Saturday, February 7, 2009

Natural Farming was developed in Japan by Masanobu Fukuoka between 1945-1975. A trained microbiologist and soil scientist, Fukuoka gave up his research job following increasing doubts about the wisdom of modern scientific method. Returning to the family farm, he set out to develop a minimalist farming system.

In it's final form, Fukuoka's approach consistently achieved yields equal to or better than modern farms by following four simple principles -

  1. No Cultivation: The soil is not disturbed at any stage by ploughing or tilling.
  2. No Fertilizer: Neither chemical fertilizers nor prepared compost is used.
  3. No Weeding: Non-crop plants are not pulled out of the ground.
  4. No Pesticides: Insects are controlled by natural predators.
On a natural farm, all straw and chaff is returned to the grain fields and allowed to naturally decompose. This returns essential nutrients to the field, continually increasing soil fertility. Without pesticides and herbicides, weeds and soil dwelling organisms loosen and aerate the undisturbed ground and increase its organic content. A variety of predators hold insect infestations in check.

For more information about natural farming, read this 1982 interview with Fukuoka, which also acts as an excellent summary of his book The One-Straw Revolution.

* "Do-Nothing" is the literal translation of 'Wu-wei', the Taoist concept of the acting in the natural manner; of appropriate, unforced action.


AJ said...

never knew tao and zen was there in farming. and i did not know that term wu-wei. nice discovery for me.


Chinmay said...


Ironically, for us humans, acting 'naturally' is nowadays a completely alien concept.

In farming, and in fact in life, much unlearning is required to reach a wiser mindset. :)

Tonmoy Roy said...

Nice blog. Great work. I have farming related blog site. If you interested in farming have a look.


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