Masanobu Fukuoka- Father of modern organic farming (Scientist, Farmer, spiritual master and Author)


“Doing absolutely nothing,
that’s the ultimate form of farming.” No tilling. No pulling out weeds. No spreading chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Masanobu Fukuoka’s Practice of Natural Farming
has made an impact on farmers all over the world. “How to make plenty of time for a nice long nap, that’s the ultimate. It is not about how to Do This and That .
It is how to Not Do that counts.” Fukuoka was born in 1912 in Iyo, Ehime prefecture, to an old, prestigious family. His father had been mayor of the town. He studied botanical pathology
in what is now Gifu University. After graduation, he worked as a plant
quarantine officer in Yokohama Port. Then Specialised in researching
diseases of mandarin oranges. Then at twenty-five, his life changed forever. Severely ill with pneumonia, He lingered a long time at the the edge of death. When he finally recovered,
his understanding of the world had been transformed. “Intelligence of human beings have been no use,
that is what I found. My life is to practise Natural farming, being a farmer. All I need to do is just to eat and to sleep,
that was my conclusion.” Abandoning his career, he returned to his home town. and started experimenting with Natural farming. “I may say, I’m trying to prove that
all scientific knowledge is useless to humans. Making rice is also the same, I do nothing,
but it grows and gets harvested. The more we do, the further things get from nature,
the more difficult to control.” His method for growing rice was totally unconventional. He sows seed directly into the ground,
rather than transplanting seedlings into paddy fields. He uses no chemical fertilisers or pesticides,
just scatters a little straw. That fertilises the soil and reduces weeds. Even more surprising is that he interplants the fields
by starting a crop of wheat alongside the half-grown rice. “When I harvest the rice, the wheat has grown, so after reaping there is no room for weeds to grow.” This eccentric method produces a harvest
equal to or surpassing other farmers, catching the attention of the world. “Modern agriculture is built with human intelligence. In the Yayoi era, and the Jomon Stone age era before that, It wasn’t though our cleverness, Humans lived as just one of nature’s many members, and that was reflected in how they farmed. When you reject human knowledge,
reject science, reject civilisation, the only thing that remains is Natural farming.” At the age of 62, Fukuoka wrote a book on his experience of Natural farming. “Revolution can be brought about by just this one straw. This straw is so light, so small, but people don’t know the weight,
the significance of this straw. If people came to know the true value of this one straw, It would cause a human revolution, change the social structure of whole nations .” “The one straw revolution” has been translated world over. And Fukuoka’s name became known far and wide. Regardless of nationality, many young people gathered around Fukuoka. Living a communal daily life, they learned Natural farming methods. “Hey, just before you came here,
what did you do in Osaka?” “Vegetable shop.” “I’m sorry to say, but young people from farming villages, after the end of the war, with modernisation and all that, were indoctrinated with corporate farming methods. The ones who came to my place were the city folk, studying computers, electricity, driving cars. A lot of them had been thinking about the future,
and how things would play out. Most of them were from a ‘non-farming’ field,
disillusioned with life, wanting to break away from existing urban culture. His Seedballs are said to be a compilation
of all his natural farming methods. Mix various kinds of seeds in some clay. And add water and knead. Not just fruit and vegetable seeds but here are clover and medical herb seeds, too. He tosses these clay seedballs everywhere in the farm. “Here I seed this way. No sparrow, no mouse can eat them. After one raining they will sprout and strike roots. When you plant by scattering seedballs,
no tilling is needed. This is the farm planted with clay seedballs. “Of all the different seeds in the seed balls, only the ones that suit the place and the climate will do well, without any help from humans” says Fukuoka. “This is Citrus natsudaidai, a pomelo.” “What is this flower?” “These are radish and turnip.” “Is radish growing?” “I don’t know if the radish is growing or not. When you plant many kinds,
then some prosper, others don’t. When you dictate limits, like ‘here radish might be better,’
and ‘here pumpkin will do’, you won’t end up with big discoveries, like, you might find burdock root growing happily,
totally unexpected. Just plant a random diversity,
and wait for nature to tell you what’s best.” These clay seed balls got the world’s attention. Particularly Asia and Africa, places suffering from food shortages and desertification. Fukuoka would be invited over,
where he led the hands-on work to green barren land and increase food production. In recognition, he won the coveted Magsaysay award,
which is said to be the Asian Nobel Prize. “Now I am old and I have practised
Natural farming for 40 to 50 years, I could say my work has been researching ways
to turn around desertification. A big motivation was a desire to go and see
if my Natural farming method was helpful or not in desert regions.” In retreat from the world’s hurry and scurry, Masanobu Fukuoka has lived self-reliantly on his farm. His belief that the nature’s way always prevails
remained unshaken through his life, till his death at age 95. “Doing nothing turns out to be the best farming method. Do nothing. Reject human cleverness. There is no value in objects. Humans don’t produce. It’s Nature who is creating. Not one blade of grass can humans make. Nature makes it.”

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