Masanobu Fukuoka’s book about growing food has been changing the lives of readers since it was first published in 1978. It is a call to arms, a manifesto, and a radical rethinking of the global systems we rely on to feed us all. At the same time, it is the memoir of a man whose spiritual beliefs underpin and inform every aspect of his innovative farming system.
Equal parts farmer and philosopher, Fukuoka is recognized as one of the founding thinkers of the permaculture movement. But when he was twenty-five, he was just another biologist taking advantage of the unprecedented development of postwar Japan. Then a brush with death shattered his complacency. He quit his job and returned to his family farm. Over the decades that followed, Fukuoka perfected his so-called “do-nothing” technique, a way of farming that dispenses with both modern agribusiness practices and centuries of folk wisdom, replacing them with a system that seeks to work with nature rather than make it over through increasingly elaborate-and often harmful -methods. Fukuoka developed commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminated the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and the wasteful effort associated with them-and his yields matched those of neighboring factory farms. His farm became a gathering place for people from all over the world who wished to adapt his ways to their own local cultures.
Now, more than thirty years after they were first published, Fukuoka’s teachings are more relevant and necessary than ever.