Agriculture - - Everyone Healthy -

I LEARNED from a re­cent work­shop at the EM Kyu­sei Na­ture Farm­ing Cen­ter in Saraburi, Thai­land, about how kitchen wastes are fer­mented for one week then ap­plied be­low gar­den plots for veg­eta­bles with the use of an EM (ef­fec­tive micro­organ­ism)-ac­ti­vated so­lu­tion (EMAS) and bokashi(fer­mented or­ganic mat­ter) to im­prove soil qual­ity and en­hance soil fer­til­ity in three weeks. When we were do­ing field prac­tice, I re­al­ized how many op­por­tu­ni­ties we have lost back home by throw­ing away these biodegrad­able wastes. My sec­ond work­shop at Kyu­seifirmed my firm re­solve to ed­u­cate our farm­ers on how to ap­ply this sim­ple agro­nomic tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped by Dr. TeruoHiga of Ja­pan in the 1970s which is now used widely through­out Asia—par­tic­u­larly Thai­land, Viet­nam, In­done­sia, Korea, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, and Myan­mar—in ad­di­tion to Ja­pan and in Europe, the Mid­dle East, and the Amer­i­cas. This adds up to over 140 coun­tries us­ing “EM power”in agri­cul­ture, aqua­cul­ture, en­vi­ron­men­tal re­me­di­a­tion, san­i­ta­tion, and hu­man health.

To­day, we shall fo­cus on the magic of EM and how these mi­nut­est of farm­ers’ friends can es­tab­lish and sus­tain healthy soil for our crops. Mod­ern agri­cul­ture has in­deed gone a long way in un­der­stand­ing the soil and how we should care for it to pro­duce qual­ity veg­eta­bles, herbs, fruits, root crops, and ornamentals.

WHO ARE THESE MINUTE FARM­ERS’ FRIENDS? The prin­ci­pal mi­cro-or­gan­isms in EM are:

• Pho­totrophic bac­te­ria: Also known as pho­to­syn­thetic bac­te­ria, these are an an­cient type of or­gan­ism that has been in ex­is­tence from the time the Earth achieved its present con­cen­tra­tion of oxy­gen. They uti­lize so­lar energy to me­tab­o­lize or­ganic and in­or­ganic sub­stances.

They have the abil­ity to de­com­pose or­ganic ma­te­ri­als like farm wastes and waste­water. The break­down of or­ganic wastes into com­post has wide ap­pli­ca­tions in agri­cul­ture, con­vert­ing ma­nure into fer­til­iz­ers, con­di­tion­ing fish­pond wa­ter by break­ing down ex­cess feed and dead fish into amino acids and re­cy­cling biodegrad­able com­mu­nity and in­dus­trial wastes.

Pho­totropic bac­te­ria are in­volved in var­i­ous meta­bolic sys­tems, and play a ma­jor role in ni­tro­gen cy­cling and car­bon cy­cling. This role al­lows the other micro­organ­isms in EM to co-ex­ist. It is thus an es­sen­tial el­e­ment in EM-1.

• Lac­tic acid bac­te­ria: This con­verts large amounts of sug­ars into lac­tic acid through fer­men­ta­tion. Through the pro­duc­tion of lac­tic acid, these bac­te­ria also in­hibit the growth of path­o­genic and other var­i­ous harm­ful micro­organ­isms by low­er­ing the pH.

Lac­tic acid bac­te­ria are widely used in the pro­duc­tion of fer­mented food such as cheese and yogurt, which are nat­u­rally pre­served for a long pe­riod of time. Since Louis Pas­teur dis­cov­ered lac­tic acid bac­te­ria in 1857, it has been noted for its ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects on health and longevity.

• Yeast: Due to its pop­u­lar­ity as a fer­men­ta­tion starter, yeast is a micro­organ­ism nec­es­sary for the brew­ing of al­co­hol and mak­ing bread.Yeast was dis­cov­ered by the Dutch mer­chant Antony Van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), who first iden­ti­fied the world of micro­organ­isms. Tax­o­nom­i­cally, yeast is a eu­kary­ote. It dif­fers from fungi in that it gen­er­ally is uni­cel­lu­lar through­out its life. Within the mi­cro­bial world, it is a small group of micro­organ­isms, yet it is es­sen­tial to hu­man life.

Yeast lives in sugar-rich en­vi­ron­ments such as in nec­tar and the sur­face of fruits.In EM-1, yeast pro­duces many bi­o­log­i­cally ac­tive agents such as amino acids and polysac­cha­rides.

The ‘Three Musketeers’ of EM-1: The dif­fer­ent species of mi­crobes in EM—pho­to­syn­thetic bac­te­ria, lac­tic acid bac­te­ria, and yeast, aside from the smaller colonies of mi­crobes—have their re­spec­tive func­tions. How­ever, pho­to­syn­thetic bac­te­ria could be con­sid­ered the pivot of EM ac­tiv­ity.

Pho­to­syn­thetic bac­te­ria sup­port the ac­tiv­i­ties of other

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