What the soil supports is “food” and also the next generation.
Mr. Soma took over the family business from his father 18 years ago when he was 27 years old. Although the cultivated fields have expanded in area since the time of the farm’s establishment, there was still room for improvement in crop productivity and quality. He had continued thinking about how he could challenge new methods in taking over the renewing of the soil, which his father started. Then he was stunned by that wonderful humified organic matter that he encountered that time. “I think that the best growing environment for plants might be a forest. A variety of plants grow up energetically in the soft soil. The act of ‘agriculture,’ which keeps planting the same crops in the same place is unnatural in the first place. So in order to maintain ‘the power of soil,’ we must continue to devise other methods.”
But Mr. Soma doesn’t think that this humus is the one and only way. He says that each farmer should try different approaches from their own perspective. “There are so many masters, so-called ‘gurus’ or ‘gods’ in the agriculture world. They create distinguished soil in their original methods, maintaining and contributing to their region. I believe that there is still much more to learn.”
While looking over the farm, which Mr. Soma has been working on, he sometimes
asks himself how much dietary habits are supported by this field. According to his calculations, a farm the size of 13 ares (1300m2) is required for each Japanese person per year. And of course the responsibility of supplying food is not only to provide it for only a year, or even one or two decades, but it has to be taken over by the next generation.
Mr. Soma emphasizes that he wants farmers and consumers who eat the crops to think about what kind of soil should be used to prepare the farming of them.
t is also important to grasp through theory and numerical values, but farmers are also required to use their “intuition” with soil, which is a bit of an unknown. And that's why there is a “philosophy” in finding out, Mr. Soma said. He said that he wants to tell the children of Shonai that at least they don't have to worry about their food. His words reflect his sense of pride. This is the dignity that comes from a man who deals and toils with soil. For him, the soil may be something like a baton, which has to be passed on to the next generations.