From Masanobu Fukuoka, the widely-acclaimed author of One Straw Revolution (first published in 1975), a manifesto on farming that is popular to date, The Natural Way of Farming is another gem.
If you look around today, everything claims to be ‘natural’ – from skin products to clothes to food. ‘Natural’ ends up sounding like a trend that is gaining popularity. The Natural Way of Farming isn’t another trend or a buzzword, but is one man’s philosophy for humans to return to nature – by farming in step with nature.
Originating from the Buddhist philosophy of “Mu” or nothingness, natural farming returns to a “do-nothing” nature. Natural farming principles include ‘no-tillage’ that is no turning or ploughing the field. But the ‘Do-nothing’ doesn’t literally mean doing nothing but is doing what he describes as doing what is closely in line with nature; to work in harmony with nature to understand what needs to be done – and what must not be done. One may think that “doing nothing” is non-productive and hurts productivity but natural farming does quite the opposite, says Fukuoka.
Natural farming is not only simple, but also cost-effective and labour-saving method when compared to the energy-intensive agricultural methods of today. Fukuoka devoted his life to farming and learning how plants can grow naturally with little or no human effort. His method of farming is based on four major principles: no cultivation, no fertiliser, no weeding,and no pesticides. In The Natural Way of Farming, are described in detail, the secrets of Fukuoka’s approach to farming around these principles. The book’s focus on the practice of natural farming, in addition to the theory is the perfect follow up to the philosophy of farming as described in One Straw Revolution.