Monday, July 23, 2007

Masanobu Fukuoka is my hero

When I was in college, I minored in sustainable agriculture and small scale farming, during which I learned several different techniques and approaches. One very small farm I worked at blissfully followed the theories and principles of Fukuoka. This farm is also very special because it is where Delilah, as a very small and scared puppy, got dumped by some one who didn't want her... I instantly fell in love and have never recovered (I had to chase her around for a long time before she got tired and I grabbed her and took her home with me).

Natural farming is Fukuoka's complete method of growing, harvesting, and renewing an entirely sustainable way of life. Covercropping with nitrogen fixing legumes and red clover, his vegetables grow from seeds broadcast in his orchards. He never plows or otherwise disturbs his soil, allowing for super rich communities of bacterias, fungi and insects to reside.

"Natural farming is gentle and easy and indicates a return to the source of farming. A single step away from the source can lead one astray."

"People think they understand things because they become familiar with them. This is only superficial knowledge. It is the knowledge of the astronomer who knows the names of the stars, the botanist who knows the classifications of the leaves and flowers, the artist who knows the aesthetics of green and red. This is not to know nature itself - the earth and sky, green and red. Astronomer, botanist, and artist have done no more than grasp impressions and interpret them, each within the vault of his own mind. The more involved they become with the activity of the intellect, the more they set themselves apart and the more difficult it becomes to live naturally.

The tragedy is that in their unfolded arrogance, people attempt to bend nature to their will. Human beings can destroy natural forms, but they cannot create them. Discrimination, a fragmented and incomplete understanding, always forms the starting point of human knowledge. Unable to know the whole of nature, people can do no better than construct an incomplete model of it and then delude themselves into thinking they have created something natural.

All someone has to do to know nature is to realize that he does not really know anything, that he is unable to know anything. It can then be expected that he will lose interest in discriminating knowledge. When he abandons discriminating knowledge, non-discriminating knowledge of itself arises within him. If he does not try to think about knowing, if he does not care about understanding, the time will come when he will understand. There is no other way than through the destruction of the ego, casting aside the thought that humans exist apart from heaven and earth.

It means being foolish instead of smart."


Luke Pryjma said...

go grow girl.

Alex said...

Hi! Masanobu is also a hero of mine, and I have been looking for farms I could intern at to learn it first hand. Do you know of any? Thanks!

katie said...

where are you?

Alex said...

I am in Seattle but I would be willing to travel this summer.

katie said...

I don't know of anything... I have recently relocated, but I'm sure there are farming internships all around! good luck!

Mary said...

Alex, I know one farm but it is in Greece... How far can you get?
I think their e-mail is: