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jennifer paige smith
05-28-2007, 11:20 AM
From the voices of scientists, farmers,and the generally curious, have come years of reports about an amazing and revolutionary form of farming deemed, Mu Farming, by it's introductor, Masanobu Fukuoka. Master Fukuoka was a former agricultural scientist who was charged with alleviating a blight that had come to decimate the rice crops in one of Japans most prolific rice growing regions. During this assignment Masanobu began to observe nature in it's indepepndent workings; free from human intervention both of hand and of intellectual imposition. Masanobu came to see that the crops that were most manipulated were the least prolific or sustainable. Following this assignment he had an experience similar to Morihei Ueshibas naturalistic realizations. Following his realization he embarked on a personal and professional path to follow the workings of nature. His books. The One Straw Revolution, and Natural Farming; Green Philosophy and Practice, have become staples in the libraries of sustainable agriculturists, humanists, and scientists alike.

Both books are available for free online at the Australian Library of Soil and Health.

Here I have provided an exerpt from his novel The One Straw Revolution, and an interview that offers some more background.

Anyone interested in the theory of competition as a natural occurance may like to read this. In my view it offers support to O'Sensei's teaching that 'nature is our greatest teacher' and that aikido is based on the loving workings of the universe.

http://www.mulandscaping.com/ArticleTheAmazingNaturalFarmOfMasanobuFukuoka.htm

Anyone who reads this or who has experience with Fukuokas work is encouraged to add to this conversation.
Thanks

miratim
05-28-2007, 12:00 PM
Great article. What I got from it was a sense that the best crops and results come from an environment that is left to its natural device - competition. Predators competing for resources, resources competing for energy, all pushing each other towards a balanced better existence.

When humans artifically interfere with this competition, with pesticides, weed elimination, etc, the balance is lost because certain elements (like the crops) no longer have natural competitors and there is less need for success. The weaker elements are more likely to flourish and reproduce.

The ecosystem, in its natural state, with minimized influence by humans attempting to maximize the results of one element of that system, will end up performing at its best (everyone wins). Removing potentially competitors from that mix can result in lowered performance (everyone loses).

jennifer paige smith
05-28-2007, 12:15 PM
Great article. What I got from it was a sense that the best crops and results come from an environment that is left to its natural device - competition. Predators competing for resources, resources competing for energy, all pushing each other towards a balanced better existence.

When humans artifically interfere with this competition, with pesticides, weed elimination, etc, the balance is lost because certain elements (like the crops) no longer have natural competitors and there is less need for success. The weaker elements are more likely to flourish and reproduce.

The ecosystem, in its natural state, with minimized influence by humans attempting to maximize the results of one element of that system, will end up performing at its best (everyone wins). Removing potentially competitors from that mix can result in lowered performance (everyone loses).

I agree with the observations. I want to point out that the word competition is not used in Fukuokas word choices or concepts. It is my view that the concept of competition is a fragmented piece of a whole that does not recognize the concept competition. In other words, competition could be said to be a colonial concept thrust upon indigenous nature. Just more food for thought.

jennifer paige smith
05-28-2007, 12:19 PM
Great article. What I got from it was a sense that the best crops and results come from an environment that is left to its natural device - competition. Predators competing for resources, resources competing for energy, all pushing each other towards a balanced better existence.

When humans artifically interfere with this competition, with pesticides, weed elimination, etc, the balance is lost because certain elements (like the crops) no longer have natural competitors and there is less need for success. The weaker elements are more likely to flourish and reproduce.

The ecosystem, in its natural state, with minimized influence by humans attempting to maximize the results of one element of that system, will end up performing at its best (everyone wins). Removing potentially competitors from that mix can result in lowered performance (everyone loses).

I agree with the observations. I want to point out that the word competition is not used in Fukuokas word choices or concepts. It is my view that the concept of competition is a fragmented piece of a whole that does not recognize the concept competition. In other words, competition could be said to be a colonial concept thrust upon indigenous nature.

My personal level of questioning is now a bit like, 'If it isn't competition, what is it?' I can't say I know. I can say I'm interested.

Just more food for thought.

P.S. I like your writing style.
jen

tarik
05-28-2007, 01:38 PM
Great article. What I got from it was a sense that the best crops and results come from an environment that is left to its natural device - competition. Predators competing for resources, resources competing for energy, all pushing each other towards a balanced better existence.

More devices than simply competition, but yes, competition is a significant contributor. His work is very important.

My only real complaint about Fukuoka's work isn't really his work, which is excellent and could revolutionize many aspects of the the agricultural industry. It's the Luddite insistence that his work is contrary to what science teaches us and that "the knowledge of what is natural for your area and your land will not come from scientific analysis or experimentation."

That's silly and foolish. Such statements simply demonstrate a willful refutation of science (and reality). The very process of making observations of nature and learning from it over time is an application of the scientific method, however strongly or weakly aspects of the method are followed. Science is not about a specific set of results that may be used correctly or incorrectly, but an ever evolving process and method of study to attain a body of knowledge about how things work and relate to one another.

To maintain the overall topic of aikido, I frequently see the same type of process of rejection of reality in favor of an ideal when the two are really not as far apart as is supposed. How about this? Let's observe reality and study the paradox of how something like 'competition and cooperation' can co-exist and are actually both necessary to real learning without needing to misapply value judgments of the negative examples to all examples.
Regards,

jennifer paige smith
05-28-2007, 03:27 PM
More devices than simply competition, but yes, competition is a significant contributor. His work is very important.

My only real complaint about Fukuoka's work isn't really his work, which is excellent and could revolutionize many aspects of the the agricultural industry. It's the Luddite insistence that his work is contrary to what science teaches us and that "the knowledge of what is natural for your area and your land will not come from scientific analysis or experimentation."

That's silly and foolish. Such statements simply demonstrate a willful refutation of science (and reality). The very process of making observations of nature and learning from it over time is an application of the scientific method, however strongly or weakly aspects of the method are followed. Science is not about a specific set of results that may be used correctly or incorrectly, but an ever evolving process and method of study to attain a body of knowledge about how things work and relate to one another.

To maintain the overall topic of aikido, I frequently see the same type of process of rejection of reality in favor of an ideal when the two are really not as far apart as is supposed. How about this? Let's observe reality and study the paradox of how something like 'competition and cooperation' can co-exist and are actually both necessary to real learning without needing to misapply value judgments of the negative examples to all examples.
Regards,

Please define 'real'.

tarik
05-29-2007, 12:08 AM
Please define 'real'.

re·al1 (rē'əl, rēl) pronunciation
adj.

1.

Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence: real objects; a real illness.
True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal: real people, not ghosts; a film based on real life.
Of or founded on practical matters and concerns: a recent graduate experiencing the real world for the first time.

2. Genuine and authentic; not artificial or spurious: real mink; real humility.
3. Being no less than what is stated; worthy of the name: a real friend.
4. Free of pretense, falsehood, or affectation: tourists hoping for a real experience on the guided tour.
5. Not to be taken lightly; serious: in real trouble.
6. Philosophy. Existing objectively in the world regardless of subjectivity or conventions of thought or language.

I left out the stuff pertaining to real estate. I particularly like number 6, but most of the variants apply. Fukuoka's work is good stuff, I just think many reviews I've read of it show a luddite perspective of how it was achieved.

Regards,

G DiPierro
05-29-2007, 03:33 AM
During this assignment Masanobu began to observe nature in it's indepepndent workings; free from human intervention both of hand and of intellectual imposition. Masanobu came to see that the crops that were most manipulated were the least prolific or sustainable.

Interesting article. Of course, he is not actually suggesting allowing nature to run its course free of human intervention but the application of our hand and intellect in ways that are harmonious with nature rather than that attempt to dominate or subdue it. A more in-depth discussion of the same principle applied to raising farm animals (for meat) can be found in Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (http://www.amazon.com/Omnivores-Dilemma-Natural-History-Meals/dp/1594200823/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-7730510-7243355?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180426849&sr=8-1).

This article is now nearly 30 years old. Any updates on people using this method today?

-G DiPierro

PeterR
05-29-2007, 03:59 AM
This article is now nearly 30 years old. Any updates on people using this method today?

I wish I could remember the name of the program but in some areas in Japan they are trying to coax back Storks by making the rice fields Stork friendly. No pesticides - insects come back - more frogs - more food for storks. The yield is not as high and the risk s greater but they market it as a bio-product using a stork symbol and apparently it is quite popular.

Generally fields tend to be quite small and the cost has to be subsidized through various means to compete with imports. There is a political will to at least maintain rice cultivation and this has resulted in quite a speciallity market. I've sat at lunch tables where people compare the taste of rice from a particular area year to year.

My Aikido assistant disappears at certain times of the year to take care of his family's rice crop.

PeterR
05-29-2007, 04:51 AM
I found it

Please check http://www.pnyv.org/index.php?id=34&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=774&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=8&cHash=a1ec54a383

jennifer paige smith
05-29-2007, 08:51 AM
re·al1 (r?'?l, r?l) pronunciation
adj.

1.

Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence: real objects; a real illness.
True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal: real people, not ghosts; a film based on real life.
Of or founded on practical matters and concerns: a recent graduate experiencing the real world for the first time.

2. Genuine and authentic; not artificial or spurious: real mink; real humility.
3. Being no less than what is stated; worthy of the name: a real friend.
4. Free of pretense, falsehood, or affectation: tourists hoping for a real experience on the guided tour.
5. Not to be taken lightly; serious: in real trouble.
6. Philosophy. Existing objectively in the world regardless of subjectivity or conventions of thought or language.

I left out the stuff pertaining to real estate. I particularly like number 6, but most of the variants apply. Fukuoka's work is good stuff, I just think many reviews I've read of it show a luddite perspective of how it was achieved.

Regards,
The Luddite argument is off track. I agree, that hypothesis is silly and stupid, and it doesn't apply to Fukuoka's work.

I like #6, too. I'll be sure to remember your love for it for you when you forget.

'Real' is an issue of trajectory; in the eyes of the beholder. Often the cultural beholder. But I get your point of view.

In my everyday application of Fukuoka's (natures) principles I tend to encounter myself and my beliefs. I'm not concerned with Luddites, Darwininans,Christians, New Agers, Fast Food Junkies, ADD Children ( o.k. maybe ADD children :)) or any other title that obscures me from my hands-on life and the way plants ( or people, or animals) grow. When I hear people mixing their philosophies, I look with a distinct eye and apply discernment. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Ecosamurai
05-29-2007, 09:00 AM
This article is now nearly 30 years old. Any updates on people using this method today?

Fukuoka's stuff is essentially Japanese organic farming and is only different from western organic farming because Japanese agriculture on the whole is different.

Fukuoka's main influence as far as I am aware is to have promote the use of 'no till' or reduced till methods. No till is a mitigation practice advocated for climate change mitigation as it sequesters carbon from the atmosphere (though there is still some debate over this amongst scientists).

The issue of competition in biology is not comparable to the issue of competition in aikido. Competition in a biological sense involves two species (or individuals) competing for resources. Two aikido dojo in the same town are involved in this type of competition the resources being potential students. There is plenty of biological style competition in aikido, evidence of which can be seen in the diversity of styles and organisations which have evolved and grown.

Most of Fukuoka's thinking is generally hippy nonsense with a few scientific ideas, which scientists themselves have also had independently of peculiar hippy thinking. People forget that there is a reason for industrial agriculture in the first place. Organic farming produces lower yields, were we to switch the entire world to organic farming millions of people would starve. To top this all off, organic farming is often sold as healthier for the consumer, there is no evidence to suggest this is true. It is however healthier for the environment. It is only viable as a luxury in western developed countries where agriculture produces a surplus and is subsidised, and small hold farmers can switch and sell their products as organic and environmentally sustainable. It will not feed the world.

Regards

Mike

jennifer paige smith
05-29-2007, 09:08 AM
Interesting article. Of course, he is not actually suggesting allowing nature to run its course free of human intervention but the application of our hand and intellect in ways that are harmonious with nature rather than that attempt to dominate or subdue it. A more in-depth discussion of the same principle applied to raising farm animals (for meat) can be found in Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (http://www.amazon.com/Omnivores-Dilemma-Natural-History-Meals/dp/1594200823/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-7730510-7243355?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180426849&sr=8-1).

This article is now nearly 30 years old. Any updates on people using this method today?

-G DiPierro
I haven't read any updates on that material.

Masanobu is not, as you say, suggesting we should be hands-off. Quite the opposite, in essence. We should apply our hands in natural knowledge with minimum manipulation to natures perfection while witnessing musubi. A shoshin state of farming.

My statement primarily relates to the time when he was observing (being educated in the 1st stage), almost exclusively, not applying (putting into practice) his lessons. That was a little later.

thanks for the contributing link.
jen

jennifer paige smith
05-29-2007, 09:26 AM
Sorry about the multiple postings.

here's additional links, related to topic.
http://www.abc.net.au/northcoast/stories/m500939.ram

http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC14/Fukuoka.htm

Ecosamurai
05-29-2007, 10:29 AM
I forgot to mention that most of the methods advocated by Fukuoka are currently recommended as strategies for mitigating climate change by absorbing CO2 (and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere) and are essential under section 3.1 or 3.2 (I forget) of the Kyoto Treaty. I'm currently working on estimates of how much CO2 equivalent will be offset by implementing these practices in Europe until the year 2080.

Mike

G DiPierro
05-29-2007, 09:22 PM
Fukuoka's stuff is essentially Japanese organic farming and is only different from western organic farming because Japanese agriculture on the whole is different.

Fukuoka's main influence as far as I am aware is to have promote the use of 'no till' or reduced till methods.

That was part I found interesting, and it's not commonly found in so-called "organic" farming.

People forget that there is a reason for industrial agriculture in the first place. Organic farming produces lower yields, were we to switch the entire world to organic farming millions of people would starve. To top this all off, organic farming is often sold as healthier for the consumer, there is no evidence to suggest this is true. It is however healthier for the environment. It is only viable as a luxury in western developed countries where agriculture produces a surplus and is subsidised, and small hold farmers can switch and sell their products as organic and environmentally sustainable. It will not feed the world.

You might want to read the book I linked to in my previous post, which contains an extensive critique of the "industrial organic" system you are describing (along with a much more damning critique of mainstream industrial agriculture, which in the US is dominated by field corn raised for feeding animals in confined feeding operations and for processing into sweeteners and other products that go into fast foods and pre-processed foods sold in supermarkets.) The reasons why industrial agriculture is the way it is and the kind of alternatives that are available to it are very different from what you might think.

-G DiPierro

Ecosamurai
05-31-2007, 07:23 AM
The reasons why industrial agriculture is the way it is and the kind of alternatives that are available to it are very different from what you might think.

No, they're not different from what I think, I'm aware of what they are. Like I said, no-till farming is something that's kinda Fukuoka's idea but it is definitely not absent from western organic farming (or non-organic farming for that matter). It's likely you haven't seen or heard about it because it's mostly advocated as a method for sequestering carbon to the soil and mitigating climate change. Given the US government's 'head in the sand' view of climate change it doesn't surprise me that it's not widely practiced over there.

Mike

jennifer paige smith
05-31-2007, 09:35 AM
Hi Mike,

For the benefit of everyone reading this post I'd like to add: No-till farming is only a small part of non-method farming. In my mind it is like kokyu -ho, and not an entire repetoir of technique (or non-technique, as the case may be). Also, for those who are not familiar with Fukuoka, he was an Agricultural Scientist before a farmer.

For my benefit: I feel I must not have understood your first post. It sounded like you were calling Fukuoka a stupid hippy and were discrediting the validity of his overall method. In the next post you said that the work you are doing to counter climate change (please excuse my papaphrase) includes Fukuokas work and that seems to contradict itself. Now I'm not into splitting hairs, I'm interested to know where my misunderstanding between these two posts lies.

Maybe asking a couple of questions can help me figure this out.

Have you read all of One Straw..or Natural Farming or did you encounter his work in excerpt or exposure from others? (just grabbing straws here). Is it the influence of those whom you have met that endorse Fukuoka or Fukuokas work directly that leads you to your language of discredit or 'hippy'. I would like to know what wraps this view up for you, if this in fact what you think. I need a little help on this one. I can accept your point of view, whatever. I'm just not certain what it is. To be clear, I appreciate your posts and your views and I would like to understand more fully. Thanks,

jen

Ecosamurai
05-31-2007, 10:12 AM
Hi Mike,

For the benefit of everyone reading this post I'd like to add: No-till farming is only a small part of non-method farming. In my mind it is like kokyu -ho, and not an entire repetoir of technique (or non-technique, as the case may be). Also, for those who are not familiar with Fukuoka, he was an Agricultural Scientist before a farmer.

For my benefit: I feel I must not have understood your first post. It sounded like you were calling Fukuoka a stupid hippy and were discrediting the validity of his overall method. In the next post you said that the work you are doing to counter climate change (please excuse my papaphrase) includes Fukuokas work and that seems to contradict itself. Now I'm not into splitting hairs, I'm interested to know where my misunderstanding between these two posts lies.

Maybe asking a couple of questions can help me figure this out.

Have you read all of One Straw..or Natural Farming or did you encounter his work in excerpt or exposure from others? (just grabbing straws here). Is it the influence of those whom you have met that endorse Fukuoka or Fukuokas work directly that leads you to your language of discredit or 'hippy'. I would like to know what wraps this view up for you, if this in fact what you think. I need a little help on this one. I can accept your point of view, whatever. I'm just not certain what it is. To be clear, I appreciate your posts and your views and I would like to understand more fully. Thanks,

jen

My bad, sorry, wasn't meaning to call him a stupid hippy was more in reference to a type of thinking that tends to go hand in hand with these sorts of things, namely - 'science doesn't have all the answers therefore we must be against science and for nature' (that's what I like to call stupid hippy thinking). Science doesn't have all the answers and scientists will be the first to tell you so, but what science does have is all the best questions.
I'm all for good ideas but it's when they are held up as an alternative to the main-stream and therefore better that things go wrong with the logic involved, different does not equal better.
Same with Lovelock and his gaia hypothesis. Sells himself as an independent scientist and alternative thinker but all his ideas are pretty much totally accepted by mainstream ecologists and not really any different, but people who use stupid hippy thinking hold him up as an example of alternative and therefore better.
Fukuoka's methods would not feed the world and people forget that we have pesticides and modern agricultural methods for good reasons not bad (they have bad side effects sadly but that's a different discussion). Without them our only option would be to have a cull of the human population or simply allow large areas of the poorer countries to starve. I would say the richer countries but I doubt that'd happen, the developed world will just shit on Africa like it always does.

I've not read too much of Fukuoka's stuff I was referring to the no-till idea because I'm most familiar with it and it's probably his most well-known idea (at least amongst the people I talk to). My opinion was offered because I feel it is all too easy to jump on a bandwagon for an idea that seems good at the expense of an idea that is actually good.

Fukuoka = Japanese organic farming basically. Something I am very much in favour of for scientific and personal reasons. So no, I don't think he's some stupid hippy. I do think that embracing things that are 'natural' without proper thought leads to confusion and mess. This is simply because the word natural is a complete screw up when having any sort of discussion.

For example. Around here people talk about 'natural movement' in reference to aikido techniques while conveniently forgetting that aikido techniques are not natural, we have to work hard to learn them, they don't develop by themselves like the ability to walk for example.

In short. Fukuoka. Good. People who promote him as some sort of new age guru who can save us from the industrial Frankenstein farmers which have to be far worse because they obviously don't care about nature. Bad.

I'm of the same opinion of Aikido and O Sensei. Ueshiba. Good. People who deify him and so on. Bad.

Hope this clears things up. Bit ranting I'm afraid but then I just got told I have to re-write the results section I've spent 2 weeks on and I'm in a bad mood. Sorry about that.

Mike

G DiPierro
05-31-2007, 10:37 AM
No, they're not different from what I think, I'm aware of what they are. Like I said, no-till farming is something that's kinda Fukuoka's idea but it is definitely not absent from western organic farming (or non-organic farming for that matter). It's likely you haven't seen or heard about it because it's mostly advocated as a method for sequestering carbon to the soil and mitigating climate change.

Advocated by whom? I was mostly interested in whether and to what extent Fukuoka's ideas are currently applied within modern Eastern or Western sustainable agriculture. Sustainable is not the same thing as organic.

I should have just googled this myself in the first place rather than posting here. This is some of what I found:

1997 profile (http://www.lifepositive.com/body/nature/fukuoka-organicfarming.asp)

Applying natural farming techniques in Africa (an interview with Masanobu Fukuoka) (http://context.org/ICLIB/IC14/Fukuoka.htm) linked from this page on sustainable argiculture (http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/AFSIC_pubs/srb9902.htm#term23)

1982 Interview (http://www.motherearthnews.com/DIY/1982-07-01/The-Plowboy-Interview-Masanobu-Fukuoka.aspx)

Blog on Fukuoka (http://cuckooscall.blogspot.com/search/label/Masanobu%20Fukuoka)

G DiPierro
05-31-2007, 10:59 AM
Fukuoka's methods would not feed the world and people forget that we have pesticides and modern agricultural methods for good reasons not bad (they have bad side effects sadly but that's a different discussion). Without them our only option would be to have a cull of the human population or simply allow large areas of the poorer countries to starve.

We have pesticides and modern agriculture methods for one reason: cheap fossil fuels. Well, two reasons if you count the fact that they make large companies and the people who own them rich. The goal of industrial agriculture is not to feed people but make money. I pointed you to one source that explains this (which is really quite widely known now, I'm just rehashing stuff that many other people have written about at length and in great detail) and you said you already knew what I was talking about.

Similarly, we most likely will have to have a cull of the human population when fossil fuels run out (again, this has been written about at length elsewhere), but the reasons for that go beyond industrial agriculture. Suffice it to say that we already have large portions of the world starving or undernourished, yet much of the cultivated land (particularly in the US) is devoted to growing crops that are inedible to humans. Why? Because we have such huge surpluses of calories being produced here that the only way to make more money is to condense them into meat (at ratios of around 10 to 1) or processed foods that can be sold at higher prices. But you already knew all of this, right?

jennifer paige smith
05-31-2007, 11:09 AM
Hi Mike, thanks for the clarification. In my mind 'Fukuoka good, neolithic Frankenstein hippies bad, too. Application is everything and 'thinkers are not always 'doers'. Just like Aikido, you gotta roll up your sleeves and get down to the nitty-gritty .And like Ueshiba Sensei said, the perfect world is where science and spirit meet. That time is coming, for sure.

I'm very sure you would be relieved to read Fukuoak's own thought on organics as they are connected with yours. I would also agree that many people's takes on things are artificially seperated to no good purpose.

Thanks to Giancarlo for the links. I had one of 'em loaded up and ready to present myself. Glad you offered them. I've got another one I'll find and post later.

thanks

Ecosamurai
05-31-2007, 11:30 AM
But you already knew all of this, right?

Yup. Having spent a decade at University studying and researching it I feel confident saying I know something about this particular topic, though I am far from an expert.

Mike

Ecosamurai
05-31-2007, 11:33 AM
Advocated by whom?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Mike

Ecosamurai
05-31-2007, 11:37 AM
Hi Mike, thanks for the clarification.

No problem. Only reason I didn't read more of Fukuoka's stuff is that it would involve more procrastinating on aikiweb than is good for me while I'm writing up. Glad you started this thread though I shall refer back to it when I have more time. I've heard of a number of environmental projects that have aikido or aikidoka associated with them, given that I'm likely to be moving to my girlfriends parents farm when she and I get married next year I'm always interested in reading these things :)

Mike

jennifer paige smith
05-31-2007, 11:51 PM
Here is an aussie doing some awesome stuff. Fun video to watch.
http://www.youtube.com/p.swf?video_id=sohI6vnWZmk&eurl=http%3A//www.google.com/search%3Fclient%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26q%3Dgreening%2Bthe%2Bdesert%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8&iurl=http%3A//img.youtube.com/vi/sohI6vnWZmk/2.jpg&t=OEgsToPDskKxkwyVV4LiK4gPR0f1wt_T