“The principle of the Natural Agricultural method is an overriding respect and concern for nature. Nature can teach us everything.” – Mokichi Okada
Underlying the basis of Natural Agriculture is a profound reverence for nature, and the farming involved is guided entirely by nature’s intrinsic wisdom. Rather than seeking to control nature, farmers listen and respond to it. Mokichi Okada, who developed Natural Agriculture in the 1930’s, envisioned it not only as a means of cultivating pure and wholesome food, but as an art and spiritual pursuit as well.
Natural Agriculture is not merely a horticultural technique; it entails a change in the way we think about nature, and the advancement of a more sustainable style of living. As an agricultural method, it relies on an understanding of the subtle physical relationships and spiritual bonds that exist among all elements of the cultivation and consumption of food: the earth, sun, rain, wind, the farmer, the people who eat the food, and the society in which these people live. All these benefit from its practice; it is Natural Agriculture’s purpose to make all these elements spiritually and physically healthy.
In keeping with Natural Agriculture’s emphasis on the purity and integrity of the soil, seeds, and water used to produce our food, Shumei is deeply committed to the purity of our environment and the conservation of our natural resources.
The Shumei International Institute has 3 gardens. The Center garden is ¾ of an acre, the Palomino garden is ¼ of an acre and Bluebird Field is presently ¾ of an acre.
Crestone Farm uses the Center garden as a demonstration garden for introducing visitors to the Shumei Natural Agriculture philosophy.
The Palomino and Bluebird field gardens are used for producing Natural Agriculture vegetables. The vegetables are then used for preparing meals for their staff and visitors. In addition, they sell them in downtown Crestone during the summer to locals and out-of-town visitors. The customers really enjoy the produce and have commented that it allows them to eat fresh, tasty and healthy vegetables. Shumei International Institute has also implemented a hands-on Natural Agriculture school program twice a year in the spring and fall since 2004, welcoming school children from the local charter school. Each season around 40 participants from Kindergarten through grade 2 participate in the Crestone Farm program.