Masanobu Fukuoka was one of the first people to actually do farming in a permaculture sense, and he did so before permaculture was put into the system it is today. So we could say that he in many ways is the father of permaculture. Many of the principles we know from permaculture, comes from his ground breaking work. His book The one-straw Revolution is an interesting book about the thoughts and insights that led him to farming in a different way.
He was born and raised on the Japanese island of Shikoku. This is also where he returned after he had a profound spiritual insight, that made him turn his back on the scientific world he had been working in.
The book is not only about farming, it is both philosofical and spiritual. This also lays the foundations for his holistic approach to farming – natural farming. He takes us trough his thoughts and trails and errors on the way to creating his farm. This way we learn the basic prinsiples of observing nature and copying what works, trying things out and adjusting to make it work. Even if the types of crops he is using might not grow everywhere, the princiles of succesion planting, no tilling, and irrigating would work everywhere.
To sum up his approach to farming, would be to say that he does “do-nothing farming”. His work was aimed at eliminating as much labour as possible. To find the solutions that makes work as simple as possible and keeping things natural. For example, by not pruning his friuit trees, he eliminates having to go over the orchared to prune each year. Once he figured out how to get the trees to thrive and produce without mainenance, he had eliminated a whole lot of work. And he still got producing trees!
I found the book interesting, althouh the process of growing rice and grains etc. is not very relevant to me and I will not be able to replicate that, I can still make use of the same technique with other crops. All in all it is an must read book for anyone interesting in permaculture and how this whole movement got started.