Shinya Imahashi

Shinya Imahashi has been practising Shumei Natural Agriculture for 22 years. The principle of Shumei Natural Agriculture is overriding respect and concern for nature. Fundamentally, we believe that Nature can teach us everything. Shumei Natural Agriculture was developed in the 1930s by Mr. Mokichi Okada in Japan. Now it is practised in more than 17 countries. He practises continuous cropping with 10 varieties of vegetables. Shinya holds Natural Agriculture learning programmes every month at the farm and online.

Describe the nature around you at the moment.

I have been practising Shumei Natural Agriculture in Wiltshire for 14 years. Here, you wake up in the morning to the sound of birds singing, and when you open the window, you are surrounded by clean air. In addition to vegetables, thousands of flowers are planted to soothe visitors, and there are so many bees flying around. It is like heaven on earth, and just being in the fields heals you and fills you with a happy feeling.

In the centre of the field, we made a small mountain in the image of Mount Fuji in Japan and the words 'WORLD PEACE' with the wish that people all over the world will be 'healthy and happy' forever. Just as nature heals us and makes us healthy, I want to take care of nature too.

Where do you feel most at ease?

In the vegetable field.

What lessons have you learned from Natural Agriculture?

Natural Agriculture philosopher Mokichi Okada said: “Nature can teach us everything”. As such, Natural Agriculture strives to learn from nature. So basically, I don't read a lot of generally available farming books, I try to feel and understand how nature (soil and vegetables) wants us to do things. In my field, I’ve not put anything in the soil for 14 years - I mean no fertilisers, pesticides, animal manure or even compost. The soil is as natural as possible. Despite the fact that nothing has been added for 14 years, the vegetables produce well every year.

Is there anything you’re curious about right now?

I want to share this wonderful, nature-friendly Natural Agriculture with people all over the world. We've started the Natural Agriculture Learning Programme in the UK and Japan, and we have been sharing the wonderful benefits of Natural Agriculture with people globally.

Which song, book or poem nurtured your relationship with nature?

The collection of writings on Natural Agriculture by Mokichi Okada.

What inspires you every day?

The greatness, vastness and tenderness of nature that transcends human knowledge.

What kind of ancestor would you like to be?

I’d like to be someone who has a positive impact on not only agriculture but also on the global environment in the future.

What’s your favourite symbiosis, and why? (question from #TheNatureKind interview with Dr Gregory J Kenicer)

Soil. I started Natural Agriculture and learned we don’t need to put anything into the soil. Soil exists to grow crops. That’s the power of nature. I feel we are alive thanks to the great nature and we are a part of nature.

What question would you like to ask to the next person on #TNK?

Do you think nature can teach us everything?

And could you suggest someone else or other organisations you admire that we could approach for #TheNatureKind

Melanie Knight at Griffin Growers.

You can find out more about Shinya Imahashi and Shumei Natural Agriculture here.

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