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Yoko Civilization Research Institute Symposium
on Exploring a New Framework for Agriculture
The Yoko Civilization Research Institute held a symposium from June 26 -28, 2010, on the theme of "Conventional and Organic Agriculture: Toward a New Agriculture." The symposium was held in Pyramid Hall of the Hikaru Memorial Museum in Takayama. Paul Hepperly, Ph.D., of the New York center gave one of the keynote lectures. Other speakers both from within and outside of Sukyo Mahikari presented data as well as model programs where the practice of agriculture is restoring the soil, individuals, schools, and communities. This symposium was in preparation for the Fifth Yoko Civilization International Conference which will be held in 2011 with the theme "The Symbiosis of Nature and Human Beings: Toward a New, Safe, Regenerative Agriculture."
Currently, agricultural produce grown with various chemicals, widespread food recalls, and other issues of food safety are attracting a great deal of public attention. These issues are deeply connected to the demands of mass production that characterize contemporary society and agricultural methods based on science and technology that try to meet this demand.
At present, the predominant view is that conventional agriculture, with its technological interventions into nature, should be the approach to take. However, increasingly there is another view that agriculture should be practiced in harmony with nature. A concrete measure of this opinion is the rise of organic farming. These two approaches are not necessarily diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive. Each approach should be examined in the context of the differing circumstances. There are differences in the underlying concepts between these two approaches, such as attitudes about human beings' relationship with nature and the manner with which issues are tackled, as well as the understanding of human existence in this world. The symposium was a forum to discuss the significance of and issues related to these and other agricultural methods in order to seek an expanded framework for the sort of agriculture to be promoted in the future.
In the July 2010 monthly teaching, Oshienushisama talked about the symposium held in June 2010, urging us to eat organic food every day. The Yoko Civilization Research Institute is striving to harmonize with Oshienushisama's will with its focus on bringing together experts in agriculture to find innovative and sustainable directions.

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