Masanobu Fukuoka (1913–2008) was a farmer and philosopher who was born and raised on the Japanese island of Shikoku. He studied plant pathology and spent several years working as a customs inspector in Yokohama. While working there, at the age of twenty-five, he had an inspiration that changed his life. He decided to quit his job, return to his home village, and put his ideas into practice by applying them to agriculture.
In 1975 he wrote The One-Straw Revolution, a best-selling book that described his life’s journey, his philosophy, and farming techniques. This book has been translated into more than twenty-five languages and has helped make Mr. Fukuoka a leader in the worldwide sustainable-agriculture movement. He continued farming until shortly before his death in 2008, at the age of ninety-five.
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Friday, July 20, 2012
The Green Deserts of Western Civilization
The following commentary is adapted from the posthumously published Sowing Seeds in the Desert by Masanobu Fukuoka (Chelsea Green, 2012). Fukuoka was the author of the international bestseller One-Straw Revolution. He died in 2008. Given the recent news about the extended drought facing much of the United States, we thought our readers might want to read Mr. Fukuoka’s deep insight into how Western agricultural practices have helped to create vast deserts across the planet, while on the surface appearing very “green.” In fact, Mr.