Sensei: Masanobu Fukuoka and the quiet Revolution

I still recall my first reading of the late Masanobu Fukuoka‘s ‘The One-Straw Revolution‘ (tr. 1978.) Illuminating experience does not quite do justice to the eye-opener that it was – apart from his radical, quietly determined challenge to all known forms of destructive agricultural ideas and techniques known to man; what lingered on was his overarching back-to-nature philosophy that permeated his thought and action – “It proceeds from the conviction that if the individual temporarily abandons human will and so allows himself to be guided by nature, nature responds by providing everything.” His revolution was also guided by his consistent gentle humility – the ability to not only abandon human will, but also abandon his imprint on all that he does, for he may as well be an insect balancing on a blade of grass or a straw in the moonlight. Short of romanticizing, nothing takes away from his remarkable sixty five years of toiling away in a small farm in Japan, developing a unique method of farming, that will fire up the zeal, imagination and be a call-to-action for generations worldwide, his work having been translated to all major languages. “This method completely contradicts modern agricultural techniques. It throws scientific knowledge and traditional farming craft right out the window. With this kind of farming, which uses no machines, no prepared fertilizer, and no chemicals; it is possible to attain a harvest equal to or greater than that of the average Japanese farm. The proof is ripening right before your eyes.” What makes Fukuoka’s revolution admiration worthy is also because he crosses over from the realm of spirit-philosophy-theory to actual practical action and demonstration, more than the required many ‘proofs-of-concept.’ He maintained that healing of the land and the healing of the human spirit is the one and the same process, and demonstrated a manner of living and a manner of farming in which that process can unfold. What follows is an overview of Fukuoka’s philosophy and work. Watch and listen in. (The video is slightly dated, and the Japanese inflected English may get challenging at times.)

Natural Farming with Masanobu Fukuoka


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