ticks   A Way of Farming   brown tick   A Way of Living   brown tick   Around the World   brown tick   About Us   tick   News   ticks   Publications   ticks

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player



News and Articles


Organic farming pioneer visits Shumei's Santa Cruz Farm


Rodale to start series on
Japanese gardening


Sustainable Consumption
and Production


Fertilizers, Climate Change
and Dead Zones


Shumei NA Brochure



Q1. What is Natural Agriculture?
Natural Agriculture is a means of cultivating wholesome food with pure seeds (heirloom or indigenous seeds) and without the use of any fertilizers, chemicals or additives. It is more than an approach to agriculture – it is a way of living in harmony with nature. Shumei Natural Agriculture was developed by the Japanese naturalist and philosopher Mokichi Okada in the 1930s. 


Q2. How is Natural Agriculture different from Organic Farming?
Although Natural Agriculture and organic farming share an ecological approach, one of the main differences is that Natural Agriculture does not use any additives as fertilizers in the growing process, including manure-based compost. A guiding principle of Natural Agriculture is the inherent power of the soil to produce healthy crops. Agricultural chemicals, synthetic/organic fertilizers and animal manure contaminate the soil, impair its innate energy and weaken plants’ natural resilience. 

Shumei Natural Agriculture Brochure

Q3. Is kitchen waste ever used in Natural Agriculture?
Recycling is an important part of a sustainable lifestyle. However, the practice of Natural Agriculture avoids reusing kitchen waste from conventional crops or processed foods as compost, because the chemical remnants from the food can contaminate the soil. Natural Agriculture food waste can be used as compost. However, any compost, cover crop or mulch, such as leaves from the surrounding area, applied to the soil is meant only to keep it soft, temperate and moist, and not as an additive or fertilizer.

Q4. How does Natural Agriculture deal with pests without the use of pesticides?

Insects are not considered ‘pests’ in the natural world, nor are weeds. The excessive appearance of insects that damage plants indicates an imbalance in nature. Given the overriding respect for nature in Natural Agriculture, farmers will have a different approach. Rather than trying to control insects with harmful chemical pesticides or even natural ingredients, Natural Agriculture promotes a more comprehensive understanding of the role of insects and how to maintain their balance in the ecosystem. For instance, farmers on small plots of land can remove insects from plants or weed their fields by hand so they do not become excessive and damage plant life. Farmers can also harvest crops prone to infestation slightly earlier or grow them in greater quantities to allow for losses.

Q5. What other farming techniques/approaches are unique to Natural Agriculture?

In Natural Agriculture, a farmer’s relationship and respect for the natural world impacts all aspects of cultivation.  For instance, Natural Agriculture farmers:

  •   •  Consider the plants and the soil to be living entities rather than commodities.
  •   •  Experiment to see which crops work well for the soil. They will not try to force the land to
         produce an unsuitable crop for their needs. 
  •   •  Respect the integrity and purity of seeds. They use only heirloom or indigenous seeds and
         collect seeds from Natural Agriculture crops at each harvest. 
  •   •  Encourage continuous cropping instead of crop rotation, because they believe that each
  •      generation of seeds improves and adapts to the particular soil and environment, and the soil
         also adapts to the particular crops. 

Q6. What does it mean that Natural Agriculture is a way of life?

A core principle of Natural Agriculture is an overriding respect for nature. This means honoring the cycle of life, the integrity of the Earth’s ecosystems, developing a sense of gratitude for nature’s sustenance and recognition of the interconnectedness of all living things. By making decisions based on this understanding and respect for nature, our lives become more in tune with how nature works. This applies to the production and consumption of local and seasonal food, as well as all aspects of life. In this way, Natural Agriculture is a way of life in harmony with nature for both farmers and consumers.

Q7. What are the advantages of Natural Agriculture?

  As a means of cultivation, Natural Agriculture:

  •   •  Provides an environmentally sustainable approach to food production;
      •  Does not require any additives, chemicals, fertilizers or store-bought seeds;

  •   •  Prevents the pollution of the soil, ground water, run off into rivers and oceans and the
          contamination of crops from the use of chemical, fertilizers and manure;

  •   •  Promotes biodiversity, healthy soil, reduces soil erosion and can improve the soil’s potential for      carbon sequestration thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions;

  •   •  Produces tasty, healthy crops from pure heirloom or indigenous seeds that are more resilient
         and adaptable to changing climates;

  •   •  Promotes seed collection, which produces higher quality seeds and reduces costs;

  •   •  Supports small local farm holders, farmer-consumer relationships and lower
          energy consumption.

  As a way of life in harmony with nature, Natural Agriculture:

  •   •  Builds the foundation of a sustainable lifestyle by developing a deep respect for nature and      helps restore the relationships between humankind and the environment;

  •   •  Fosters an attitude of trust, gratitude and care which carries forth into relationships between
         farmers and consumers;

  •   •  Teaches consumers to appreciate nature’s sustenance and importance of food safety and
         food security;
      •  Encourages consumers to buy, cook and eat local and seasonal foods often honoring local
         cuisine and traditions that respect nature’s cycle;

  •   •  Encourages individuals to reconnect with nature in their own way and to see the beauty in their      environment and surroundings;

  •   •  Honors the traditional wisdom and support of farming culture and the value of food;

  •   •  Addresses economic, social, health and environmental costs of food production;

  •   •  Helps us understand the natural laws and principles of the universe.

Q8. Can Natural Agriculture work everywhere?

Natural Agriculture can be practiced wherever there is arable land. Depending on the environment, it may take additional time for certain crops to adapt. Nevertheless soil and crops will naturally adapt even in unfavorable climate conditions. One of the most important principles in Natural Agriculture is to learn and observe the natural environment.

Q9. Where can I buy Natural Agriculture produce?

Natural Agriculture farmers usually sell their produce at local farmers markets or through community-supported agriculture (CSA) networks, but it is generally not sold in supermarkets. However, anyone can start Natural Agriculture and communities can produce their own food. Consumers are encouraged to be involved in the growing process and to have gardens of their own.

  The Message in a Seed:  
  shumei natural agriculture   Guidelines for Peaceful Living —
Dena Merriam .
Read more.
  Farming to Create Heaven on Earth  
  shumei natural agriculture   Lisa Hamilton.
Read more.
shueim natural agriculture