“I spent years of my youth foolishly searching for something I ‘should’ have been doing. Instead, I should have entrusted everything to the flowers blooming in the meadow.” In Sowing Seeds in the Desert – Natural Farming, Global Restoration and Ultimate Food Security, Masanobu Fukuoka tackles much more than superficial solutions to global desertification: his focus is on the underlying human ideology that has led to the environmental crises that we face today.
The do–nothing farming techniques, described in depth in Fukuoka’s first book, The One Straw Revolution, allows for a harmonious ecosystem in which natural systems are allowed to flourish and provide food with minimal human involvement. He proposes a system for combating desertification using the same system of using ground cover to cool and nurture the soil, and scattering seed pellets. Gently working with nature, he uses root systems to allow air and water into depleted soil, thus attracting a diversity of organisms. This creates rich soil, and avoids the current labor-intensive, short-term measures to combat desertification such as dams and irrigation canals. While contemporary framing methods rely on petroleum-based fossil fuel and heave labor that have taxed the soil and minimized biodiversity, Fukuoka’s methods provide a long term solution, both working with the rhythm of nature and improving the quality of life of the farmer.
In his discussion of global environmental restoration, Fukuoka explores the interconnectedness of topics ranging from the evolution of human philosophy to the specifics of constructing seed pellets for use in revegetation. He sees the crisis of contemporary farming methods as a product of the disconnect between humans and nature, teaching that unity and allowing natural patterns to emerge are the key to food security and peace of mind.
In the words of Fukuoka, solutions can be “simple, effective and appropriate. They allow us to live peacefully within nature without going to a lot of trouble.” Through a combination of case studies, technical instructions and philosophical inquiry, Masanobu Fukuoka’s teachings emerge, emphasizing simplicity, self reliance, and hope for global harmony.
Masanobu Fukuoka authored multiple books on “do-nothing farming,” including the best-seller The One Straw Revolution. He established a farm on the Island of Shikoku in Japan, and lectured around the world throughout his life.