A description of Natural Farming. Advantages and disadvantages.
In a natural farm you decrease the deceases of the plants by increasing the biodiversity (and therefore increasing the health of the ecosystem). You expect to produce smaller quantities of a greater variety of goods/products. Thus, the total productivity is increased. You are not supposed to harvest the whole production, in order to let the nature breed plants by the remaining fruits/seeds on the field, as nature knows to do. These fruits/seeds also attract birds and insects, which increases the biodiversity. In a natural farm there are no good or bad living organisms. They are all vital for a balanced ecosystem. There is no external input on the ecosystem such as fertilizers, neither extended exploitation that can deplete it. On the contrary, the role of the farmer is to help the nature flourish.
In order to make a natural farm, first of all you must find seeds of local, semi-wild plants (non- improved varieties) that can withstand the local climate without the need of fertilizers, pesticides. Then you must let the sprouts and baby-trees grow naturally, taking their natural shape. This shape is the optimum for good ventilation and insolation of the branches, which lead to healthy trees. If you frustrate in a pot or cut the main root of a baby-tree, then it will never take its natural shape. You can prune only the dead branches, leaving them in the field to rot. Nitrogen-fixing plants also improve the fertility of the soil. Plowing is not allowed because it destroys the structure of the soil and exposes it to the rays of the sun. You sow by spreading Seed balls on the field, balls of clay containing the seeds. The clay protects the seeds from the insects and the sun rays. After that, you can cut the grass and the weeds to cover the seedballs. The increased biodiversity suppresses the weeds. Mulch can also be used to reduce weed growth.
More detailed concepts
In a natural farm there is no need for:
That is why the costs are dramatically reduced.
The only disadvantage is that harvesting is far more difficult. The variety of the goods/products is greater, the population of the plants is denser, and the height of the trees is greater. However, that is where the technology and automation could really help. Designing machines for harvesting that can respect the concept of these farms would be a challenge.
Natural Farms around the World
Natural farming was firstly introduced by Masanobu Fukuoka.
This method is applied in Greece by Panagiotis Manikis.
A natural farm in Canada.
A farm in India is converted into a natural farm.