土帰 doki’s partner farmer: Rick Mickelson
Howdy! My name is Rick and I have a small farm called “Ajishima Oukoku” (which means Ajishima Kingdom). My farm is comprised of many scattered fields on Aji island. There is a saying among the islanders here that everything happens a little differently and at its own pace, as opposed to the mainland, so it’s like our own little kingdom here!
In my fields, I practice my own hybrid type of farming techniques, blending together the most applicable ideas I have studied from various schools of thought:「自然農法」 (shizen nouhou / natural farming), 「無農薬」 (munouyaku / chemical-free farming), 「微生物農法」 (biseibutsu nouhou / microorganism- based farming), regenerative farming, organic farming, no-till farming, permaculture, and adapting both traditional local practices and the best least-destructive practices of modern agriculture.
The most important thing people should know about small scale farmers who grow food for the community is that we pour our heart and soul into what we’re growing. It is only by massive inputs of time and our literal blood, sweat and tears, that we can raise such nutritious and delicious produce and offer it to our neighbors, friends, and families. For me, it really is a labor of love. I would encourage everyone to consider this when faced with the choice of inexplicably cheap factory-farm produce and fairly priced local produce from a small scale farmer.
Furthermore, I believe that if we create a virtuous nutrient cycle from farm to table, back to the farm via compost, with the possibility of different nodes added to that cycle, we can revitalize the lands we’re trying so hard to save. As humans, our most vital connection to the Earth is through the soil, by which we grow most of our food. Everyone and everything is interconnected. For me, the privilege of offering my produce to my community is second only to the responsibility I feel to tend and regenerate the soil that supports us all.