Taku Abe heads MOA, a five-hectare farm in Shizuoka that upholds principles of natural farming taught by Mokichi Okada (1882–1955). Established by Okada’s followers in 1982, MOA used tree-bark mulch and cow manure brought in from elsewhere to enrich the soil for its first 10 years. Then it switched to compost generated directly on site. And for the past decade, crops here have been grown without any fertilizer at all.
“People speak of the hazards of continuous cropping, but in fact that’s what we aim for,” Abe says. “We sow seeds right on top of the roots left from the previous planting. As the older root breaks down, the space it filled becomes a channel for air and water that nurture new growth.” The cycle of death and rebirth takes care of itself, with help from farmers who collect the seeds, keep the soil aerated, and know what to plant where.
◎MOA Natural Farming
1602-2 Ukihashi, Izunokuni-shi, Shizuoka
(The Cuisine Magazine /July 2019 )