(Korean) Natural Farming
Location: John Caverly’s Farm, Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Featuring: John Caverly, the Alchemist
John Caverly is an alchemist. His barn, filled with glass jars, plastic five-gallon containers, pallets loaded with grains of various types, is an agricultural version of a medieval apothecary. This is what natural farming looks like, and since Hawaiians are more likely to look east than west, this movement takes its cues from Cho Han Kyu, a Korean agronomist referred to with great affection throughout Asia simply as “Master Cho.”
(Korean) Natural Farming uses indigenous microbial organisms (IMO) taken from healthy, biologically balanced forests to enrich a farm’s soil fertility. “Have you ever noticed that the deeper you go into nature, the more beautiful it becomes?” asks John Caverly. He gathers IMOs from forests, “grows” them out using ingredients found in any kitchen pantry, then adds this mixture directly to fields to boost the soil’s microbial life.
Microorganisms, such as mycorrhizae, form a symbiotic relationship with the plants and the soil. They provide nutrients and water from the soil to the plants and they take waste products from the plant to the soil, sequestering carbon in the humus.