Apart from Japan, Shumei has gained recognition in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines within Asia. There have been projects for a few years in India and Nepal.
In the Philippines, a center was founded in San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City in 1999, which since 2003 has been located in Valencia Hills Condominium, Quezon City. In 2004, “Shumei Philippines Iba Farm” was established in Zambales with the help of an expert in Natural Agriculture, Mr Reiji Murota. Natural Agriculture is furthermore practiced in another school project as well as with local farmers. Cathy Tomomi Shima is today’s head of Shumei in the Philippines and Antonio De Castro is the head of Shumei Natural Agriculture in the Philippines.
In October 2011, Shumei International took part in the “Bhoomi” (Hindi for “Earth” / “ground”) Conference organised by Navdanya in New Delhi. The following year, Shumei member Hiroe Aridomi spent five months at the training farm “Bija Vidyapeeth” of Navdanya near Dehradun, Northern India. Shumei also participated at the “Bhoomi” conference in the same year. Navdanya and Shumei also presented the book “Visions of the Living Earth” together. In 2013, Ms Aridomi did another internship at the Navdanya office in Delhi and Navdanya organised a conference entitled “Re-imagining the Human Nature Relationship in context of disasters”, in which Shumei again participated.
In 2014, Shumei participated in the conference “Gandhi Globalization and Earth Democracy” in Delhi and an expert from Japan gave lessons in planting trees to schoolchildren.
For more information, please visit http://www.shumei-international.org.
Narayan Shrestha got to know Shumei in the United States and he created the contact of Shumei to his native country Nepal. He organised that two teachers from the “Helping Hands’ Surya Boarding School” in Khandbari, Nepal, went to Japan to learn about Natural Agriculture in 2013 – Mr Bhuwan Shrestha and Mr Nabaraj Rai. The following year, Masahide Koyama, Naoko Iwamoto and Hiroe Aridomi visited the Shumei school project in Khandbari. They found that the students grow rice and vegetables, including cabbage and tomatoes in a greenhouse. They explained how they had realised from their own experience that no fertiliser is needed. The farmer Mr Bishnu Prasad Panta was particularly interested in practising Natural Agriculture and also suggested to set up a cooperative for farmers of NA. Mr Nabaraj Rai wants to develop this idea until the next Nepal visit of Shumei.
In Brazil, the first Shumei center of South America was founded in São Paulo in 2002, which was initiated by Suka Kawabata who had met Shumei in Japan where he had lived for a long time. Since 2006, there have also been Natural Agriculture projects – such as coffee cultivation by the Franco family on the farm “Jacarandá”, which is about five hours away by car from São Paulo.
In the city of Itatinga, two and a half hours east of São Paulo, Shumei got to know Mr Hare of Educo Brazil and learnt about his local reforestation projects. They hope to set up a model farm and a training center for Natural Agriculture in the future.
200 km from Belem, along the Amazon, there is a city named Tome-açu, which was founded by Japanese immigrants 80 years ago and where the cultivation of pepper had been introduced from Southeast Asia, after the cocoa farming had not been successful. Because of crop failures, they had changed from monoculture to agroforestry. Thus bananas, cocoa, black pepper, Brazil nuts, noni and other tropical crops can be grown as well. The one who introduced this system, Mr Sakaguichi, conceded one hectare of land to Shumei for Natural Agriculture. In 2009, cocoa and black pepper were harvested there for the first time.
In 2004, Alan Sensei, International Programs Director of the Shumei Natural Agriculture Network, met Barbara Hachipuka at the “Pan-African Youth Leadership Summit” in Senegal, where she was one of the representatives of Africa. Later, she also participated in the “Asia Pacific Youth Leadership Summit” in Japan and visited Misono and Kishima Island. Barbara’s mother had established the “Mbabala Women Farmers’ Cooperative Union” in Zambia and thereafter died in a tragic accident. Barbara asked Alan to visit women farmers and to train them in the methods of Natural Agriculture. Alan visited Zambia for the first time in November 2004, in a time of drought. Shumei gave ten bicycles to the members of the cooperative to improve communication.
When Alan returned in March 2005, there had still not been any rain. Only the corn plants of local varieties had survived, all the hybrids were withered. Since then, Shumei wants to encourage the use of the farmers’ own seeds and thus abolish dependencies on hybrid seeds and fertilizers. Shumei members showed the farmers how they can save their own seeds, and 1,400 farmers have joined. Part of the seeds have been given to other farmers, so that the number of farmers who do not need to buy any more hybrid seeds has doubled. During Alan’s next visit in 2007, significant improvements of farmers through Natural Agriculture could be observed.
Twenty model farms have been established with five different types of vegetables which are grown in Natural Agriculture. The model farmers were trained to show their methods to other farmers. Furthermore, Shumei supported the construction of a retail store, so that farmers no longer have to walk to the next shop for three hours.
In 2006, the first “Natural Agriculture Show” took place in Zambia. Others followed in 2007 and 2008. In 2015, the 10th Natural Agriculture Show was held. The purpose of these shows is to create awareness of Natural Agriculture and the problems of genetic engineering for the public and the government and to promote and revive the culture of Zambia.
In Europe, Shumei has been active in England, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Turkey.
In 2003, a member of Shumei UK visited the model farm in Germany and was impressed by the taste of the tomatoes. Back in England, he found a small garden in London and started practicing Natural Agriculture there. Soon, a model farm of 0.8 ha was started in Harrow (North West London) . Schoolchildren and Wwoofer were welcome to learn about Natural Agriculture. When a plant was discovered which is under protection, the farm had to be abandoned. Through the network of the “Soil Association”, with which Shumei has had a partnership since 2009, an organic farm could be found near Yatesbury which provided 0.8 hectares of its land to Natural Agriculture. The model farm is run by Shinya Imahashi, who came to England in 2006. The vegetables are shared with the Soil Association and neighbors and also sold by two organic shops in Bristol.
In 2007, the wine grower family “Sacra Familia” met Shumei at a trade show and has been producing wine with the Natural Agriculture method near Milan since 2008. That same year, the partnership with Antonella Rastrelli was established in Carmignano / Prato (www.poderemidolla.it), who became the first Natural Agriculture olive oil producer in 2008. Overall, there are about 3500 olive trees on her property.
In 2010, Claudia Ragionieri followed the steps of her neighbour Mrs Rastrelli and has not used chemicals or animal manure for 1000 olive trees since then. Since spring 2015, she is an official Shumei farmer.
Further, there is production of grape vinegar, beans and cereals from Natural Agriculture in different parts of Italy.
In southern France (Marcillac-Vallon), the wine grower Benoît Périé has produced wine in Natural Agriculture since 2014. He got to know Shumei through his Taiwanese wife Shiu-Hsia and he had already been a biodynamic wine producer for 10 years.
In Spain Shumei has been producing rice of the variety “Guara” in “Delta del Ebro” since 2016. The organisation “RietVell” has been growing organic rice in a bird sanctuary in collaboration with the conversation organisation “SEO” since 1996. If you are interested in trying the rice please contact Shumei UK.
In Turkey, Shumei activities were started in the year 2001 by Satoru Nakano, who previously worked in Frankfurt where he had met Nejira who provided Shumei with contacts in Turkey. Three years ago, the cultivation of vegetables and fruits began on a small piece of land near Istanbul.
Mrs Yanna Rakotomalala, president of “Agrinature” in Madagascar, got to know Shumei through her sister in Paris. In 2013, Mrs Rakotomalala gathered farmers who might be interested in participating in a Shumei project. One of them, Naina Ralibera, came to Steinfurth in 2014 for an internship in Natural Agriculture.
In March 2015, a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture was held, who was informed of a village near the school 15 km away from Antananarivo, where rice is being grown traditionally without fertilizers and pesticides, and which was spared from the plagues of locusts which represent a big problem for rice in Madagascar. This demonstrated a big advantage of Natural Agriculture and Shumei hopes to soon establish a model farm for dry cultivation of rice with the Natural Agriculture method in the village of the school 60 km from Antananarivo.
In Tunisia there has been a Shumei project since August 2014 which was created through a contact in Germany. Ali Saffar made his land near the city of Kairouan available to Shumei, and since then part of it is cultivated with the method of Natural Agriculture with the help of the farmer Beshir. In this way, Shumei hopes to make the very leached and salty soil fertile again and to also reforest the land. In January and May 2015, the project was re-visited and significant progress was observed. In September 2015, Hamdi Ouni came to Steinfurth as in intern for one month. Ali Saffar gave a speech about the project during the Shumei Europe anniversary in 2015 in Steinfurth. At the visit in November 2015, the field was fenced and the sown clover has grown. In 2016, vegetables will be grown for the first time.
US & CANADA
The opening of the Miho Museum in 1997 was a turning point for Shumei. As a result of this change, . public relations became very important for Shumei, and at the same time Natural Agriculture was to be brought into the world in particular. Unlike the exclusive tendency of Japanese culture, Shumei wanted to make inclusiveness an important principle. Since 1979, there has been a Natural Agriculture garden in Hollywood and since 1992, the headquarters of Shumei US have been located in Pasadena.
Shumei wanted to learn by working with other organisations in the US. In 1998, a partnership was established with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture “Rodale Institute” in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, which was to last for 17 years. Furthermore, a partnership was established with the “Interfaith Center” in New York, through which Shumei got to know Maurice Strong and his wife Hanne Strong, who are regarded as leading figures in the international environmental movement and who support seed conservation and natives in Crestone, Colorado. Since recently, there has also been a Shumei Center in Denver, Colorado.
In 2002, a third main center of Shumei was established in Crestone, Colorado in addition to those in Japan – the “Shumei International Institute” (SII). It is located on an area of 35 ha about 2500 m above sea level and groups from different movements all over the world have built ashrams, monasteries and other sites there. In 2004, a 10 hectare model farm was started in Santa Cruz, California, which participates in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and farmer’s markets and offers yoga workshops, camping and educational programs for children and adults. Since 2015, Kenji Ban had been the farm manager.
Since 2013, there has been a partnership with Scott Park who manages a 600 ha farm near Sacramento and has practised organic farming since 1986. For Shumei, he cultivates the rice variety Akitakomachi on 6 ha.
Furthermore, there is a centre in Toronto, Canada, and in 2001 Arthur Kikuchi founded a small farm on Pender Iceland, British Colombia. In 2012, a Shumei center was opened in Calgary, Alberta.