Food!! In a Rice Terrace
How do you grow enough food for your entire family on the steep slope of a mountain?
The people of Mt. Province in North Luzon of the Philippines now intimately how to do this. Their mountains are carved into intricate Aztec pyramids, terraced from top to bottom in some regions. People grow enough rice for their entire family for a year.
Filipino people eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And families are large.
Incredibly, 2 crops of a rice a year can be grown on these steep terraced mountainsides, and a 3rd crop of peanuts or vegetables. This is done without the aid of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and with the aid of considerable back breaking work.
We are told by Monsanto and various big Agriculture companies that there is no other way to deal with world starvation and our growing populations but by using chemicals. I know this is not true as I watch these filipino families grow enough rice each year for their entire families, frequently with 11-13 children.
Erik and I are reading the classic book “One Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka. A farmer and philospher from Japan, he originally studied plant pathology and worked in a lab, until he had the realization that the less we mess with nature, the more we work with her, the easier it is to grow food, we create no pollution, and we live a more harmonious life. Over his lifetime, he experimented with the ‘non-cultivation, direct seeding, no pesticide, no fertilizer’ method of growing grain.
He throws rice seeds onto the ground and does not keep his fields flooded with water. He does not weed. He does not spray any chemicals. And he had huge success, growing as much rice as his neighbor next door using chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
Reading this book has a much deeper impact after cycling through hundreds of kilometers of rice in Thailand (where most of our rice in the US comes from), all of it sprayed within an inch of it’s life with chemicals, and then coming here to the Philippines in Mt Province, where they still grow rice as they always have, on the same land for 2000 years WITH NO CHEMICALS! And now I learn from Mr. Fukuoka that there is an even simpler way to grow grain and even vegetables.
I can’t wait to try out some of these techniques one day on my own grain fields.