The One Straw Revolution - a philosophy for the future
The One Straw Revolution by Masanoubu Fukuoka. Whether you are interested in growing food or not this classic permaculture and transition book is a fascinating read. It is actually a book about one Japanese man's life and his attempts to apply his revelation that intellectual knowledge is insufficient, to the art of farming.
I am going to start by admitting that I haven't had time to finish this book yet, but I am about half way through and I am already hooked. Mr Fukuoka has spent thirty years observing and experimenting to produce a method of food production with higher yields than pretty much any other land in Japan. And with minimal effort. He details the methods he has developed and the reasoning behind them. He also amusingly describes the reactions of the rest of Japan to his methods and his results. How they cannot comprehend his results because they are so programmed at looking at things as seperate that the holistic approach is incomprehensible to them. Some of his methods are being more widely adopted however, many japanese farmers now put at least some of their rice straw back on their fields rather than throwing it all away, keeping more of the nutrients on the land rather than removing it all.
Something that I've been finding really interesting is the elements of philosophy that are threaded through the book. The nuggets of wisdom to get you thinking. One of these that has really stuck with me and that I really want to try and apply to my life is rather than asking yourself what can I do, you ask yourself what can I stop doing. This is so opposite to the approach of Western society that it is quite hard to do! But as is amply illustrated in the rest of the book our attempts to keep adding more things on top of problem fails to address that it is often one of the activities we are already doing that is the source of the problem. I think this approach is well worth consciously trialling in Transition initiatives. We already do to a certain extent after all we cannot wean ourselves off fossil fuels without stopping doing many things.
There are so many things in this book that I could write about, but it is such an elegantly written book that I don't really want to paraphrase it, I would rather you went away and read it yourself! You can find an e-version of the book here, do give it a go.
Photos: the original the book cover & Mr Fukuoka on his farm