Can You Use the Ordinary to Cultivate Better Soil?
When Lisa Hamilton of the Rodale Institute went to her first workshop with Gil Carandang she was a little skeptical. The workshop on “Cultivating Beneficial Indigenous Microorganisms” hosted by Carandang, a Korean natural farming guru of the Philippines, began with him sounding like “a crackpot.” According to Hamilton, Carandang stood in front of the room with “a box of generic brown sugar, a bulb of garlic., a quart of milk, a cutting board, some cooked white rice., a liter of the cheapest vodka in California, and a Miller High Life tall boy” promising these simple ingredients could translate into huge reductions in farm costs. Hamilton says it turned out Carandang was not a crackpot and his methodology is not snake-oil. Rather than trying to sell anything, [his] workshop is aimed at empowering farmers with an affordable, self-sustaining alternative to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers – encouraging diversity by introducing microbes, which are easily cultivated with carbohydrates and sugar, sometimes milk."
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