Saturday, April 30, 2011

In Praise of Oriental Organic Farming

    If the agricultural lands of the United States are ever called upon to feed even 1200 millions of people, a number proportionately less than one-half that being fed in Japan today, very different practices from those we are now following will have been adopted. We can believe they will require less human bodily effort and be more efficient. But the knowledge which can make them so is not yet in the possession of our farmers, much less the conviction that plant feeding and more persistent and better directed soil management are necessary to such yields as will then be required.
So wrote Franklin Hiram King, in his 1911 tome, Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan (originally titled Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan), hailing the "intensive application of an important fundamental principle only recently understood and added to the science of agriculture, namely, the power of organic matter, decaying rapidly in contact with soil, to liberate from it soluble plant food."

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.