[permaculture] One Straw Guiding Questions

Daniel Jager dfjager at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 17 10:12:40 EST 2012

"I practice 'do-nothing' farming, therefore I go out and work in the fields the whole day."

This is just the first of many paradoxes to solve before one can understand Fukuoka.

Fukuoka was originally trained as an agricultural scientist. He worked many years for the Japanese government as a researcher on plant diseases. This is a point that one has to remember since it proves that his rejection of scientific farming was not due to ignorance or unfamiliarity with it.
One day however, he had a vision and saw 'the heart' of Nature. He then also saw that almost all (scientific) 'methods' to improve on Nature would lead man more and more away from Her.

Reading Fukuoka and the description of his 'vision', it is clear that he had a profound mystical experience. His subsequent approach to farming can probably be called something like 'Zen' or Taoist farming.

In his farming, like in Taoism or Zen, there is the believe (for him: the Knowing) that the essence is perfect. But we all have gathered superfluities around this essence that hamper its unfolding. The 'trick' is to remove these barriers to let the essence be dynamic, to let it flow again and unfold.

Fukuoka's method is without a doubt a form of agriculture based on Eastern spiritual thought. The problem is that most of us do not really understand this ideas at all; mostly because we have not had a similar vision ourselves; we lack the level of awareness.

Fukuoka's view is that of the spiritual essence of Nature. The only way to approach Nature and 'cultivate' Her is to *see* more of Her. According to Fukuoka, we can start doing that by living in much closer proximity to her for several years; to raise our 'sensitivity' (eq. awareness). And from this new sensitivity, this new knowing, to start removing the barriers that prevent our food plants from reaching health, vigor and fertility.

Of the people who come in touch with Fukuoka's ideas:
There is quite a large group of people that think that Fukuoka's Natural Farming is a lazy man's way of growing food.
There is another large group of people who read his work and reject it for being 'faith'-based agriculture with no 'practical' value.
Then, unfortunately, there is a much smaller group of people that seem to grasp his core ideas, but like with all other dynamic things in Life, the essential ideas are quickly turned into 'a METHOD', a 'system', a trodden path, a static approach. So they equate Fukuoka's 'method' to 'no pruning', or 'no tilling', or 'seedballs', or 'rice/barley double cropping'.
And then there is a very small minority of people who do not need any outside authority or 'method', but cultivate the Earth on the authority of their own awareness.

Ask your participants this: To which group do they wish to belong?

> Message: 3
> Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 11:58:06 -0800 (PST)
> From: Laura Ruby <larue1221 at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [permaculture] One Straw Guiding Questions
> To: "permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org"
> <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID:
>     <1326743886.79637.YahooMailNeo at web125514.mail.ne1.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
> Hi All,?
> I am hosting a discussion group based around Fukuoka's One
> Straw Revolution. ?Do any of you have any guiding questions
> for students as they read the book, or any recommendations
> for discussion questions?
> Many Thanks!
> Laura Ruby

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