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vector: memegarden

link: http://www.westonaprice.org/farming/onebird.html

nutshell: A farmer in Japan has created a nearly closed-loop form of rice farm/duck ranch. The "Aigamo Method" puts ducks in the swampy rice patties. The ducks don't eat the rice plants, but they do eat pests and weeds, stir up the silt and oxygenate the water, and mechanically stimulate the plants causing their stems to grow thicker and stronger. He also includes a fast-growing surface plant and some fish to round out the companion plant/species dynamic.

The ducklings help the rice seedlings grow by eating both insects and weeds that get in the way. The farmer can then grow the rice without using pesticide or herbicide. He or she is also free from the back-breaking work of bending over to pull weeds by hand. The ducklings' droppings become an important source of natural fertilizer. In addition, they stir up the soil in the rice paddy with their feet and bills, a process that increases the oxygen content of the soil, making it more nutritious for the seedlings. And when it comes time to harvest the rice in the fall, the ducks have grown fat and can be sold for meat. By allowing farmers to grow crops organically and also raise ducks to sell as meat, the aigamo method really does kill two birds with one stone.

And from a different article:

The Furunos' farm is two hectares; 1.4 of which are paddy fields, while the rest is devoted to growing organic vegetables. This small farm yields annually seven tons of rice, 300 ducks, 4,000 ducklings and enough vegetables to supply 100 people. At that rate, no more than two per cent of the population would need to become farmers in order to feed the nation, and observers believe that with proper management, Japan could become self-sufficient once more. The Aigamo method also explodes the myth that organic farming is necessarily labor-intensive. "Organic farming need not be labor-intensive; it is fun!" says Takao Furuno emphatically.

My own farm consists of 4.2 acres (1.7 hectares) of gently sloping land. In terms of available space, I could easily recreate the Furunos' operation. At present I lack the expertise and the capital, but I have the land.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC)
I'd love to see you take this on, if your circumstances allow! I'm glad you found the info interesting.
Sep. 2nd, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
I'm actually in a position to start something like this now. If you happen across any more info on the Aigamo method or its creator, please send the info my way.
Apr. 24th, 2006 03:12 am (UTC)
Nice idea
I'll keep tabs on this also. Thinking of starting a small homestead outside town, and am looking for high intensity methods for small plots of land;-) (geodesic dome large communal house)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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