asanobu Fukuoka, is the widely-acclaimed author of One Straw Revolution (1975), and The Natural Way of Farming (1985). Much different from these books that discussed his philosophy and methods of natural farming, The Road Back to Nature is a fantastic collection of Fukuoka’s articles, lectures and essays.
As Fukuoka’s do-nothing farming garnered attention all over the world, he undertook journeys to different places giving lectures, holding workshops, educating farmers, visiting farms and meeting people curious to learn more about his method of farming. The Road Back to Nature documents some these lectures as well as his impressions and observations on his various trips; it also features his own essays, articles and interviews.
The first part of this book, which is divided into six parts, features observations from Fukuoka’s trip to America; he landed first in San Francisco in 1979, and later travelled eastwards. The second part of the book starts with his first trip to Europe in 1983 where he visited five or six countries. Fukuoka’s observations range from notes on local farms to his unusual attire that attracted attention.
The third part of the book are his essays on a range of topics from the rapid change in the Japanese diet of to the time he discovered maggots of an Australian fruit fly in the fruits offered to him by an Australian visitor. And this sent the agricultural ministry in a tizzy as they worried the fruit flies would bring about devastation of farms in Japan. The rest of the world were amused at the fuss created but surprised when told that fruits in Japan were free of fruit flies, and hence the hullabaloo over them.
Part four documents his experiences with the natural way of farming, and in part five titled ‘Nature, God, and Man’, Fukuoka wonders about God in different religions. He says that God and Nature are indefinable, and Man, Nature (the essence of Nature) and God, share one heart and one life. The book ends with his astonishment at the advancing deserts, his observations from his visit to Africa, and whether one can put a stop to growing deserts by sowing different seeds and determining what will grow on arid land.