IMOs under a coconut tree in Kapoho, HI

Fermented Plant Juice of watercress being prepared

Ginger, an ingredient of Oriental Herbal Nutrition


	Korean Natural Farming is a holistic set of horticulture and animal husbandry practices developed over 40 years by Master Cho Han Kyu of South Korea.  While reflecting many of the techniques used by some organic farmers, such as cover crops, composting, encouragement of soil microlife, and integrated pest management, Natural Farming is unique in several significant ways:

    •  Natural Farming uses no tillage.  In Natural Farming, soil tilth is generated through the deliberate and systematic cultivation of Indigenous Microorganisms, which improve soil structure and fertility while encouraging the proliferation of earthworms.  Master Cho presents simple procedures whereby you can collect, propagate, and spread the indigenous microorganisms from you immediate geographic area.  How to Grow Indigenous Microorganisms from CTAHR is a good introduction to this topic.

	•  Soil and plant additives, called “inputs,” are created by the farmer/gardener using commonly available, often free, local and waste materials.  For instance, calcium supplements are derived from eggshells, phosphorus from bones, fish amino acids from fish offal, and lactic acid bacteria from rice-washed water and milk.  These inputs are extracted, stabilized, and preserved using simple techniques--such as fermentation and burning—and simple, widely available materials such as brown sugar and alcohol.

	•  Animal houses are designed for happy, healthy, odor-free animals raised on a living floor and fed a rich, fermented, locally-produced diet.  Natural Farming prescribes specific techniques for raising chickens and hogs at dense populations with less feed than conventional wisdom dictates.  Recently, a Natural Farming piggery in Kurtistown, Big Island, was presented with a national award for Best Management Practices.  Here are the details of a NF chicken operation.

	•  Natural Farming teaches how to create a wide variety of fermented plant juices from the fresh growing tips of particular potent plants on your land.  These fermented juices preserve particular enzymes, constitutional characteristics, and leaf-surface microorganism colonies from the plants and bestow these properties upon crops they are sprayed with.

	•  Natural Farming focuses upon the nutritive cycle of the plant; soil and spray inputs are tailored for the vegetative, changeover, and reproductive stages of plant growth to maximize productivity.  Through use of Oriental Herbal Nutrition and particular seedling and planting practices, crop hardiness is encouraged as a fundamental disease prevention technique.

	Master Cho has been teaching Natural Farming for many years in Korea.  The techniques have come to dominate one province in South Korea and are being embraced by the country as a whole.  Beyond the Korean borders, Natural Farming has spread significantly to China, the Philippines, Thailand, and beyond.  Recommended reading is the eloquent description from the Thai Natural Farming organization.  
	Instrumental in the spread of Natural Farming to Hawaii is Dr. Hoon Park, a Korean-American pediatrician from Hilo.  Dr. Park offers his talents around the world through his missionary work and “discovered” Natural Farming on one such trip to Korea.  So impressed was he by the quality of the food and the cleanliness of the farming operations, that he decided Big Island farmers must be shown these wholesome methods.  Concerned with what he observed as the degenerating condition of children’s health over the years of his practice, Dr. Park believes strongly that the health of future generations is dependent on the development of new agricultural practices.  After Dr. Park’s return to the states,  Cho Global-USA was launched.  Cho Global-USA has hosted a series of workshops here in Hawaii with Master Cho.  Here is the website.     
	In February of 2010, Dragon’s Eye Learning Center co-sponsored a seven day Hilo workshop series.  The event was a huge success, with over 350 people attending the six days of training and a farm tour.  Subsequently, Master Cho returned to the Big Island to consult and offer more training.

	Natural Farming is ideally suited for the Big Island with its multi-cultural population, its tropical location, and its sustainable agriculture roots.  Master Cho is very interested in continuing to support intermediate and advanced practitioners with consultation, and several community groups have sprung up with a serious intention to practice Natural Farming and introduce the methods to the Hawaiian population and out-of-state visitors.  DELC is one such organization.

Here are some links to local (Big Island) natural farming websites and networks: