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Sunday, February 21

How Shumei Natural Agriculture Fosters a Wholesome Community

Shumei Hall

2430 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107

10:00am to 4:30pm

How can an agricultural method help create a wholesome and harmonious society? Shumei America hopes to answer that question when it hosts this year’s Natural Agriculture Conference at Shumei America National Center, 2430 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107 on Sunday, February 21, from 10 am to 4:30 pm.. This year’s theme is: "Creating a Wholesome Community".
The free conference will be an all day event featuring expert panelists and participants from throughout North America and Asia. Among the participants are Alice Cunningham, Bernie Ehnes, Roy Gibbon, Don Lewis, Scott Park, and Harold Wilken. The distinguished horticulturist Dr. Diana Jerkins will facilitate. The conference will open with a welcome by Eugene Imai, Shumei America’s director. The event will include lectures, a Q&A Panel Discussion, a cooking demonstration, gardening workshop, display booths, and live music. There will be a Mini Market offering vegetables, bottled and packaged food products, baked goods, coffee, teas, and more. Also, books and Natural Agriculture reference materials will be available for purchase. Food will be ready for those wishing to have lunch at the Shumei Center. If a more formal setting is desired, there are plenty of eating venues nearby. There will be a raffle at 3:00 pm with prizes related to the practice of Natural Agriculture.
Enrollment for the cooking demonstration is limited. So, those who want to attend this presentation should register ahead of time.
Unlike most agricultural practices, Natural Agriculture involves the entire food community. Farmers and gardeners, distributors, and consumers are all participants in this innovative farming process. Because of Natural Agriculture’s inclusiveness this conference is open to all those interested in planting in home and community gardens, or even in pots on an urban patio. And those who simply enjoy cooking and eating and are concerned about sustainability and health are welcome as well.
The idea behind Natural Agriculture is simple. Food is grown using only pure soil, pure water, and sunlight. Seeds are gathered from the last harvest and planted in the next. Genetically modified seeds, along with industrial fertilizers, manure and insecticides, are never used. The condition of the soil is extremely important to this process of food cultivation. The earth underfoot is viewed as a living organism that adapts to the particular crop it supports. Natural Agriculture emphasizes the grower’s relationship with nature, with the understanding that plants and soil thrive when treated with love, gratitude, and respect. In return, according to Natural Agriculture philosophy, nature teaches the farmers and growers everything that is needed.
Natural Agriculture was first developed in Japan in the 1930s and its evolution is an ongoing process. Today it is practiced in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and throughout North America. Here in the USA, under the trade name of Wholesome Essence (also known by its acronym WE), a growing number of Natural Agriculture products are being made available to the public: pasta, olive oil, wine, rice, soy sauce, tea, wheat flour, and coffee among them. Although not yet a major method of food cultivation, Natural Agriculture’s practice is growing steadily and the method has adapted very well to a wide variety of terrains and climates.
Natural Agriculture has a social and cultural significance as well. In Zambia it has freed subsistence farmers from the onerous burden of being beholden to agribusiness for genetically altered seeds and synthetic, agricultural chemicals. By reintroducing heritage vegetables and the practice of seed collection, crops have proven to be remarkably drought resistant and farmers are beginning to live with a small amount of economic freedom. This in turn has restored the farmers’ faith in themselves and their future, and has given them hope in their own indigenous culture, which had almost been lost. For the industrialized, urban world, Natural Agriculture can reacquaint people with the natural rhythms and cycles of nature. It can help bring their lives into balance.
The event is free. Visitors may register at the reception table the day of the event. For more information and pre-registration please call 626-584-8841 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday or by visiting www.naconf.org. Those who register ahead of time will receive a free raffle ticket. There is some parking available in the center’s garage and ample parking on the streets.

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