Steve Boss from KRUU FM interviewed two of the world’s foremost experts on Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture (MVOC), Peter and Susie Swan. They studied Transcendental Meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; Susie was also a TM teacher in Johannesburg, and an owner of a highly successful Ayurvedic restaurant.
From conquering nature to co-operating with it
Both Peter and Susie are giving lectures on holistic agriculture all over the world. They have a unique perspective on the global food system, and many practical suggestions designed to rebalance the structure of that system leading to a healthier planet and more vital individuals.
During the interview, Peter Swan explained: “I got concerned because I saw that the food people were eating was de-natured. For many reasons, food has become less than it should be. Studies show enormous reductions in nutrients available in fruits, vegetables and milk.
What can we do?
A number of things. One can enrich one’s soil, to produce better food. But other solutions are available as well.“
Cows who eat weeds
“For instance, there are projects here in the US where cows are taught to eat weeds – thistle, bramble, etc. This is enormous because about 40% of grassland in the country is covered by weed. Not only does this give more land for cows, but it also helps cows to become self-medicating. We know from research that the diversity of food the cows eat translates into a higher quality of their immune system. In turn, we are better off, too – the healthier the cows giving milk, the healthier are we as end-consumers. A lot of dairy allergies – which often are the root cause of other allergies – simply disappear.“
Susie added, “People are often looking far and away for solutions, but often they can be found right at your doorstep. This is the case with Transcendental Meditation, and it’s the same with food. The things we throw away or simply don’t notice at all – these things can actually be most helpful.
It was thought that our ancestors in the Middle Ages were poor farmers because they had so much weed in their grain. Now it’s being realized that actually the ladies used to go into the field during the summer when the weed was growing, and pick the weeds for their pot herbs! They would use those weeds and the seeds of the weeds kept the biodiversity going into the winter, feeding all the insects in the soil. This prevented bio-disasters from happening.“
World record rice crop, and it’s completely organic!
As with meditation, the knowledge in practical matters such as agriculture is thus rarely ’new’. It is rather old, traditional wisdom rediscovered.
Peter said, “About a year ago, there were news from India that some local farmers in India’s poorest state, Bihar, had got a world record yield in rice – 22,4 tons of rice per hectare. Moreover, they didn’t use any chemicals at all, it was all 100% organic! The initial reaction of the scientist was to simply discount it: ‘It was a mistake’ or ‘They faked it’ or something along these lines. But now it’s being verified.
The secret? They’re using an organic system called System of Rice Intensification, SRI. This was developed in the 60s by a Jesuit priest in Madagascar. It just uses good cultural practice – spaces the rice a little bit wider apart so that it can establish a good root system, it uses less water, and handles the rice in general from the perspective of ‘what makes the rice happier, more comfortable?’”
For invaluable advice on how to put these holistic principles to work in your own small garden or farm, listen to the full interview on Radio KRUU FM