Monday, 16 January 2017


"Drifting Clouds and the Illusion of Science"
I've been revisiting this wonderful book. It's partly about the practical aspects of a way of natural farming, about growing rice, other grains and clover in a rotation without ploughing or using chemicals. It is indeed revolutionary, not only are the yields just as high as in traditional Japanese farming but it also eliminates a lot of the work. Also, compared with chemical-industrial farming, Fukuoka's way continually improves the quality of the soil instead of degrading it.
But I think the even more important revolution that the book describes, in his charming style, is Fukuoka's internal journey. Moments of insight, the alienation from the modern industrial consumerist approach to life, the gradual deeper understanding of natural processes, all leading to a simple life looking after fields and orchards, growing and eating simple natural food.
 It's poignant that this book has been around since the 1970's - all my working life. Fukuoka's insights have been influential, widely read and talked about yet here's humankind still entangled in the terrible web of supermarket consumerism, cars and fossil fuel addiction and the shallow information of mass media, internet and TV; the harder we dig ourselves into the industrial way of life the harder it is to escape, the situation now so bad that we are endangering all life on the planet. I've understood all that for years, I helped friends on an organic small-holding way back in 1976, and have been actively looking about and living on ecological projects for ten years. Yet in all that time I've never found people living as naturally as Fukuoka and Ruth and I still use a car and get the bulk of our food from supermarkets...
Here's some of Fukuoka's last words, "There is nowhere better than this world. Years ago I realized that we human beings are good just as we are and I set about to enjoy my life. I took a carefree road back to nature, free from human knowledge and effort."