Masanobu Fukuoka’s book, “The One-Straw Revolution,” caused a worldwide sensation when it was first published. His philosophy and principles, unconstrained by preconceptions or established practices, struck a chord with readers, encouraging many of them to come to visit his farm. The book was published during an era of worldwide economic growth and progress, symbolized by consumerism and the notion of satisfaction from material things. By contrast, his book was a guide to the pursuit of spiritual rather than materialistic fulfilment. Masanobu believed that his farm should serve as a ray of light against the backdrop of the times.
Based on Fukuoka’s original principles, our commitment is to agricultural produce carefully grown by hand, engaging respectfully with nature and sincere in our interactions with consumers. The products may sometimes look a little irregular, or seem slightly misshapen, but we believe this is the essence of being human. Our farm’s ethos is simple honesty: we will never mislead consumers or try to influence the course of nature itself.
However distorted and chaotic the world may seem, nature remains unchanged, the purity of mountains and rivers harking back to their original state in times gone by. Large rivers are formed from little drops, and the countryside all around is created anew. The relay of life goes on. Masanobu’s sons, Masato and Hiroki, now oversee the farm. It aspires to be one of the little drops in the large river, full of the spiritual purity of the Ehime countryside, unchanged from day to day.
This is the essence of the Fukuoka Natural Farm.
I was born in 1973 and grew up as one of the next generation of a farming family. In my adolescent years I became increasingly interested in environmental issues and the philosophy of nature and humanity. This inspired me to learn more about my family’s natural farming practices and techniques, as I prepared to inherit the family business myself one day.
After my student life, I went off to discover more about the world. My father said to me, “I’d like to see you back here by the time you’re 30.” However, what I really wanted to do was start putting into practice everything that I had learned about farming and agriculture. So I ended up taking over the farm when I was 25 years old.
- Fukuoka Natural Farm
History of Masanobu Fukuoka Natural Farm
Masanobu Fukuoka’s father, Kameichi, was a local leader and landowner before the war, who served as the village mayor. After completing his studies at university, he worked in the Yokohama Customs Office in the quarantine department. However, during this time he became seriously ill and was so sick at one point that he nearly died. The experience had a profound impact on his subsequent life. He came to realize that “There is nothing in this world.” This view formed the basis of his “theory of Mu” (theory of nothingness), the notion that “Anything that humans do is in vain.”
Masanobu was motivated to return home to demonstrate his thinking and to advocate his “natural farming” approach by putting his philosophy into practice in the fields.
He encouraged the study of natural farming based on “No tilling, no weeding, and no pesticides.” This ran counter to trends in modern agriculture at the time with its emphasis on speed and rapid growth. His focus and commitment to his research on natural farming meant that the family business had to struggle with the problems caused by inconsistent yields and harvests.
When Masanobu’s son, Masato, took over he stayed true to the natural farming methods advocated by his father and, using these practices as a base, explored how he could successfully establish the farm as a viable business with stable production and sales, but without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
The farm is now run by Hiroki. He remains committed to stability and consistency in the business, while exploring natural farming and his father’s “theory of nothingness” for himself to help future generations to practice farming in this way.