Fukuoka Masanobu, Japan's great-grandfather of natural farming, has passed away on August 16. He became 95 years old. Many people are probably familiar with his books, that were translated to English, Spanish and many other languages. One-Straw Farming is perhaps the best known of Fukuoka-sensei's many works. In 1988 Fukuoka received the Deshikottam Award, India's most prestigious award, and the Philippines' Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service. In 1997 he received the Earth Council Award, which honors politicians, businesspersons, scholars, and non-governmental organizations for their contributions to sustainable development.
Fukuoka explains natural farming in his writings: "We can make healthy rice, healthy and rich soil that requires no fertilizer, and have productive soil without tilling if we just accept the fact that such excessive efforts-tilling, application of either organic, chemical fertilizers, or pesticides-has never been necessary A farming method that develops the conditions under which people do not have to do anything--this is what I have been pursuing. After thirty years I finally came to the point where my natural farm could yield, without any effort, virtually as much rice and wheat as typical scientific farms."
Japan For Sustainability: Japanese Farmer-Philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka: Natural Farming Greening the DesertsOver at Permaculture.com, Larry Korn describes how Fukuoka visited a Permaculture Convergence in Olympia, Washington and met Bill Mollison:
There were nearly one thousand people there. He was overwhelmed and heartened by the number and sincerity of the like-thinking people he met. He thanked Mollison for "creating this network of bright, energetic people working to help save the planet." "Now," he said, "for the first time in my life I have hope for the future."
In turn, permaculture has adopted many things from Fukuoka. Besides the many agricultural techniques, such as continuous no-tillage grain growing and growing vegetables like wild plants, permaculture has also learned an important new approach for devising practical strategies. Most importantly, the philosophy of natural farming has given permaculture a truly spiritual basis lacking in its earlier teachings.
The Fukuoka Farming Website
More on Permaculture
Treehugger: Permaculture - Permanent Agriculture (& a mini movie)
The TH Interview: David Holmgren, Co-Creator of Permaculture
Brought to you by Martin Frid at greenz.jp