Overview

Call it “Zen and the Art of Farming” or a “Little Green Book,” Masanobu Fukuoka’s manifesto about farming, eating, and the limits of human knowledge presents a radical challenge to the global systems we rely on for our food. At the same time, it is a spiritual memoir of a man whose innovative system of cultivating the earth reflects a deep faith in the wholeness and balance of the natural world. As Wendell Berry writes in his preface, the book “is valuable to us because it is at once practical and philosophical. ...
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The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming

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Overview

Call it “Zen and the Art of Farming” or a “Little Green Book,” Masanobu Fukuoka’s manifesto about farming, eating, and the limits of human knowledge presents a radical challenge to the global systems we rely on for our food. At the same time, it is a spiritual memoir of a man whose innovative system of cultivating the earth reflects a deep faith in the wholeness and balance of the natural world. As Wendell Berry writes in his preface, the book “is valuable to us because it is at once practical and philosophical. It is an inspiring, necessary book about agriculture because it is not just about agriculture.”

Trained as a scientist, Fukuoka rejected both modern agribusiness and centuries of agricultural practice, deciding instead that the best forms of cultivation mirror nature’s own laws. Over the next three decades he perfected his so-called “do-nothing” technique: commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminate the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and perhaps most significantly, wasteful effort.

Whether you’re a guerrilla gardener or a kitchen gardener, dedicated to slow food or simply looking to live a healthier life, you will find something here—you may even be moved to start a revolution of your own.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The One-Straw Revolution is one of the founding documents of the alternative food movement, and indispensable to anyone hoping to understand the future of food and agriculture."—Michael Pollan

"Only the ignorant could write off Fukuoka, who died two years ago at the age of 95, as a deluded or nostalgic dreamer...Fukuoka developed ideas that went against the conventional grain....Long before the American Michael Pollan, he was making the connections between intensive agriculture, unhealthy eating habits and a whole destructive economy based on oil." —Harry Eyres, The Financial Times

"Fukuoka's do-nothing approach to farming is not only revolutionary in terms of growing food, but it is also applicable to other aspects of living, (creativity, child-rearing, activism, career, etc.) His holistic message is needed now more than ever as we search for new ways of approaching the environment, our community and life. It is time for us all to join his 'non-movement.'"—Keri Smith author of How to be an Explorer of the World

“Japan’s most celebrated alternative farmer...Fukuoka’s vision offers a beacon, a goal, an ideal to strive for.” —Tom Philpott, Grist

The One-Straw Revolution shows the critical role of locally based agroecological knowledge in developing sustainable farming systems.” —Sustainable Architecture

“With no ploughing, weeding, fertilizers, external compost, pruning or chemicals, his minimalist approach reduces labour time to a fifth of more conventional practices. Yet his success in yields is comparable to more resource-intensive methods…The method is now being widely adopted to vegetate arid areas. His books, such as The One-Straw Revolution, have been inspirational to cultivators the world over.” —New Internationalist

The Barnes & Noble Review
Six decades ago in postwar Japan, long before Michael Pollan or Alice Waters, Masanobu Fukuoka, a laboratory scientist who had studied plant enzymes and rhizomes in Tokyo laboratories and had worked with poisonous wartime chemicals during the devastations of the Second World War, headed back to the land his father's family farmed for nearly 1,400 years. There he painstakingly recovered and developed a method of farming that aligned itself as closely as possible with natural principles. While Japan set itself on a breakneck course toward modernization, Fukuoka grew rice in the opposite way, refusing to farm with chemicals that would annihilate even something as small as a leaf beetle. Call his book "Zen and the Art of the Wild Cucumber," or see Fukuoka as a Japanese Thoreau tending the whole universe in a beanstalk -- however you approach Fukuoka's rich philosophical side, it's important also to notice that his deep spiritual wisdom was co-terminous with his genius as a farmer. Without fertilizers or even tilling, he nonetheless harvested some of the greatest rice yields per acre in all of Japan. By the late '70s, when The One Straw Revolution was translated into English, Fukuoka had become a guru and disciple in seemingly radical -- but eminently sensible -- ways of approaching food, gardening, farming, and eating. His book is an early cult classic in organic and natural farming circles, but its implications stretch beyond them and continue to resonate as a global food crisis looms. Fukuoka believed that fertilizers and pesticides caused the very problems that they proposed to solve; that rather than annihilating pests, they invited them. He argued that natural foods, grown without these costly additives, should be the cheapest; and that the body living closest to the land and aligning itself with the seasons would be the healthiest. Thirty years later, as this book is re-released, Fukuoka's message -- now more urgent than ever -- remains a deeply nourishing clarion call. --Tess Taylor
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590173923
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 9/8/2010
  • Series: New York Review Books Classics Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 209,987
  • File size: 17 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Masanobu Fukuoka (1913–2008) was born and raised on the Japanese island of Shikoku. He was the oldest son of a rice farmer who was also the local mayor. Fukuoka studied plant pathology and worked for number of years as a produce inspector in the customs office in Yokohama. But in 1938 he returned to his village home determined to put his ideas about natural farming into practice. During World War II, he worked for the Japanese government as a researcher on food production, managing to avoid military service until the final few months of the war. After the war, he returned to Shikoku to devote himself wholeheartedly to farming. And in 1975, distressed by the effects of Japan’s post-war modernization, Fukuoka wrote The One-Straw Revolution. In his later years, Fukuoka was involved with several projects to reduce desertification throughout the world. He remained an active farmer until well into his eighties, and continued to give lectures until only a few years before his death at the age of ninety-five. Fukuoka is also the author of The Natural Way of Farming and The Road Back to Nature. In 1988 he received the Magsaysay Award for Public Service.

Frances Moore Lappé is author or co-author of sixteen books, including Diet for a Small Planet and Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad. She has co-founded three organizations, including the Institute for Food and Development Policy and, more recently, the Small Planet Institute, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. In 1987, she received the Right Livelihood Award, also called the “Alternative Nobel.” She has received seventeen honorary doctorates and has been a visiting scholar at MIT.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Simple and profound

    This is, without a doubt, one of the most transformative books I have read. Fukuoka's techniques are simple and his prose thoroughly stimulating (translated, of course). While many of his theories on natural farming aligned with my initial convictions, others shed new light on farming, eating and life in ways I did not expect. If you are a farmer or gardener, you will likely find yourself daunted but, at the same time, empowered by the simplicity of Fukuoka's narrative.

    This book is an absolute necessity for anyone who professes an interest in food or farming, and especially those enticed by the allure of the modern 'organic' movement. It's not an investigation into industrial farming or a purely instructional book but, instead, a deeply philosophical discussion of life and farming and our role as confused little beings who try so desperately and vainly to improve upon nature.

    If you have read any of Michael Pollan's books, you will notice a similar appreciation for the elegance and complexity of the natural world in Fukuoka's writing; Fukuoka just happened to be writing about it several decades earlier.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2015

    Instant Classic!

    This book is a must read for anyone interested in anything agriculture, or for anyone simply trying to live a more natural life while being more connected with nature. This book is as much about philosophy as it is about "no nonsense" farming, and I found it instantly applicable to my life in more areas then just farming. I will definitely end up revisiting this book again. Highly recommended

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Where progress needs to be

    This book was ahead of its time. If you want to read with an open mind then I suggest you read this.

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    Posted August 4, 2011

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    Posted March 31, 2010

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    Posted October 3, 2010

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