Masanobu Fukuoka (福岡 正信) (2 February 1913 – 16 August 2008) was a Japanese farmer and philosopher celebrated for hisnatural farming and re-vegetation of desertified lands. He was a proponent of no-till, no-herbicide grain cultivation farming methods traditional to many indigenous cultures, from which he created a particular method of farming, commonly referred to as “Natural Farming” or “Do-nothing Farming”.
Fukuoka was the author of several Japanese books, scientific papers and other publications, and was featured in television documentaries and interviews from the 1970s onwards. His influences went beyond farming to inspire individuals within the natural food and lifestyle movements. He was an outspoken advocate of the value of observing nature’s principles.
Fukuoka called his agricultural philosophy shizen nōhō (自然農法
?), most commonly translated into English as “natural farming”. It is also referred to as “the Fukuoka Method”, “the natural way of farming” or “Do-Nothing Farming”, despite being labor-intensive.
The system is based on the recognition of the complexity of living organisms that shape an ecosystem and deliberately exploiting it. Fukuoka saw farming not just as a means of producing food but as an aesthetic and spiritual approach to life, the ultimate goal of which was “the cultivation and perfection of human beings”.
The five principles of Natural Farming are that:
- human cultivation of soil, plowing or tilling are unnecessary, as is the use of powered machines
- prepared fertilizers are unnecessary, as is the process of preparing compost
- weeding, either by cultivation or by herbicides, is unnecessary. Instead only minimal weed suppression with minimal disturbance
- applications of pesticides or herbicides are unnecessary
- pruning of fruit trees is unnecessary