Recently in Korea as in other parts of the world there has been a renewed interest in natural farming. We talk a lot about organic farming but natural farming is going to another level of the natural. In the View from the Ark in the Catholic Times, a priest writer introduces us to a Japanese farmer, Akinori Kimura, and his new way of growing apples.
Another Japanese Farmer Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008) a philosopher, besides being a farmer believed the less a farmer did to disturb the natural ecology- no plowing, no chemical fertilizers, no weeding or use of herbicides or pesticides the better the land would respond. Akinori applied this teaching to growing apples and gave us the 'Miracle Apple'.
The articles mentions a talk that was given at one of the concerts by an educator to raise money for unwed mothers. A video that was shown moved many of those present. The talk was about the farmer Akinori Kimura and the documentary that caused a sensation in Japan when it was shown Dec.7th in 2006. His apples at a normal room temperature will not rot even after 6 months. They sell out as soon as they hit the market. A soup that is made from the apples is famous in all the first class restaurants in Japan. When a typhoon hits an orchard he has less damage than the ordinary orchards.
However, to reach this point in raising apples required a great deal of time, frustration and failure. Not using pesticides, blight and harmful insects reduced his harvest to almost nothing. Neighboring farmers considered him a fool. He was so demoralized, he even contemplated suicide. He withdrew to the mountains. During this time he saw an oak tree with its acorns that were not fertilized, no pesticides used, and gave us healthy acorns. He realized that it was the grass and earth that allowed it to happen. It took him 10 years to reach this in his orchard.
He gives credit to his family for the success he was able to achieve. The immediate cause for the change was his wife's allergy to the pesticides he was using. The love he had for his wife enabled him to overcome all the difficulties that he met during the ten years of work. This was a difficult period for the family because during the transition little money was coming in for the family to live.
The priest reminds us the word to learn and the word for spouse in Korean are written the same, leaving us with the message that a couple are made to love and to learn together up until death. Sadly, he says that for many it is teaching and the power of authority that has priority. In families of this type all may seem well but they are not happy, and there are many problems between parents and children.
He believes this is also true with priests and parishioners. They should both be interested in learning. The priest should be learning from the parishioners, and achieve happiness by working for the miracle of love.
The lesson that can be derived from the natural farming methods for growing miracle apples can be transferred also to our place in families, communities and society. The reason that Akinori was able to work for 10 years to achieve the miracle apple was the love he had for his wife. He wants us to overcome jealously, backbiting and lack of love which we often express, and make the effort to harvest the miracle fruit of love.