the same day it is harvested or else it might spoil or become hard. When cooking be sure to remove all the strong and hard fibers which are inedible.

It is my first time eating banana stem. It is not the most yummiest for me, unless I cooked it wrong. Here is a picture of my cooked banana stem with curry.

Banana-stem-cut-cooking-curry

Bananas grow as weeds here. They can be often seen growing next to the road or wild in the forest so its not that hard to find one.
Banana trunks can be a great emergency food in case you do not have the time to wait for the banana fruits to grow.

More info on this:

Pranee’s Thai Kitchen: Can you eat banana trunk? (Note: External link)

First arrival of the chickens

If poultry and livestock are to truly benefit man, they must be capable of
feeding and fending for themselves under the open sky. Only then will food become
naturally plentiful and contribute to man’s well-being.” – Masanobu Fukuoka

It is the time that chickens have arrived on the farm. It was hard to find native Filipino chickens, but in the end I found them. They are very cute.

The chickens will live in a coop that has a house part and a yard part. The coop is placed near the shade of trees.
The house part is 3 by 2.4 meters with a metal roof and screen wire walls. Inside the house are wooden egg laying boxes.
The floor is dirt with a thick layer of freshly cut hay from other parts of the farm.

The yard part is approximately 2.4 by 10 meters. With walls and roof made out of fence and a dirt floor.
The yard also contains a 1 year old coconut tree that I planted there before I decided to build the chicken coop there. I will probably need to cut it down at some point when it outgrows the fence.
I am also thinking about growing vines on the fences of the coop. I heard grape vines are a good for it, but for now I planted Sayote along the fence.
The fences only purpose is to keep predators out and keep the chickens from running away.

The chickens in the coop will be mainly for egg production. I will also get a small group of chickens on free range that can roam anywhere around on the farm; however these will serve the purpose of insect control and weeding. The free range group will also lay eggs I am sure, but their eggs will be spread around the land between weeds, trees, and vegetables and it would cost too much time to scavenge eggs around the land, but a nice egg here and there while doing daily tasks around the land is always a nice bonus.

From what I have read the most problems with chickens come from cold temperatures and occasionally too hot temperatures. Chickens have been domesticated and evolved from the jungle fowl of Southeast Asia. The native jungle fowl actually still walks around here, they are a lot smaller then chickens and more agile. Considering that I am in Southeast Asia I assume that the chickens I will have will not need to do much pampering for the chickens to survive the climate. Because the coop is open on all sides except the roof there is plenty of ventilation and clean air.
If they need shade they can just go under the roof. Cold of course will not be a problem in the tropics. In fact I even see the baby chicks of the neighbors running around freely without any need for extra heating. The coop also doesn’t have any artificial lighting. There is 12 hours of sun here throughout the whole year. It seems like the tropics is the most perfect environment for keeping chickens without any artificial needs or extra inputs.

The chickens will live on a diet of corn, unhulled rice, the insects they gather, kitchen scraps, and eggshells. There is no need for them to be on any fancy poultry diets with anti-biotics and vitamins and what not. I added a 3 full wheelbarrows of and fine and course gravel and mixed it with the dirt of the yard. This way the chickens can have enough grit to digest their food.
I am still figuring out the costs of their diet, so for now I am feeding them a cheap chicken feed. Altho its not organic (I am assuming the feed were grown with chemicals, as far as I know it does not contain any anti-biotics.

My grandfather used to be a small chicken farmer. He had around 100 chickens on his farm, but occasionally he also had sheep and pigs. I enjoyed my grandfathers farm a lot as a child and always loved to go there. I was allowed to feed the chickens and harvest the eggs. The chickens on his farm lived for on average of 2 years before they would be sold for meat.
My grandfather would sell the eggs door to door in town on a bicycle with a big cart behind it. The chickens were housed in a giant barn at night with heat lamps and free ranged during the day.

As I am a vegetarian I do not really have the intent of eating chickens. The average lifespan of a chicken is 5 to 7 years, yet a chicken is producing maximum eggs for around the first 2 to 3 years of its life. That is why most egg laying chickens get killed after only 2 to 3 years. If my chickens are past their primary egg laying time I will either move them to permanent free range for insect and weed control or simply release them in the jungle where they can be food for the wild predators; or if it proves to be economically beneficial I can sell them. Although I heard that old chickens are not good for meat, except as broth because the meat is no longer tender.

Praise of the palengke. Why the supermarket is useless and the traditional market is better

In praise of the traditional markets of the Philippines or “Palengke” and why supermarkets are useless.

Today I wondered to myself.. What can the supermarket such as SM, Waltermart, and so on offer that the palangke can not?

I came to the conclusion that if people wanted to the palangke can give anything the supermarket can not offer.

Consider this..

The supermarket is a giant building that people are working in for a salary for single company.

The palengke is a giant building with hundreds of stalls in wich each person  is working for themselves or for their own family.

The supermarket must pay the salaries of all workers including the upkeep and rent of the building.
The company also wants to make a large profit on top of that.
Because of that prices are sometimes 2 to 3 times higher for the exact same products found in the palangke.

Now some people may say that the buildings of the supermarket are much more comfortable and air conditioned.
I would say that this is not a problem of either the palengke or the supermarket. It is only a problem of construction and logistics. If people want a comfy air conditioned palangke it can be build, there is no issue in that.

Then some people say that the supermarket offers products that can not be bought at the palengke such as for example shampoo or diapers and so forth.
This is true yes. But this is another problem of logistics. If the supermarkets did not exist these products would be sold by people in the palangke. If there is a demand then somehow these products will come.

Others might claim that its good one can pay by credit or bank card in the supermarket. This is true also, but most people in the Philippines pay by cash only, even rich people. And a cashless economy is extremely fragile to (natural) disasters which happen frequently in the Philippines. A cashless economy is not beneficial to the consumer but only beneficial to the banks who own the cards and hold the money.

Therefore I conclude supermarkets in the Philippines are not really needed at all.

Praise of palengke

The Palengke offers a wide variety of vegetables and meat that can not be found in the supermarket.
For example in the palangke I found 6 different types of eggplant (talong) while the supermarket only offers 1 or 2 at most.
The choice of vegetables and meat in the supermarket are extremely limited. And belief it or not, but the vegetables in the supermarket spoils faster than those from the palangke even tho the supermarket has cooling systems.

Another beautiful thing of the palangke is social interaction.
In the supermarket I only say 1 or 2 words to a cashier person whom I do not know at all that looks grumpy, annoyed, and tired from her low wage job.
Yet in the palangke I talk to the people who have their stalls. They are always there and we get to know each other. Stalls that I frequently go to offer discounts or give freebies.
I can ask them about their products and they give satisfying answers.
If I ask a store clerk in the supermarket about their products he does not know anything or needs to get a manager who also has no idea.

Tho I do have criticism reserved for the palengke which is that actually they still do not offer enough variety of vegetables. For example I would love to see over 10 or even 20 different types of eggplants, squashes, melons, papayas etc.
However to be fair this is more of a problem with farmers not growing a wide diversity of crops and not so much a problem of the palengke.
The palengke or at least the one near me does not offer brown rice, which is a real shame because brown rice is more healthier and even tastier than white milled rice.

Another annoyance is that often the palengke is extremely crowded and hard to navigate with all the people. However some people love this and it gives them a feeling of togetherness.
Altho it is nice to be with other shoppers in the palengke there is definitely a limit, the crowdedness now is just horrible and impractical for me. But again this is not so much a problem of the palengke itself as a problem of overpopulation and spacing. Practically the palengke can be made bigger and space between stalls more spacious to make room for shoppers.
While in the supermarket there is usually a lot of space, it is too much, making the experience feel hollow and empty. I once went to a very giant supermarket(hypermarket) and I immediately felt depressed.

My ideal vision of a natural semi-wild mango orchard

Giant mango tree at the edge of the river.

This is my ideal vision of a natural semi-wild mango orchard. It defies all standards of modern orchards, and I do not know if it could achieve the same or higher production of modern orchards because I have never seen it in real life, but at very least its environmentally friendly (sustainable) and I believe its realisticly possible.
This kind of mango orchard would require no fertilizers, no pesticides, no herbicides and minimal weeding, while at the same time producing a variety of crops other than mango.

I am actually doing something very similar to this on my land, although I am not establishing a mango orchard, but something else. In any case many of the principles described below can by applied to many other type of fruit orchards.
Also because I am not rich and do not have all the resources I can not do everything as described below, which is why this is an ‘ideal’ scenario.
Even tho this is an ‘ideal’ scenario many of these can still be achieved on a low budget, it might just take more time, effort, and people.

Note if you do not understand the reasoning for the steps described below then please read my other blogposts, because this ideal vision is based on those blogposts and give a support for this vision. You can find them here… The guide of 3’s to polycultures and promoting biodiversity and here … Genetic uniformity is destruction of an ecosystem… and also plain boring.

Because this is really a life long process and less about the end result lets just dive right in on how its setup from a bare land.

1. Land preparation

First of all no plowing, no fertilizers are needed.
Instead whatever weeds are growing are cut down and used as mulch, but wild trees are left to grow. If there is not enough mulch from weeds alone then one has to temporary bring in straw or hay mulch from somewhere.
If there is a (pristine) forest nearby take as many fallen branches and twigs and put it on the land too.
Additionally spread as much woodchips as one can find of (of course without cutting the forest). If coconut trees are nearby fallen coconut leaves are an easy resource of mulch material to spread on the land.
Also try to find either wild mushrooms from the forest and make spore slurries that are spread on the land or buy edible mushroom inoculants.

UPDATE: If there is enough mulch from weeds alone, instead of bringing mulch from somewhere else it is much better and cheaper to buy or collect seeds of weeds and grasses and to sow them.

2. Establishing groundcovers

Get around 500 to 5000 mango seeds depending on the size of the land. If you get whole mangoes you can either make wine or vinegar out of the fruit flesh or spread the fruit flesh over the land to feed the microorganisms of the soil.
Then plant these all over the land until the land is filled. Do this when reliable rains are incoming such as at the start of the rainy season.
If the mulch is good enough one might not even have to dig in the seeds, but just throw them into the mulch, tho its riskier as not all of the seeds will sprout.
All the young mango trees will serve as a resilient groundcover. It sounds really crazy but using mango trees as ground cover is perfect.

Then plant peanuts, mung beans, soybeans, and pigeon pea. The seeds will can either be directly broadcasted or made into seedballs and then broadcasted. They will sprout quickly.

Finally plant papaya, banana, cassava, ginger, taro, and sweet potato.

All of these will serve as the initial groundcover, and these plants combined ensure maximum weed suppression while also producing food.

3. Planting the main trees of the orchard

Get grafted mango trees of different varieties. The more varieties the better, the more it will resilient and more natural like a forest. Depending on your needs you can do the following:

10 varieties at 10% each.
Meaning 1 variety will occupy 10% of the main orchard trees.

  • 5 varieties at 20% each.
  • 4 varieties at 25% each.
  • 3 varieties at 33% each.
  • 2 varieties at 50% each.

Like I said the more varieties is better but it means you will have lower production of each variety. Altho the total production of the orchard does not depend much on how many varieties you have.

The grafted trees should be around 1 to 2 meters or more in height so they stand out from the groundcovers and wont become overgrown. Plant the trees at the appropriate distance from each other so that when their full canopy is reached the edges of the canopy barely touch each other. This ensures enough wind flow while at same time blocking enough light to the ground to suppress weeds.

Do note that grafted mango trees are generally weaker than those grown from seed and have a shorter lifespan. In a perfectly ideal world one should only plant trees from seed, but market forces always want the same quality fruits which can only come from grafted trees.
Also a grafted a mango tree can grow first fruit after just 2 to 5 years, while a mango tree from seed takes 5 to 15 years for good fruit to come. So because the human lifespan is short its better to get grafted trees, but if you do not care about time at all then its better to plant trees from seed only.

In this ideal orchard I am describing the best of both worlds is taken by planting both grafted and seeded mango trees next to each other, but the main production will still come from the grafted trees.

UPDATE: Grafted mango trees might actually be a lot weaker than I initially thought. They suffer from insect pests, and viral and fungal diseases. This especially true from those coming from nurseries or grown in pots.
Mango trees grown from seeds might actually grow faster and yield fruit faster. However consumer markets still demand homogeneity in fruit that can only come from grafted trees.

4. Planting support trees

On the edges of the orchard it is recommended to plant wind breaking trees such as a mixture of tamarind, coconut, moringa, sapota, and bamboo.
Also plant nitrogen fixing trees more or less equally spread around the land. It is best to grow nitrogen fixing trees from seeds planted in the ground, because most nitrogen fixing trees do not like being transplanted.

5. Management

At this point it is mostly a matter of waiting and not much is to be done.
Groundcover crops can be periodically harvested and cut for mulch.
If the mango tree groundcover becomes too thick or too tall thin it or cut it short.
However mark around 5% of the trees with some a colored string or pole an never cut nor prune these trees. Ensure they are spaced well enough apart as these will be future   producing trees.
Also do not cut any wild trees that have started growing in between.
Cut down the nitrogen fixing trees if they are taking up too much space, but leave around 20% of them standing and prune if necessary.
Use all the wood from the cutting as mulch and fertilizer for the grafted trees.
Do regular weeding as needed, especially grasses and aggressive weeds such as vines.

6. The burst

This is the time where the grafted trees already have a small canopy and are producing their first fruits and a key point in the orchard.
During the time the soil should have already improved and the ecosystem more balanced.
At this time the entire mango groundcover can be cut down, but leave the marked trees standing. You can also cut back back more of the groundcovers if they have grown too much. You can even cut down the bananas, but leave a few standing or move them to the edges of the orchard.
Cut down or prune the nitrogen fixing trees but leave around 20% standing.

From this point on plant either new grafted mango trees or new mango trees from seed every 3 to 5 years.
If it becomes too crowded cut down the weakest mango trees and a few wild trees.
These new mango trees will serve as the new generations of trees after the initially grafted trees stops producing fruits.

During this time you can also start growing vines on the wild and support trees such as beans, bitter gourd, grapes, singkamas, and kiwi; but keep the mango trees free of vines for now.
In places where there is enough sunlight you can grow squash, watermelon.
In places where there is more shade you can try to grow shade tolerant vegetables such as pechay, chinese cabbage, chili pepper, and eggplant.
Wherever there is extra space plant onion, garlic, mint, tarragon, and other herbs.

If you have the space you can even choose to build a fish or frog pond in the middle of the orchard which can then be panted with kangkong (chinese spinach) and giant taro on the banks of it.

If the mango trees are tall enough you can even let chickens free range in the orchard, but it might be better to do this in the maturity stage.

7. Maturity

The constant cutting, pruning, and mulching will have made the soil better and better. The mango trees are tall and stout with large canopies and high fruit production.

The mango trees will be strong enough to support vines such as luffa, bottle gourd, and uppo.
Planting around 50% luffa and 50% bottle gourd around every mango tree will ensure a bountiful harvest of vegetables. If the vines start taking over the mango tree then simply cut down the vines a bit, but do not kill them.

If you are really daring goats, pigs, and chickens can be set loose in the orchard to freely roam around, but the ecosystem of the orchard needs to be strong enough to not be damaged by these animals.
If doing so opt for native non-hybrid animals that are smaller than usual so that their large bodies will not take too much food from the orchard.

If you are really really daring and you care less for production and more about going completely natural then why not add wild pigs, wild fowl, tigers, leopards, deers, and monkeys into your orchard?
Tho you can only do this if the orchard is very large, at least 200 hectares or more.

8. The new generation

Most grafted mango trees will stop producing much fruit after around 30 to 50 years. When this time comes the oldest mango trees should be cut down. If you have been planning well there have already been new mango trees growing under their canopies. Once the old tree is cut down a boom of sunlight will reach the new mango trees, they will grow faster and replace the old tree you had cut down.
When cutting the tree be careful not to harm the other trees below.
Also while cutting the tree put a spore solution from mushrooms on the saw so that the stump and wood immediately becomes inoculated with mushrooms which speeds up decomposition of the wood. If you are using a chainsaw mix the spores with the oil that lubricates the chainsaw.
If you are going to sell the wood then of course do not add any spores, but you will miss out on a lot of fertilizers for the next generation of trees.
The wood of the old tree can either be made into woodchips to fertilize the new trees and suppress weeds which will grow from the increased sunlight, or the logs of the old tree can be placed around the orchard to grow shiitake and other mushrooms, the logs provide a slow release fertilizer that provides fertilizers for the next 5  to 10 years while also supporting insect life.


Now that you have read my ideal vision of a natural-semi wild mango orchard, I hope you can visualize it in our head wich would look nearly the same as any forest you have walked trough. This semi-wild mango orchard can provide organic fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, farm animals, wild animals, insects, and microorganism… as a comparison I will describe you how a modern day mango orchard is made wich provides nothing more than pesticide laced mango fruits.

1. Land preparation

Plow or till the soil. Add chemical fertilizers. Optionally bulldoze the lan to remove large rocks and boulders. Remove all trees.

2. Planting mango trees

Plant grafted mango trees of only 1 variety, spaced apart so that machines can pass trough.

3. Management

Regularly spray pesticides, herbicides, and apply chemical fertilizers.
You may also want to do shallow tilling once a year, but be careful not to cut the roots.

After around 5 or 10 years plant new grafted mango trees in a new area besides the orchard. Repeat step 1. to prepare the land for the new area.

4. New generation

Once the oldest mango trees stop producing cut all of them down.
Burn or dig out the stumps with a bulldozer.
Repeat all the steps from the beginning.

Creating a bamboo grove / forest

The bamboo clump growing on our farm.

I do not need to describe how great bamboo is, as most know its many practical uses. Here in the countryside practically all fences, barricades, and small houses are all made from bamboo.
Young bamboo shoots are eaten, and there is also a type of edible mushroom that grows near bamboo.

On the corner of the farm is a giant bamboo thicket. It is at least 20 meters (65 feet) high, maybe even more.
This is so thick that at every height and ever side it is impossible to penetrate. It has not been touched or harvested for at least 2 years. It is totally wild, unkept, and unmanaged (up until now). Just to give an example of how wild this bamboo was.. the neighbour’s rooster accidentally flew into the bamboo thinking it could sit on the branches, it then got spiked and trapped. It died and slowly decomposed over the next month.

When I first came on the farm I was very impressed with the tall bamboo, back then about one year a go it was already unkept and wild. In the middle of the thicket there were some stumps that were burned and cut. The usual way of harvesting bamboo here is by burning the thicket and then cutting the canes with a machete, axe, or chainsaw. The burning does not kill the bamboo, but it does weaken it; it also burns off the bamboo leaf mulch and organic matter and damages the soil.

Coming from Europe I do not know anything about bamboo, I did not even know it had super sharp spikes or that the wood is actually a lot harder than it seems.
I did not touch the bamboo for over a year and I suspect it has barely been touched for a year before that.
Having little knowledge of bamboo I did not want to harvest it in fear of killing the bamboo; and its sheer grand size was so impressive that in a way it felt disrespectful to cut it.
This bamboo thicket is also the on farthest part of the farm so I do not come there often to inspect it, thus it is easy to neglect.

As the dry season started I knew it would we a good time to harvest some of the bamboo. It had already grown a lot in the rainy season, so I thought it was about time to do something with it.
We also needed some fencing material to keep our new doberman dog out of my wife’s garden (The dog has been eating the flowers and stepping on them) and to build a shade house.

Me and my wife confidently went out to the bamboo with our machetes thinking we can cut a few canes. We quickly realized it might take us several week of chopping and hacking at the bamboo to get even near the center where the main canes are. After a few minutes of chopping my wife got a bamboo spike into her finger that went fairly deep, she has not been able to move her finger for a few days now and can not put any pressure with her hand.
We came back from the bamboo defeated with only a few small bamboo sticks. Altho it is the easiest way, I do not want to burn the bamboo as I do not like causing damage to the soil.

Once we are able to tackle the bamboo and keep it under control then we can manage and harvest it regularly. The bamboo is located on top of a steep slope. The ridge extends further for about 30 to 50 meters and is full of shrubs. The slope goes down to a flat area and then meets the river. The flat area used to be the old mung bean and rice field. After the flat area got flooded by the river and all mung beans washed away the field has been abandoned; not it is full of weeds and wild trees. Not much can be planted on the slope, perhaps bananas and the flat area that regularly becomes flooded from the river overflowing can also not be used for growing crops.
It seems that the only reasonable thing to grow there is just more bamboo, as bamboo is both resistant to strong water currents and can help in stabilizing slopes. So when the rainy season comes I plan on planting the whole area full of bamboo to create a small bamboo forest or grove. I will try to clone the bamboo either trough stem or root cuttings and see how it goes.
I will update this post further as I progress.

Thank you for reading.
If someone has advice on managing and maintaining bamboo I would be glad to hear it.

News articles related to natural farming and petro-chemical farming.

Note: This is a copy of the page Extra info in blogpost format, cause its easier to manage.

This is a page of mostly news articles for when you just can’t get enough of reading about farming.
If you have news articles you want to submit then please contact me and I add them.

Disclaimer: All info and links posted here is external and separate from this website.

Info related to natural farming:

Revolution With One Straw: How One Japanese Farmer Changed Modern Agriculture

Japanese Natural Farming Guru Kawaguchi Yoshikazu

Info related to petro-chemicial farming:

baysanto-infographics-01

A False Sense of Food Security in High-tech Farming | INTO THE ULU

Why Hydroponic Farming Should Never Be Certified Organic | Alternet

No, vertical farms wont feed the world

Study finds association between maternal exposure to agricultural pesticides | EurekAlert! Science News

Offspring autism risk linked to pesticide exposure during pregnancy

Agricultural colonialism

Why the green revolution has failed to feed us

In India, the Green Revolution turns to brown – Impact of Chemical Technology

Monoculture and the Irish Potato Famine: cases of missing genetic variation

GMO Golden Rice Offers No Nutritional Benefits Says FDA

Who should feed the world: real people or faceless multinationals?

French doctors fail to solve mystery of babies with missing limbs

Dutch farmers learn about the limits to growth the hard way

Info related to deforestation:

Deforestation: Nigeria has lost 96 % of its forest

Deforestation, dying rivers leading to water wars

Going solar isn’t green if you cut down tons of trees

Info related to general pollution:

Titanium Dioxide from Sunscreen is Polluting Beaches

Sunscreen Pollution

Sowing seeds during a Super Typhoon

During typhoon Tisoy I was out on the field to sow mung bean seeds.
According to my own experiences it is best to sow mung beans during heavy rains. This will make sure the beans will soak up with water quickly and then sprout as soon as possible before the insects eat the seeds. The insects will leave the mung beans alone once it has sprouted. The germination time for mung bean is quite fast, taking only 24 to 72 hours.
It is lots of fun to sow mung beans during a rain. I throw them anywhere, in between the weed and grasses, under the trees etc. From my experience this is always a guaranteed success most of the mung seeds will sprout.
Mung bean is an excellent nitrogen-fixing leguminous ground cover primarily because it is not an aggressive vine, so it does not wrap around trees or vegetables. It grows fast and can grow in many soil types and climates.

While the typhoon was raging there was also a water buffalo (Carabao) on the neighbor’s field. The carabao was peacefully eating grass pretending like nothing was happening at all.
Meanwhile our planted trees were bending all the way to the ground, but luckily they did not break. Banana leaves and some coconut leaves were being teared off. But the carabao was just fine.

The roof of our garage almost blew off. A few nails got ripped from the roof and the roof was bending. Then me and my wife went out to get an old bamboo ladder and placed a heavy sack of sand on top of the roof this prevented the roof from being blown away.

Typhoon Tisoy passed right over us, the eye of the typhoon was more or less 100 kilometers away from us. Parts of the sugarcane plantations of the neigbouring lands got completely broken or blown away. It rained for 24 hours straight, wich was not so bad cause we did not receive a good rain for almost 10+ days.
We are lucky that the mountains and forests around us protect us by weakening the typhoon. After the typhoon passed over us the typhoon weakened into a severe tropical storm and went out to sea.

Because our electricity comes from solar panels only we had to turn off the refrigerator.. The battery was becoming low from the dark clouds.

The war between grasslands, deserts, and forests; and the role humans play in it.

Out of curiosity I searched on the web “How to turn grasslands into forests”. I got zero results, instead the only pages I found were titled “How to turn a forest into grassland” or “How to turn forest land into pastures for grazing”.
Some people say that forests are the ‘end-goal’ of a stable well functioning ecosystem. Looking at the great biodiversity in the rainforests of the Amazon, Congo, and Southeast Asia it seems to make sense.

As the readers of this blog may know, my land used to be a sugar cane plantation that I am trying to turn into a forested land. After all the sugar cane was cut down the land turned into a grassland with the small trees that I planted spread between the tall grasses and other weeds.

It is relatively easy to turn a forest into a grassland.. Cut all the trees and within 1 to 2 years wild grasses will start growing tall. But to turn a grassland into a forest takes decades, even centuries of careful management.  It is the Seneca phenomenon. “It takes a long time to build something up, a very short time to destroy it.”

In my curiosity and interests about forests I have read that once upon a time most of the Earth was covered in rainforest, even Europe and presumably all of Africa. Most of Australia was presumably rainforest before the last ice age wich we know from aboriginal myths describing how parts of Australia which are now deserts used to be lush jungles. This is also confirmed by radiocarbon dating. The human species has survived more or less 50 ice-ages in the past 3 million years and the vague information about the ancient past still exist in the most oldest tribal myths of humanity.
The rainforests we have today are the living remnants of these ancient rainforests located around the tropic of cancer, centering on the equator. Altho there can also be found a few temperate rainforests outside of this area.
As the climate of the earth changed and started drying up most of the ancient rainforests of the Earth died out. The coal and oil deposits in the Earth are mostly the remnants of the trees of these rainforests. Some of these died out rainforests turned into temperate forests adapted to cold winters; some of them turned into grasslands; while other areas turned into mostly succulent plants like Cacti and Euphorbia and trees such as Acacia that are extremely drought resistant.

As it is today, nearing 2020 CE.. Most if not all forests including the animals that live in it are in danger of extinction from deforestation.
When I started learning and “understanding” (I do not believe any human being alive today truly understands the Earths climate and global ecosystem) climate change and environmental destruction it became quite clear that as deforestation increases it is not only the trees and the animals that are at risk, but humanity might either become extinct in the near future or live in an uncomfortable harsh world of suffering.
The amount of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane released into the atmosphere by human activity today might prevent the next ice age from happening, some might say this is a good thing as an ice age is a harsh nearly unlivable habitat. But as I said earlier the human species has already survived around 50 ice-ages. Preventing another ice-age might upset the natural long term 100000+ year cold to hot and hot to cold cycles of the planet Earth in ways we can not even understand. We do not know if these extremely long cycles of Earth exist to stabilize ecosystems of the planet. By disturbing these cycles we might cause the destruction of nearly all life on Earth for next billions of years or our planet will turn into the death planet Mars.

For a very long time now, in regards to the crisis we are facing; I have been concerned with mainly two questions:

1. When did things go wrong?

2. How do we go from here?

I thought that surely the first question will give answers to the second question, and the second question will help understanding the first question.
There have been many mass extinction events on Earth before that radically changed Earths biosphere. Considering we are currently undergoing the 6th mass extinction event of the planet it would be reasonable to look for answers of past extinctions and what lead up to them.

After reading up about past extinctions it did not seem to lead to anything useful other than a lot of existential questions. For example if we consider the Earth in its whole a giant living self-regulating ecosystem are mass extinctions then just the planet regulating itself, and are we as humans then just another iteration for another species to come a long?

Then I thought maybe it is better to start with humanity. Supposedly the human species “Came out of the forest”. And this is where the title of my post “The war between grass lands and forests; and the role humans play in it.” really starts off.
The way I learned the story of human evolution in school was simply said that we ‘were’ monkeys living in the trees; then came down from the trees; walked out of the forest; and became humans.
I do not know to what degree this story is true or not, it does remind me of the Adam and Eve story.
From what I have learned so far I can tell you what did really happen..

At some point in time groups of human beings started cultivating grasses. Grasses were eaten by humans definitely long before that time (At least 15000 years a go), but cultivation is something different. Cultivation means careful management such as selective breeding, saving seeds, plowing the land and so forth. During this time plowing was probably still done with manual hand tools such as a hoe.
Not all human beings started cultivating grasses. As we know that are tribes and human communities today that live in forests and have done so for the past thousands of years and there is no reason to believe they have been doing anything else ever; grasses do not even exist in their diet.
Soon after the start of the cultivation of grasses there was the start of the domestication of animals. Most notable of these domesticated animals was the cow and the horse. Hoofed animals who live on grasses. The cow was used to plow fields on a greater area with less time. Most of Africa used to by covered in humid forests, it was not the dry desert area it is today.
Interestingly the time period were Africa started drying up, turning into a desert grassland without forest cover overlaps exactly with the time frame of the first domestication of cows. This is around 8000 to 12000 years a go.
Note that the end of the last glacial period was around 12000 years a go which started the inter-glacial period in which we are in now. During the height of each ice age most forests including the rainforests turn into grasslands and deserts, except for a few pockets were forests remain. After each ice age which lasts for around 40000 to 100000 years following the cyclical orbit of the Earth, there is an inter-glacial period in which the climate warms up, the ice-sheets retreat to the poles and the forest cover on Earth returns. As the Earth’s climate slowly warms and the ice-sheets melt the climate should turn from cool and dry to more hot and humid which is the perfect climate for forests. Yet since the last 12000 years in areas were there was a high human population density the climate has turned either hot and dry or cool and dry which is the perfect conditions for desert formation; this change in climate can only be explained by human caused deforestation. As far as I am aware there are currently no known climatic cycles, except for ice-ages which can turn entire regions into deserts in such a short span of time; so deforestation seem to be only plausible answer or at least there is a very strong correlation.
I do not know if this has much to do with human caused desertification, but the oldest megalithic stone circle in the world appeared around 11000 to 11500 years a go, in Turkey which is now a dry desert. The interesting thing is that the stones in this place are carved with art such as snakes, lions or tigers, spiders, cows and trees. This must mean that that region at that time must have been full of life with a variety of animals and plants, because deserts are the epitome of death and building such a huge stone structure would have been extremely difficult without nearby sources of food from animals and plants. The date of this site also corresponds to the timeline of the first animal and plant domestication.
And it was not long after that period that the first proto-cities were started being built around 5000 to 7000 years a go. And since then up to the present day there is a long history of civilizations springing up, forests receding; grasslands and deserts appearing; followed by the collapse of the civilization. Just to give you an overview…

The Indus Valley civilization, one of the first civilizations of India / Pakistan is now a bunch of ruins in a desert with barely any vegetation. There once was ample water and thick forests, but now a dry driver is all that left. The ancient Harappans needed a lot of firewood to fire their stone bricks for houses and other buildings. The resulting deforestation caused the climate to change and region to dry up.

Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Arabia) wich is by many heralded as one of the first great civilizations called Sumer, I would rather call a big failure. Mespotomia was not the arid desert we know of it today. It was once covered by great forests that the ancient Sumerians cut down. The Poem of Gilgamesh describes how the man Gilgamesh cuts down trees and is then punished by the gods and the lands cursed with fire and drought.

Most of England and Ireland was covered by forests. After it was colonized by the first humans to enter there, England and Ireland slowly turned into mainly grasslands with sheeps and horses grazing the lands.

Italy, Spain, Greece, and Judea (modern day Israel) were covered by forests. But with the arrival of the Greek and Roman empires the lands were quickly deforested to have food for fire, houses, ships, and war machines.
Only after the demise of the Roman empire (Wich was partially caused by lacking resources from forest loss) did the forests somewhat recover and return.

Many parts of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland used to be entirely covered in forests. But then came the vikings chopping down all the woods to build their ships, houses, and weapons.

When the colonizers cut down the trees in the USA this caused the climate to rapidly dry up and a desert to form which was the leading cause of the dust bowl.

The colonizers in Australia and New Zealand rapidly started deforesting the lands wich is still on going up to the present day, causing the Australian climate to dry up with more intense droughts every year.

And of course with the industrial revolution deforestation rapidly increased all over the world for wood, mines, oil, and higher demands of food. And as a result all over the world the climate is becoming more dry with long periods of droughts.

Today people of the ‘civilized world’ think that those tribes who live in the forests are ‘primitive’. That they of some sorts are still monkeys who got left behind by human evolution to a point that we deny their humanity. Relics of an ancient time that should be forgotten. But the reality is that the way of life of these tribes would have allowed humanity to live for I don’t know maybe a billion years or more. And yet climate scientists are saying that humanity is faced with extinction in the next 50 to 200 years, because of the way we live.

As I see it. Today we do not only have distinction between two ecosystems, namely grasslands and forests. But also two separate ways of thinking, namely grassland thinking and forest thinking. I belief it is partially the environment we live in that shapes our thinking.

Grassland thinking mostly has the characteristics of the modern technological world.
Such as short term thinking. Grasses are usually harvested within one year, while for trees to grow it takes decades to centuries. Especially in the financial world we see short term profits are being favored over long term consequences.
Another characteristic is uniformity. Today nearly everything is mass produced. Everything looks exactly the same. Cities, cars, houses, phones, computers, tvs, and clothing. It is all looking the same anywhere you are in the world. Grasses too all look the same, especially mono-cultured weed-free fields of grasses. Go into a forest and you will find a huge variety of trees, herbs, and weeds. Even 2 trees that are the same species look different with their branches in all different directions.
When tree planting is done with grass-like thinking it usually results in a mono-culture stand of trees of all the same age and height like a field of grass.
Shallow thinking is happening more in the world. Just as grasses have very shallow roots, people no longer think critically and creatively about issues. Politics and government policies are riddled with easy solutions that do not solve the real problem, but are just a band-aid to cover it up. With things like social media, facetune, and autotune it is only the shallow appearance that is appreciated.
Trees have long roots that penetrate deep into the soil pumping up nutrients and water from far below the earth, connecting to a vast network of fungi that helps regulate the flow of water and nutrients.
Aspects of the grass-land thinking can also be seen in the typical American lawns which are supposed to look like ideal grazed pasture landscapes.
The “Food not lawns” movement is the anti-pole of lawn culture and shows more tree-like thinking.

So how do we get out of the mess we created?
When I was a child I would always mess up my room with toys, then my mother would scold me and tell me to clean my room. She said “If you make a mess, you should clean it up too.” But when it comes to our environment we do not do this. We pollute our environments and expect somebody else will clean it up or that it does not matter.
When our house was being constructed on the farm the construction workers left plastic garbage everywhere. They just throw it around like it is nothing. It took us a few days to clean everything up. When I walk near houses of the other farmers here all around their houses and on the paths there is plastic garbage, even children just throw their plastic garbage around the trees and between the plants.
In my own hometown I try to pick up all the plastic garbage of other people around a river once a week. One day after I was done picking up garbage and putting it in the garbage bin, I was eating an apple. When I was done with the apple I threw the apple in between the plants knowing it would decompose and provide nutrients for the plants, but then a police officer suddenly grabbed me from behind. He scolded me that I should throw garbage in the garbage bin and that he could give me a fine for it, but instead let me off with a warning.
It seems like people are totally confused about garbage and organic matter.

Sadly, I do not think we can ever completely restore nature again to its unpolluted form. The damage we have done to the environment is far too great, we have disturbed and unbalanced the global nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, and water cycles of our planet Earth. The environment is not a messy room of toys you can clean up, but rather a deep cut in flesh; and when flesh heals it leaves behind a scar. And if we ever heal the wounds we have done to the planet we will have to live with the permanent scars that have been created.

I also do not belief in the technological fixes to climate change such as electric cars, solar panels, windmills, and dams. Altho such things are good on the surface and it is better than nothing, but to mass produce alternative energy resources we need to consume massive amounts of oil, mine minerals, and pollute the soils and waters with chemical by-products of the manufacturing process. And with the recent news I have read about how companies and governments are cutting down entire forests to replace them with solar panels. And projects of hydro-electrical dams that destroy entire ecosystems I do not see any future in this. Jevon’s paradox also makes me belief any technology that promises that we can reduce our energy consumption because it is more efficient is untrustworthy. For those who do not know.. Jevon’s paradox is the fact that when an inefficient large energy consuming machine is replaced by a more efficient smaller energy consuming machine, the total energy consumption increases. For example when the steam engine was replaced by the more efficient gasoline engine the total energy consumption increased.
These technological fixes are shallow solutions that is akin to a person who has rotting teeth from consuming massive amounts of sugar and wants their teeth to be healed without lessening his sugar intake. Sure such a person can restore all teeth with technology, but without decreasing the consumption of sugar the rest of the body will be destroyed.
We want to get rid of our environmental problems without decreasing our energy consumption, without changing our modern technological society.
It is not that we need more energy-saving machines, we need to actually change our way of lives.

What we need today is tree-like and forest-like thinking. Thinking about long term goals and the future generations; allowing creativity and a wide array and variety of ideas to flourish; and deep critical thinking to penetrate beyond the meaning of the surface.

In the last 10000 years it has been our farming systems that has sown the seeds of destruction we have today. It is the way of grass-like farming.
The philosophies and goals of this grass-like farming is the same goals and philosophies as modern technological civilization: The absolute control and domination of the natural world for the growth of human civilization. In this model farming only exists to feed ever growing cities, and ever growing populations. As cities by themselves do not have any natural resources they must import all resources from outside of the city. The farming systems outside of the city follows the same mentality as the people inside the city.. Speed, efficency, maximum profits, unlimited growth for the sake of growth, and a fundamental disconnection of natural processes.
In this sense grass-like farming is an extension of the city.

The alternative to grass-like farming is natural farming. Natural farming comes in a wide variety of names such as “zero oil farming”, “zero carbon farming”, “conservative farming”, “regenerative agriculture”, “rainforest farming”, “food forestry”, “do-nothing farming”, “no-till/no-dig farming”, “shamanistic farming”, “spiritual farming”, “permaculture”, and so on. All of these have different methods, practices and philosophies, but they all share a general sense of tree-like thinking.
Petro-chemical farming and organic farming do not belong in this category as I firmly belief petro-chemical farming and organic farming are two sides of the same coin of grass-like thinking.
One of the fundamental characteristics in my opinion of natural farming is no or barely no consumption of oil and its derivative products, and consequently barely no artificial production of carbon dioxide, nor methane. Both petro-chemical farming and organic farming consume large amounts of oil.
One of the goals natural farming is the conservation of nature and the integration of human beings into the ecosystem of nature.

Now to end this article with a disclaimer. I do not want to say that if you eat grasses or grow grasses that it is bad, nor am I trying to say that cultivating grasses does not belong in farming (Altho it is possible to sustain onself entirely on root crops, fruits, and veggies for carbohydrates). I myself am trying to grow rice and millet; and I eat plenty of bread, pasta,  and rice.
The point is the way of thinking. It is possible to apply tree-like thinking to fields of rice or wheat, such a field would not look or behave the same as an ordinary field cultivated with grass-like thinking. For example I have seen people grow rice and wheat underneath trees. Inter-cropping and no-till are becoming more popular each day because it conserves the soil fertility in the long term. It has also been proven several times that multiple shading trees on cow grazing pastures benefits both the grasses around it and the cows who graze nearby.
Also as I have said earlier.. We need to live with the scars created by our ancestral past. We can never go back, we can only move forward; I just hope we move forward in a way that does not repeat the same mistakes our ancestors made.

Thank you for reading everyone.

Economics from the Top Down

New ideas in economics and the social sciences