Call it “Zen and the Art of Farming” or a “Little Green Book” Masanobu Fukuoka’s manifesto about farming, eating, and the limits of human knowledge presents a radical challenge to the global systems we rely on for our food. At the same time, it is a spiritual memoir of a man whose innovative system of cultivating the earth reflects a deep faith in the wholeness and balance of the natural world. As Wendell Berry writes in his preface, the book “is valuable to us because it is at once practical and philosophical. It is an inspiring, necessary book about agriculture because it is not just about agriculture.”
Trained as a scientist, Fukuoka rejected both modern agribusiness and centuries of agricultural lore. Over the next three decades he perfected his so-called “do-nothing” technique: commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminate the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and perhaps most significantly, wasteful effort.
Whether you’re a guerrilla gardener or a kitchen gardener, dedicated to slow food or simply looking to live a healthier life, you will find something here—you may even be moved to start a revolution of your own.
Only the ignorant could write off Fukuoka, who died two years ago at the age of 95, as a deluded or nostalgic dreamer…Fukuoka developed ideas that went against the conventional grain….Long before the American Michael Pollan, he was making the connections between intensive agriculture, unhealthy eating habits and a whole destructive economy based on oil.
—Harry Eyres, The Financial Times
Every now and then you read a book which is so inspiring and such a pleasure that you feel impelled to stride down the street shouting “read this!” Well, I’ve just read The One-Straw Revolution and I urge everyone to buy or borrow a copy without delay.
— Tom Hodgkinson, The Idler
The One-Straw Revolution is one of the founding documents of the alternative food movement, and indispensable to anyone hoping to understand the future of food and agriculture.
— Michael Pollan
With no ploughing, weeding, fertilizers, external compost, pruning or chemicals, his minimalist approach reduces labour time to a fifth of more conventional practices. Yet his success in yields is comparable to more resource-intensive methods…The method is now being widely adopted to vegetate arid areas. His books, such as The One-Straw Revolution, have been inspirational to cultivators the world over.
— New Internationalist
The One-Straw Revolution shows the critical role of locally based agroecological knowledge in developing sustainable farming systems.
— Sustainable Architecture
Japan’s most celebrated alternative farmer…Fukuoka’s vision offers a beacon, a goal, an ideal to strive for.
— Tom Philpott, Grist