Masanobu Fukuoka

"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."

Masanobu Fukuoka (1914-2008) was born in a small farming village on the island of Shikoku in Southern Japan. Trained as a microbiologist, he began his career as a soil scientist specializing in plant pathology. At age 25 recovering from a severe attack of pneumonia, Fukuoka had a vision in which he saw that all the "accomplishments" of human civilization are meaningless before nature. He saw that humans had become separated from nature, that attempts to control life were not only futile, they were self-destructive. He eventually quit his job as a research scientist, and returned to his family's farm on the island of Shikoku in Southern Japan to grow organic mikans. From that point on he devoted his life to developing a unique small scale organic farming system that does not require weeding, pesticide or fertilizer applications, or tilling.

The timing and circumstances of Fukuoka's conversion from Western agricultural science, parallels the Organic Agriculture movement in the 1940s in Europe and the US. However, Fukuoka himself believed that he was going a step further than organic farming. His well-known work The One-Straw Revolution (1975) describes both his life’s journey and the hands-on, small-scale organic farming techniques he developed.

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