“Mokichi Okada advised his students that any initial success with feeding the soil is temporary. In the long term, fertiliser weakens the soil and damages seeds, plants and our health.”
– Liz Ware
“The natural plant has hair roots that are longer and thicker than those of the fertilised plant, and as a consequence is much more firmly rooted.”
– Mokichi Okada
Conventional farming, by adding fertiliser to the soil, whether chemical or natural, tends to encourage roots to become lazy. The roots are less motivated to reach deep down into the earth for their nutrients. Consequently, they often remain short and shallow, resulting in a weak plant. In contrast, the roots of crops grown by the Natural Agriculture method reach deeper into the ground for their minerals and other nutrients, drawing on the vitality of the earth. These roots are bigger and longer, with a large spread, providing much greater strength and stamina to the plant. Because of this, the crops are better able to reach their innate potential. The resulting food is safe and rich in nutrition and life force, which greatly contributes to their health-restoring properties.
In a healthy soil there is a billion microorganisms per gram. The beneficial microorganisms form a layer around the roots which protects them from pathogens and they also produce antibiotic, inflammatory and toxic compounds that prevent the growth of pathogens and pests. Thus, the vicious cycle of fertilizers and pesticides is interrupted.
One of the goals and commitments of Natural Agriculture farmers is to bring physical, mental and spiritual benefit to people, helping those who have health problems as well as mental and emotional challenges. The ingestion of food grown by Natural Agriculture brings a balance to the bodily systems that ultimately affects one’s whole well being.
Vegetables fertilised with nitrogen – whether chemical or organic – inevitably contains more nitrate, which can be converted to nitrosamines in the body, which in combination with reactive oxygen species cause cancer, other diseases and rapid aging.
Vitamin C can reduce the formation of nitrosamines and antioxidants can diminish reactive oxygen species. In Japan, a study was conducted which compared the sugar, nitrate, vitamin C and antioxidant content of Shumei vegetables with the average of Japanese vegetables. As is evident in the graph below, no nitrate, but an increased sugar, vitamin C and antioxidants content was found in Shumei vegetables.
Similarly amazing results were found through first analyses of Shumei vegetables in Germany (Nov 2014).
Shumei has also received a lot of feedback that food allergies have decreased by the consumption of vegetables from Natural Agriculture.
Of course, the absence of the supply of nitrogen also has a big advantage for the environment. In particular, nitrogen from animal manure leaches very easily. Nitrogen which is however naturally stored in microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and protozoa, has the lowest leachability in the soil.
“By intensively eating Natural Agriculture rice and drinking Natural Agriculture tea every day, many of us experienced the incredible taste and energy of this food. Now, those who have tasted this incredible food cannot so easily go back to what they were eating before. You know the common expression, “Seeing is believing”? In our case, it is “Eating is believing.”“
– Sensei Eugene Imai, Shumei America
It’s hard to assess taste scientifically, but it is frequently named as a main reason for preferring our vegetables by our consumers. Find out for yourself and be reminded what vegetables used to taste like!
Another advantage which has been proven is an extended shelf life of vegetables due to the protecting microorganisms and higher nutrient contents. In the following comparisons between conventionally grown vegetables, organically grown vegetables and vegetables grown with the Shumei method, which have been stored for two weeks each, are depicted.
Through the practice of Natural Agriculture the producers and consumers of food develop a unique relationship, based on a support system of deep appreciation and gratitude. The exchange of gratitude within this community becomes a key element to its success. Indeed, consumers suddenly realize their relationship, through the farmer, to the soil, seed and subsequent agricultural product. Similarly, as the farmer works the soil, he or she is mindful of the consumers who will eventually eat the produce. This process of exchange forms a bond that benefits each person in the chain. The farmer/consumer relationship is a vital link, which when activated can lead to a much healthier, more wholesome and aware mode of living, as well as a greater understanding of community.