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The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – June 2, 2009
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"The One-Straw Revolution is one of the founding documents of the alternative food movement, and indispensable to anyone hoping to understand the future of food and agriculture."—Michael Pollan
"Only the ignorant could write off Fukuoka, who died two years ago at the age of 95, as a deluded or nostalgic dreamer...Fukuoka developed ideas that went against the conventional grain....Long before the American Michael Pollan, he was making the connections between intensive agriculture, unhealthy eating habits and a whole destructive economy based on oil." --Harry Eyres, The Financial Times
"Fukuoka's do-nothing approach to farming is not only revolutionary in terms of growing food, but it is also applicable to other aspects of living, (creativity, child-rearing, activism, career, etc.) His holistic message is needed now more than ever as we search for new ways of approaching the environment, our community and life. It is time for us all to join his 'non-movement.'"—Keri Smith author of How to be an Explorer of the World
“Japan’s most celebrated alternative farmer...Fukuoka’s vision offers a beacon, a goal, an ideal to strive for.” —Tom Philpott, Grist
“The One-Straw Revolution shows the critical role of locally based agroecological knowledge in developing sustainable farming systems.” —Sustainable Architecture
“With no ploughing, weeding, fertilizers, external compost, pruning or chemicals, his minimalist approach reduces labour time to a fifth of more conventional practices. Yet his success in yields is comparable to more resource-intensive methods…The method is now being widely adopted to vegetate arid areas. His books, such as The One-Straw Revolution, have been inspirational to cultivators the world over.” —New Internationalist
Every now and then you read a book which is so inspiring and such a pleasure that you feel impelled to stride down the street shouting “read this!” Well, I’ve just read The One-Straw Revolution and I urge everyone to buy or borrow a copy without delay.
— Tom Hodgkinson, The Idler
About the Author
Masanobu Fukuoka (1913–2008) was born and raised on the Japanese island of Shikoku. He was the oldest son of a rice farmer who was also the local mayor. Fukuoka studied plant pathology and worked for number of years as a produce inspector in the customs office in Yokohama. But in 1938 he returned to his village home determined to put his ideas about natural farming into practice. During World War II, he worked for the Japanese government as a researcher on food production, managing to avoid military service until the final few months of the war. After the war, he returned to Shikoku to devote himself wholeheartedly to farming. And in 1975, distressed by the effects of Japan’s post-war modernization, Fukuoka wrote The One-Straw Revolution. In his later years, Fukuoka was involved with several projects to reduce desertification throughout the world. He remained an active farmer until well into his eighties, and continued to give lectures until only a few years before his death at the age of ninety-five. Fukuoka is also the author of The Natural Way of Farming and The Road Back to Nature. In 1988 he received the Magsaysay Award for Public Service.
Frances Moore Lappé is author or co-author of sixteen books, including Diet for a Small Planet and Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad. She has co-founded three organizations, including the Institute for Food and Development Policy and, more recently, the Small Planet Institute, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. In 1987, she received the Right Livelihood Award, also called the “Alternative Nobel.” She has received seventeen honorary doctorates and has been a visiting scholar at MIT.
Larry Korn is an editor, author, and agricultural educator. He lived and worked on Masanobu Fukuoka’s farm for more than two years in the early 1970s. He currently resides in Ashland, Oregon.
Wendell Berry is an environmental activist and farmer, and the author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. He lives and works with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Port Royal, Kentucky.
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Throughout the book Mr Fukuoka lament's the change in farmer's lives from many years ago when there was much more leisure in the village life, whereas today they have to struggle to survive working long hours everyday and still cannot get out of debt. Debt created incidentally by being sold a system that relies on pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, as well as large amounts of motorized equipment. The revolving door between the chemical companies and agricultural departments in government as well as school reliance on grants from these institutions are discussed, consumerism, our fetish for perfectly formed produce, and much, much more.
This book can be read in a short period and is written in a nice conversational manner (kudos to Mr Larry Korn for his work there as well). For me this is such an important book that I have given a number of copies to friends. This book will change the way you think- read it today!
But really this does not matter because his book is a plea to trust nature and work with nature and to honour traditional, gentle ways of relating to each other and our world. In our frantic, hurried, consumer oriented, greed and profit driven world, I love his inspiring and wise message of living simply with nature
This is a philosophical book that uses growing food as its subject but growing is a metaphor for us, being fully human and seeking our natural state. I hate to oversimplify it, but I really believe that so many of our problems are due to our denial and separation from nature and our over-dependence on science as an answer for everything.
The reassuring part for me is that when gardening or growing your own food, he reminded me that scientific intervention introduces more problems that we scramble to fix. Working with the natural system provides not only better food but a better mind and an enjoyable life.
Top international reviews
He seems to have an advantage over other areas of the world, as the Japanese climate where his land is allows him to plant and harvest multiple cereal harvests in one year.
If you get involved in this book or any Fukuoka books, your heart will be able to hear the background music of nature, your words become poems, your blood slows down, you end up being a human. Pure bliss