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On Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farm, healthy rice grows in harmony with white clover and a diversity of other plants.  Birds, insects, and other wildlife have free access to the lands.  In the orchards, clover and herbs, and many kinds of vegetables are grown in a semi-wild manner between the citrus trees.

 

Natural farming as practiced by Masanobu Fukuoka emphasizes the principles of no cultivation, no chemical fertilizers, and no chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.  “When you get right down to it, there are few agricultural practices that are really necessary.”

 

A place for the discussion of developing natural farming techniques to suit the Pacific Northwest climate...and cultivating natural philosophy to suit Pacific Northwest people.

 

 

The One-Straw Revolution

(1978)

His most well known book. Both a practical guide for growing rice, wheat, barley and vegetables in a natural way, and an introduction to his philosophy.

 

The Natural Way of Farming -

The Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy

(1985)

A more detailed how-to guide for natural farming and philosophizing.

 

Available for free in PDF format online at:

http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html

 

The Road Back to Nature –

Regaining the Paradise Lost

(1987)

Details his insights into the troubles facing the lands he visited in his travels, as well as other global environmental, and philosophical concerns.

 

Currently out of print.  It is rumored that it will be republished in Summer of 2010.

 

 

A biography:

http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/MasanobuFukuoka.htm

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Replies to This Discussion

These are some of my questions:

What are the natural ways to sow specific types of vegetable seed? Can we devise ways to direct broadcast vegetable seeds into semi-wild places and see them thrive? (seedballs?)

How do we deal with our aggressive weeds in a natural way? (no tilling or herbicides)

Can natural farming be developed for use on bigger farms? Can we get bigger farms to switch to natural farming?

Can P.N.W. orchards be switched to "natural form" orchards with good results?
May we incorporate the observations learned through natural farming in the lands we walk through!

Masanobu Fukuoka’s words & observations have been a major influence in my early gardening years, and still resinate with wisdom, even after the thirty years past when I first read! (Along with Wendell Berry, and writings on Findhorn Garden, & many early authors from Rodale Press).

Thanks David for inititating this post! Great free pdf download for 'The Natural Way of Farming -The Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy'.
I'll post later info on the events being planned for May with Larry Korn, editor of One Straw Revolution.....And I want to ask for your help in hosting & event needs as you're able.
I would like to think that we don't need to pay anyone to do the research on natural farming...if what Fukuoka says is true then natural farming is a way to achieve the highest possible yields from our crops with one-tenth the labor and energy - I would think that farmers would want to work toward such a goal.

But telling a farmer not to plow their fields is like telling a lawn owner not to mow their lawn: Unthinkable!

It will certainly take a lot of trial (and failure) to achieve the remarkable results that Fukuoka was having. I believe that there are people who will take such risks without being paid for it, but it will take longer. I'll do it for 40k.
Fukuoka-sensei quote- "the ultimate goal of farming, is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation & perfection of human beings.."

David - per your offer, I'd like to see you earn 40K - plus your choice of community health insurance/care, plus land to build a home on & care long-term for the soil & landscape's life,
....and a similiar dream or better for Walter too!

" If the newcomer expected 'natural farming' to mean that nature would farm while he sat and watched, Mr. Fukuoka soon taught him that there was a great deal he had to know and do. Strickly speaking, the only 'natural' farming is hunting & gathering. Raising agricultural crops is a cultural innovation which requires knowledge & persistent effort. The fundamental distinction is that Mr. Fukuoka farms by cooperating with nature rather than trying to 'improve upon nature by conquest......Mr. Fukuoka believes that natural farming proceeds from the spiritual health of the individual. He considers the healing of the land & the purification of the human spirit to be one process, and he proposes a way of life and a way of farming in which this process can take place." - Larry Korn's intro in 1978 'One Straw Revolution
Here we have 3 such "true believers" as Walter describes who are willing to take the risks of crop failure in order to learn something about natural farming - without pay. Lets hope we are just the tip of the iceberg - there must be thousands of natural farmers in the world who are trying these techniques on some scale. I'll bet there are dozens in TW alone, I hope some more will join this discussion.

One of the challenges of natural farming is that it is site specific; not only do the techniques change depending on the bio-region - but they must change depending on the field. This makes it difficult to develop expansive techniques that will work anywhere. For instance; Fukuoka had the ability to flood his rice fields with water to control weeds! Not alot of that going on around here...so how do we control weeds without tilling? ... Mulching with leaves or straw seems to be working well, as long as the slug populations can also be kept in check (ducks!) Another site specific instance: I've been experimenting with burlap sacks and canvas tarps in my garden to smother grasses/weeds - it works great! but am immediately seeing an increase in the rodent activity (meadow voles) ... for this reason I don't think I will be able to use burlap / tarps / cardboard near my garden - at least not in the growing season.

thanks Heather and Walter, I am enjoying this discussion.

Walter - Not sure if you saw the link above for the free PDF download of "The Natural Way of Farming" - it is his most detailed "how-to" guide for natural farming, not quite as easy reading (or inspirational) as One-Straw Revolution, but I think you might find it interesting because it is aimed more toward the farmers.


http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html
I was wondering if that was THE Steve Solomon...small world.

I refer to his book "Gardening West of the Cascades" more than any other garden book I own when I really have questions about how to grow a crop. I then throw in a dose of Fukuoka farming to make it interesting. So my garden is really a Solomon X Fukuoka hybrid.

Heather/ Walter / or anyone else...- Any recommendations on other downloads in the soil library that I / others might enjoy?

I also encourage support of the library - it looks like a valuable resource.
Walter that online library is amazing! http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html

Here's to floating with the true tide and observing nature in rest & in work.

Let me know if anyone has a hard copy to loan or is putting in a used book purchase on these three titles:
Rayner, M.C. Trees and Toadstools. 1947
Krasil'nikov, N.A. Soil Microorganisms and Higher Plants. 1958
Yeomans, P.A. The Keyline Plan. 1954.

David - Under the rad-agri section try these for winter reading, and share what you learn on yet another discussion page or blog.

Joseph A. Cocannouer. Weeds: Guardians of the Soil. 1950. (I've a copy in my library)
""Long a much admired title amongst holistic gardeners and homesteaders. Thanks due to Keith Addison, creator of the Journey To Forever website, for supplying this fine scan. Downloads as a PDF of 1.58 mb. OUT OF PRINT

King, F.H. Farmers of Forty Centuries: or Traditional Agriculture in China, Korea and Japan. 1911. (I've a copy in my libary)
""A famous classic in holistic agricultural literature. King was a masterful observer of farming; this is, if nothing else, a great travel book. To accelerate downloading this book is reproduced here without its many illustrations. PUBLIC DOMAIN

These books below look real interesting...let us know what you learn or if any one has a hard copy to loan.

Krasil'nikov, N.A. Soil Microorganisms and Higher Plants. Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow 1958. Translated in Israel by Dr. Y. Halperin. Printed in the USA by the Government Printing Office.
""This, the ultimate study of the microbial process in soil, is one of the most important books in the library. It has been little known since its publication. Rendering it into html took hundreds of tedious and rewarding hours. The book contains 100 photographic illustrations and heaps of tables, so downloading the chapters can be a bit time consuming. Here's my "take" on this book. In the Soviet Union of the 30s, 40s and 50s, industrial production was scanty. Had Soviet agronomic research focused upon increasing yields through the use of chemicals, spread voluminously, the result would have been massive crop failures; chemical fertilizers and pesticides could not have been produced in large enough quantity. So Krasil'nikov focused on the biological process, and he found ways to improve plant growth by crop rotation and the production of special composts and microbial ferments of the sort that could be produced by the farmer in an old barrel. All these "primitive" solutions are based on a very high-level understanding of the microbial process in soil and the interactions between soil microbes with each other, of how crop species interact with each other via long-lasting soil residues (root exudates), and how plants and microbes interact with each other. Soil Microorganisms and Higher Plants is public domain material. Anyone wishing to publish the book in print on paper is invited to contact this library. They will receive all possible assistance. Apologies in advance for the many errors that despite very careful proofreading must still be in the html text. PUBLIC DOMAIN""

Rayner, M.C. Trees and Toadstools. , 1945.
""The classic study of the relationships between tree roots and fungi. Rayner's work formed the basis of the organicist contention that supporting a complete and healthy population of soil microlife is essential to plant health. Thanks to Keith Addison, Creator of Journey to Forever, for doing a fine, accurate scan/OCR job on this classic book. Other interesting ag-related documents can be found on Keith's online library. Downloads as a PDF of 1.47 mb. OUT OF PRINT""

Yeomans, P.A. The Keyline Plan. , 1954.
""The Keyline system, Yeomans self-published this, his first of several books. In the tradition of Louis Bromfield and Plowman's Folly, it is an eye-opening look at how to help land retain all the rainfall it receives, opening the whole soil body to root penetration and releasing the natural fertility of the land.This book became an agricultural best seller and sold out. It is still sought after by collectors. The book is offered here without restriction through the permission of Allan Yeomans, who himself is writing a book offering a cure of global warming through better farming by increasing the carbon retained in the earth as humus. Allan Yeomans also runs a farm-implement company in Queensland; a pre-publication version of Allan Yeoman's book can be read and Allan and his farm implement company can be reached at through his website.""

And a good basic biodynamic book that makes Rudolf Steiner's thinking somewhat easier to grasp try-
Culture and Horticulture – A Philosophy of Gardening by Wold D. Storl 1979 (copy in my library).

I've walked the lands of many east-coast biodynamic farms and eaten their foods. I truly feel nourished when I eat the plants from their soil!

David Pike said:
.

Heather/ Walter / or anyone else...- Any recommendations on other downloads in the soil library that I / others might enjoy?

I also encourage support of the library - it looks like a valuable resource.
the One Straw Revolution changed my life in the early 1980's. thank you for reminding us of Fukuoka, his philosophy and other books and associated readings...always new inspiration!
Just posted 2 blog entries: One is an interview with Larry Korn and the other is an article I wrote about Masanobu Fukuoka. Hope you enjoy them.

Here is a copy of the event posting for Larry Korn's visit.


The Theory and Practice of Masanobu Fukuoka's Natural Farming ~ Instructor Larry Korn
MONDAY May 10th
7 to 9pm,
Center for Expressive Arts and Experiential Education, 1317 Commercial St.
Larry Korn is a soil scientist, agriculture consultant/activist and permaculture teacher who currently lives in Ashland, Oregon. He lived in Japan for four years, two of them on the farm of Masanobu Fukuoka. Larry will discuss Mr. Fukuoka's farming techniques and his unique natural farming philosophy. Larry translated and edited Mr. Fukuoka's landmark book, The One-Straw Revolution from Japanese into English. He also traveled with, and translated for Mr. Fukuoka during his two 6-week visits to the United States including stops in the Pacific Northwest. The talk will include slides of the farm as well as personal anecdotes and stories which help to give insights into Mr. Fukuoka's personality.

Asking $5 to $10 donation, no one turned away. Bring a garden tool in lieu of payment, help BUGS grow.
We are moving in this week to our place on Cherrywood. I worked in the garden for the first time this morning. There are the usual dandelion, and buttercup. I'm not overwhelmed by the thought of continually weeding them. There is a lot of morning glory coming up everywhere!!!! I know this one is hard to keep at bay or get rid of. I'm interested in any tips from experience about dealing with morning glory. I already know NOT to rototill . I'm willing to pull them up and to keep at it repeatedly. But I might have a limit of patience with that. I know some people use round up on it. I'm hoping to keep organic and not have to rely on herbicides. Any ideas?
Larry Korn will be present at two events this May 10 & 11!
Plus word of mouth garden-tour in an urban zone together with Larry also possibly happening on Weds May 12 around 1pm.
RSVP with your name/phone number/email on Heather K's page to request to be put on small RSVP-list of folks touring a few gardens following the urban-garden, or to request information on any open public times together in a garden....plan set for May 10 & 11, and plans being established for shared day of rest on Weds May 12.

David Pike said:
Just posted 2 blog entries: One is an interview with Larry Korn and the other is an article I wrote about Masanobu Fukuoka. Hope you enjoy them.

Here is a copy of the event posting for Larry Korn's visit.


The Theory and Practice of Masanobu Fukuoka's Natural Farming ~ Instructor Larry Korn
MONDAY May 10th
7 to 9pm,
Center for Expressive Arts and Experiential Education, 1317 Commercial St.
.......

Asking $5 to $10 donation, no one turned away. Bring a garden tool in lieu of payment, help BUGS grow.
Spread the word to your farmer & food-forest & gardener friends!
Hey Natural Farmers,

I've flung about 5 lbs of seedballs (rolled at the seedball event at Inspiration Farm) containing 4 different clovers and buckwheat. This rain event should germinate them. I'm especially curious about the ones I sprinkled atop mole hills in the field, since the hills are bare earth ready for planting, maybe this is a new way to appreciate the work of moles - as micro-tillers opening new ground for new seeds.

Further updates when I see if anything sprouts.

Other seedball flingers please report on your flinging adventures and outcomes. Very curious to know the fate of all those seedballs.


D

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