Dr.Teruo Higa’s
Living A Dream

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#53 Shikoku EM Festa 2011- Zenjunkan no Wa (Virtuous Circle) Tokushima Conference in Naruto -

On October 23, under the sponsorship of the Shikoku EM Outreach Group and the United Networks for Earth Environment (U-Net), the Shikoku EM Festa 2011 and the Zejunkan no Wa (Virtuous Circle) Tokushima Conference in Naruto were held at the auditorium of the Naruto University of Education. Under the slogan Shikoku is United as One, this meeting is held, like the Olympics, every four years, with the four prefectures of Shikoku taking turns in hosting. In the beginning, since there were not enough case studies in each individual prefecture they asked for help from the other prefectures, but now each meeting focuses entirely on one prefecture and impressive local case studies.
 

At the meeting four years ago there were numerous very promising case studies presented, and we see how this has evolved even further in the intervening years, so that EM is playing a major role, with EM activities taking root with the cooperation of local governments, and becoming the driving force for a reactivation of many localities. The details of this can be found in the conference proceedings, which also cover the latest information on EM Technology, and practical knowhow. There are also updates on the activities of EM outreach groups in all the prefectures of Shikoku, and from this one can really understand all the activities related to promoting the use of EM that are taking place in Shikoku. This proceedings volume is thus an extremely valuable, even historic, document.
 

There are two national organizations involved in promoting the use of EM the National EM Outreach Association, and U-Net--and I serve as the chair of both organizations. EM began as a material that would help in the development of Nature Farming, and as such the spread of EM began with the cooperation of International Nature Farming Research Center (INFRC). At the same time that we worked on applications of EM to farming, we also began using it to remediate numerous environmental issues.
 

In response to this, U-Net, with the cooperation of the EM Research Organization, aimed at promoting EM beyond its use in agriculture, to EM-based environmental activities and its use in urban settings. The main task of both organizations was to make EM an accepted part of society, and as they continued to promote the use of EM there were many cases in which the activities of the two organizations overlapped; also, since the number of people involved in the organizations has increased, starting three years ago the Shikoku EM Festa has been co-sponsored by both groups. This helps lessen the financial burden, increases communication and cooperation between the two organizations, and has been a tremendous boost to promoting EM in Shikoku.
 

As a result, in the use of EM in school swimming pools, in cleaning bathrooms, and in other environmental activities, Shikoku surpasses all other regions. Further, a cooperative system in each prefecture is now firmly in place, with a kind of synergy making them rivals in a good sense of the term. I believe that in the future if the Shikoku model can be applied to Kyushu, and the Chugoku and Kansai regions, it will make for much more effective promotion of EM.
 


A Seminar on the Use of Flowers to Revitalize Communities

At the seminar on the use of flowers to revitalize communities held in the morning, Mr. Kunikatsu Hashimoto, bureau chief of the NPO foundation Volunteers for Narutonishi gave a talk entitled Revitalizing Naruto City through the Use of Flowers. In preparation for the 1993 National Athletic Meet in Eastern Shikoku, in 1989 a volunteer group was founded that sponsored many events and helped with various volunteer activities. This grew into the Naruto City Flower Street/Community Revitalization Network. In 2010 this organization received many awards, including a Medal with Green Ribbon. Now it functions as an important entity where citizens and the elderly can come together to be active in movements to help the community, and to raise the awareness of the citizens of Naruto. The organization also helps to facilitate cooperation between citizens and local government.
 

There are 100 members of the Naruto City group to use flowers to revitalize the community, and some 165 other people in the area who also help out. They have obtained a lot of practical knowledge about such things as how to distribute flower seedlings, and how to collect and raise seedlings on their own. In order to make the flowers even more beautiful they have also worked to clean up the surrounding environment. Activated EM1 and EM Mudballs are used extensively in these movements to clean the environment, and are used not just in school swimming pools and bathrooms, but also as part of schools curriculum on the environment.
 

Naruto City is thus the first instance in the country of groups using flowers to revitalize a community, in an enjoyable way, by collectively working to remediate environmental issues, and the achievements of the person who created this system, Ms. Nobue Muramoto, will go down in history. In his talk, Mr. Hashimoto introduced the case of Narutonishi, the place that has the largest supervised space in the flower revitalization project. With the aim of having the residents and the local government work together in the movement, they formed an NPO, which has 80 members now, 20-30 of whom are active at any one time. Since the land under supervision is privately owned, they made a management contract with the city and collect donations, which they use to help compensate volunteers for the strenuous work they do maintaining the land, so that there is no extra burden on any one person.
 

Naturally they face the issues of weeding and improving the soil, but they have solved these by using mulch in spots with thick plastic sheets, and then placing the leaves from tall weeds and flower residue, spread over with rice bran, and spraying Activated EM1. This becomes excellent compost, and weeds quickly disappeared. Using EM in the irrigation water has improved the soil, and it's easy to do non-tilled cropping. The true value of this movement in Narutonishi to revitalize the community through planting flowers lies not just in the spirit of cooperation it fosters between residents and the local government, but in how it makes it possible for the use of flowers to be an accepted part of a community movement to involve people, the elderly included, in cleaning up their surroundings and using flowers to make a more appealing environment to live in. Over time this has become a model system for the nation, and has begun to link up with efforts elsewhere to create more beautiful, nicer communities to live in.




Working to Apply EM in Farmland, Water, and Environmental Preservation

A presentation was also given by Mr. Shunsuke Nakanishi of the Organic Agricultural Producers Cooperative in Minocho. This cooperative was founded in 2001, and four years ago Mr. Manabe, the cooperative's head, also gave a presentation. Mr. Manabe is former head of the Tokushima EM Outreach Association, to which he is now a consultant, and he has done much to raise up many people now active in using EM. As outlined in the proceedings, his presentation shows, in a concise way, an effective way of applying EM. Four years ago this was already a model for use nationwide, firmly establishing ways to use EM not just in Nature Farming, but in food waste recycling, cleaning water, in school swimming pools and the environmental curriculum in schools, and how to apply EM Technology to produce signature local agricultural products. In case studies in rice paddies the use of EM has produced a yield equal to that of conventional farming methods, with high quality product, and has done a tremendous amount to preserve the local ecology.
 

What is needed is a change in perspective, a shift from making skillful use of EM in the technology system to creating a system of cultivation centered on EM that makes full use of its capabilities. If this is done, then simple soil puddling can completely eradicate weeds, and it will be possible for Nature Framing to see yields over 800 kg. What is most important about this case study was how the Organic Agricultural Producers Cooperative in Minocho created a system whereby local people proactively cooperated to create products that are safe, pleasant to use, and produced at low cost. This system has become pivotal in the environment and education, and in the revitalization and development of the region. It is also a system that is self-sustaining without much effort, something that is pleasant to be a part of and that will last a long time. The cooperative has become a valuable asset in its community and a wonderful model for further development in hilly and mountainous regions.




New Added Value in Blueberry Cultivation/The Introduction of EM and Obtaining the JAS Seal for Organic Produce

Mr. Fumiaki Yoshida of Very Berry Farm Wakimachi also gave a presentation. Details can be found in the proceedings, but Mr. Yoshida is so focused on research that it reminded me of the NHK TV series that focused on the professionalism and extraordinary craftsmanship of specialists in various fields and their distinctive work. I remember thinking that if only he had used EM from the beginning he wouldn't have experienced so many problems. EM blueberries are also raised in Shima City in Mie Prefecture, and Chita City in Aichi Prefecture, and they have had excellent results that defy conventional wisdom.
 

What is most notable about Mr. Yoshida's blueberry farm is his technology and his philosophy of living with nature, which have been accepted by the people of the area as the blueberry industry has been steadily developing in Wakimachi. Mr. Yoshida also raises goats for their milk, and free-range chickens, and he has been teaching many people, starting with those are coming in increasing numbers to pick blueberries, about the enjoyment of self-sufficiency. Mr. Yoshida's successes for us now, as the country deals with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, can be a model for the independence and revitalization of farming villages in mountainous areas. If he applies EM-based cultivation and pruning methods even further, he will no doubt achieve even more stable results and I look forward to him accepting the challenge in these areas.
 

In Wakimachi, Mima City we find Kawano-mericlone Corporation, world leader in the breeding and cultivation of cymbidium orchids, and the Anmitsu-kan and Ranmu Art Museum, both of which use EM, and the town is a kind of holy place where there are all kinds of natural beauty that comes from using EM. It is a major center for orchid tourism and production, not just in Shikoku, but in all of Japan. I am hoping that in the near future Mr. Yoshida's activities with blueberries, Kawano-mericlone Corporation and the movement to use flowers to revitalize Mima City will all join together and create a powerful force in local society. At the conference this year all the proceeds from the auction of the magnificent EM-grown moth orchids, and of other EM-related products and EM vegetables and eggs, were used to purchase EM Bokashi produced at local social welfare institutions, which was then sent, through U-Net, to the areas effected by the Eastern Japan Earthquake. I am very thankful to all those who were involved in this effort.

 

Let's Use EM to Clean Up our Rivers!

At the conference we also heard a presentation by Mr. Yoshio Kurosaki, vice-chairman of the Tokushima EM Outreach Association, as well as chairman of the Team Up to Clean our Rivers group. Since Tokushima City is located at the mouth of the Yoshino River there are many rivers flowing through the city, which has been called a kind of Venice; however, since not much had been done to clean the rivers, they are depending on the efforts of the Clean Team to transform the city into a true beautiful city on the water. Results are steadily being achieved, especially the movement to clean up the moats in Chuo Park, where the Tokushima Castle is, and the ponds within the park. The moats contain seawater so were cleaned fairly quickly, and the water is becoming a natural aquarium with countless sea bream and striped mullet swimming about.
 

They have the total cooperation of the city, and the regular support by the city for the volunteer activities has spawned a steady collaboration between citizens and the local government. The day after the EM Festa I visited Chuo Park, and Mr. Hideki Hara, mayor of the city, was also there. The mayor told me how much he had enjoyed making EM Mudballs himself and tossing them into the water.
 

Tokushima City is a pioneer in Japan at reducing food waste using EM, had has great success in this, and there are quite a few residents who have become EM instructors. The appreciation people have for EM is at a very high level, there is a lot of potential energy available, and the EM movement there has continued uninterrupted. I conveyed this to the mayor, and was also able to discuss the use of EM in crisis management and in revitalizing the city. In terms of hado (wave resonance) Chuo Park is already EM-ized and the way EM is applied from now on will determine whether it becomes an EM model park for the nation.
 

Mr. Katsusada Okawa, chair of the Tokushima EM Outreach Association, who presented four years ago, has been very active in environmental activities, and the Tamura Egg Company's situation has improved, with more customers and more farmers using EM chicken manure. People throughout the region are more accepting of EM and I heard many interesting stories about its use.
 

Many people in local governments attended this year's Shikoku EM Festa, including the local vice mayor and the vice-director of the prefectural Environmental Division, and I felt very strongly how Tokushima is starting to become involved in EM activities on a prefecture-wide basis. I want to once again thank everyone involved in the Festa, and I look forward to the day when Tokushima is a prefecture founded on EM principles.



Attendeed came from all the area of Shikoku


Children making EM Mudballs


Removing grass by paid volunteers


Blueberry at Berry berry farm in Wakimachi town


Pumping Activated EM into Horikawa-River


Dr. Higa visits Chuo-koen park


The pamphlet at Shikoku EM Festa 2011

Courtesy of Ecopure

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