“The usual way to go about developing a method is to ask, ‘How about trying this?’ or ‘How about trying that?’ bringing in a variety of techniques one upon the other. This is modern agriculture and it only results in making the farmer busier.
My way was opposite. I was aiming at a pleasant, natural way of farming which results in making the work easier instead of harder. ‘How about not doing this? How about not doing that?’ – that was my way of thinking. I ultimately reached the conclusion that there was no need to plow, no need to apply fertiliser, no need to make compost, no need to use insecticide. When you get right down to it, there are few agricultural practices that are really necessary.
The reason that man’s improved techniques seem to be necessary is that the natural balance has been so badly upset beforehand by those same techniques, that the land has become dependent on them.
This line of reasoning not only applies to agriculture, but to other aspects of human society as well. Doctors and medicine become necessary when people create a sickly environment. Formal schooling has no intrinsic value, but becomes necessary when humanity creates a condition in which one must become ‘educated’ to get along.”
– Masanobu Fukuoka, One Straw Revolution
DO NOTHING CULTIVATION
In a quarter of an acre, Fukuoka produces 22 bushels of rice and 22 bushels of winter grains, enough to feed up to 10 people and requiring a few days’ work for one or two people to hand sow and harvest the crop. The Fukuoka system has spread widely though Japan and is now practised on nearly a million acres in China.