What is synecoculture?

Synecoculture is a method of farming that produces useful plants while making multifaceted use of the self-organizing ability of the earth’s ecosystem.  It is characterized by a comprehensive ecosystem utilization method that considers not only food production but also the impacts on the environment and health.

Synecoculture: 5W1H

What?

Synecoculture is a method of open-field agriculture that—without the use of any plowing, fertilizers, agricultural chemicals, or anything else except for seeds and saplings—allows for the creation and management of ecosystems that bring out essential qualities of the plants growing in natural state, and produces practically useful crops in ecologically optimized environment. (Source: Synecoculture Manual)

Why?

At this very moment, the extinction of wildlife is progressing at a speed not seen in recorded history, and a major factor is the destruction of ecosystems by inappropriate practices of agriculture, regardless of its scale. Moreover, the large consumption of natural resources by agriculture is leading to the failure of the material cycles of nature, which is causing climate change and threatening our ocean ecosystems.

The fertilizers and chemicals used to increase agricultural productivity come with risks to our food’s safety and healthiness. As the human population continues to increase, it is undeniably vital that we switch over to food production methods that restore the health of us and of our planet. In particular, small- to medium-sized farms must switch over to different production methods, ones that do not destroy biodiversity, because these populations occupy 90% of the agricultural land, and produce 80% of basic commodities.

Who? and Where?

The original concept of synecoculture was created by Takashi Otsuka of the Sakura Shizenjuku Global Nature Network, and Masatoshi Funabashi of the Sony Computer Science Laboratory (Sony CSL) has scientifically formalized and verified it. We are now working on implementation and improvement. In Japan, there is a community on social media of people practicing synecoculture, primarily in their own vegetable gardens. Sakura Shizenjuku is based in the city of Ise in Mie Prefecture, and Takashi Otsuka is holding regular synecoculture courses there. The Synecoculture Association was established by Masatoshi Funabashi in order to spread the word about the scientific results of synecoculture throughout society, and increase its adoption. Takashi Otsuka is serving as an advisor to the association. Internationally, the African Center for Research and Training in Synecoculture (Centre African de Recherche et de Formation en Synécoculture, CARFS) has been established in Burkina Faso in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

We have also established a virtual laboratory on the Complex Systems Digital Campus of the UNESCO UniTwin program. If you make just a small piece of land in your own natural environment available, you can do synecoculture. 

When?

2008: Takashi Otsuka of Sakura Shizenjuku experiments with the original concept 
2010: Masatoshi Funabashi of Sony CSL scientifically formalizes and verifies
2014: Through Sony CSL, awarding of membership to UNESCO UniTwin’s Complex Systems Digital Campus
2017: Establishment of African Center for Research and Training in Synecoculture (Centre African de Recherche et de Formation en Synécoculture, CARFS) in Burkina Faso 
2018: Establishment of Synecoculture Association 
2019: The project "Support to Agro-ecological Transition in Mali by Synecoculture (ATAMS)" has obtained the ECOWAS grant in the part of the Call for Proposals of the Agroecological Transition Support Project (PATAE) in West Africa.
2019: Establishment of Synecoculture project at  the Institut des Systèmes Complexes de Paris Île-de-France (ISC-PIF)

2019: Proof of concept trial start at the rooftop gardens at Roppongi Hills (Sony CSL and Mori Building)

How?

Synecoculture is a new form of food production that offers both productivity and biodiversity. It was born out of diverse experience on how to make use of natural ecosystems for human survival, and scientific verification of the production model. For more details, please read the Synecoculture Manual.

The "Synecoculture Principles Learning Kit" is a first-hand experience kit being developed to help people learn on the mechanism of Synecoculture through experimenting it on a planter scale.

Synecoculture Principles Learning Kit Handbook:PDF (English) PDF (French)