A good friend loaned me a copy of Sowing Seeds in the Desert by Masanobu Fukuoka, famous author of One Straw Revolution. This is an important book. If you care anything at all about any of the things I regularly write about, you need to read this book. I will state at the beginning there are a couple of his ideas I disagree with, but taken as a whole, this is a life-changing book. It is a wide-ranging philosophical text as well as a tome of useful, practical knowledge for transforming marginal lands into productive forest. If you are unfamiliar with Sensei Fukuoka, I highly suggest that you familiarize yourself with his online bio and his other works.
Among the ideas I disagree with, he holds to the idea he calls the ‘second genesis’ which would have all of us broadcasting seeds from all over the world across all boundaries, letting the plants of all the world decide which species are fit to fill the available ecological niches. As a Southerner all too familiar with; kudzu, Asian carp, zebra mussels, privet and milfoil I have to disagree, if for no other reason than the necessity to preserve the genetic diversity he himself admits we desperately need to save.
That said, there is far more that I agree with and which I plan to implement in our eventual homestead. I wish I could quote extensively from it, but it is just too much. I will lay out the key ideas for you though, as they struck me.
1. True joy in life is found in true Nature, in returning as closely as we are able to a natural life, ruled by natural rhythms and cycles and finding out place in those cycles.
2. Scientific agriculture results not in Production but in Deduction; loss of topsoil, fertility, genetic diversity and overall food production
3. Before the advent of petro-chemical agriculture, on average 1 calorie of work produced 2 calories of food. Now it takes 8 calories of inputs, or more, to produce 1 calorie of food, and that food is not as nutritious, varied or tasteful as previously
4. The most productive method of farming is “Natural Farming”. This is a no-till, no chemical, no fertilizer method whereby crop plants grow in harmony with many other plants, because mono-culture denies the “preferred” plants the environment they need to thrive without artificial additives to the system. “Preferred” because in truth, no plant is good or bad, all are part of the whole and removing on or preferring one results in imbalance.
5. The Money Sucking Octopus Economy. The relationship between big ag, big pharm, big gov, the mil-industrial complex and big finance is like an octopus, getting fat by eating its own legs. The 8 arms of his octopus are; Maintenance of the transportation network, control of agencies administering transportation, supervision of communication, establishment of an economic information network, education and administrative advising, control of financial institutions, control of information and control of citizens’ personal computers and registration. These are connected by the hub of the octopus; politicians and the mil-industrial-gov complex who have centralized authority.