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Draft of the OVERVIEW

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  • Larry Haftl
    As if you didn t have enough to clog your inbox... here is a draft of the first part of a proposed Overview (spellchecked this time). If you have any
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 3, 2002
      As if you didn't have enough to clog your inbox... here is a draft
      of the first part of a proposed "Overview" (spellchecked this time).
      If you have any comments or suggestions please let me know. The
      second part will contain a brief description of Biointensive, Biodynamic,
      Organic, and Permaculture. If you think of any other method that
      should be described please let me know ASAP.

      Here is the proposed OVERVIEW, part 1.

      OVERVIEW OF THE FUKUOKA FARMING METHOD

      "The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,
      but the cultivation and perfection of human beings." - Masanobu Fukuoka


      The teachings of Masanobu Fukuoka can be viewed from two distinctly
      different perspectives.

      The first is to consider his teachings as a spiritual guide that
      uses farming (or gardening or agriculture) as a path that can lead
      to personal enlightenment. A spiritual perspective if you will. We
      will examine his teachings from this perspective in the "Philosophy"
      section of this website.

      The second perspective is to look at his teachings as an inspirational
      guide on how to grow food and fiber in an ecologically beneficial
      and sustainable way. That is what we will do in this section.

      Which perspective you choose to use is entirely up to you.


      The Fukuoka Farming Method in Today's World

      In this document, as in others on this website, the terms gardening,
      farming, and agriculture are used and considered to be, for our
      purposes, synonymous and interchangeable. It is the scale of implementation
      that actually differentiates them.

      Agriculture today is awash in terms, theories and practices that
      can be contradictory, complementary, misused, misunderstood, and
      generally confusing. To sort it all out and give you a useable picture
      of the Fukuoka Farming Method a little background, terribly generalized
      and simplistic, is needed.

      When humans gave up hunting and gathering and turned to agriculture
      to fill their bellies more than 8,000 years ago they started using
      sticks to scratch the soil and plant desirable seeds. Sticks eventually
      turned into plows. back and arm muscles were eventually supplemented
      by domesticated animals and then machines. When they ran out of plowable
      land they simply leveled nearby brushlands and forests using machetes,
      axes and fire, and then plowed and planted some more. This became
      the dominant agricultural model in almost all of the world, and still
      goes on today in some parts.

      At the end of World War II this model began to change, at least in
      "developed" and "developing" countries. Companies that used to sell
      synthetic chemicals to fight the war lost most of their market in
      1945. Rather than go out of business they switched to selling their
      chemicals to farmers by starting what they called the "Green Revolution.
      " By using synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides along with
      large and expensive machines to spread them (the tank and truck manufacturers
      didn't want to go out of business either) a new method of farming
      was developed that dramatically increased yields. Unfortunately,
      it also increased chemical contamination of the foods produced and
      depleted the soil's ability to support life and produce more food.


      Using chemical fertilizers was nothing new to farmers. Rock phosphates,
      bat guano, kelp and all the other things that are sold today as
      "organic" fertilizers have been used for centuries. But those were
      natural chemicals and natural ecosystems have a way of successfully
      coping with the things they make. The new chemicals were man-made
      concoctions that were either intensely concentrated natural chemicals
      or completely synthetic ones. This was something that natural ecosystems
      had a hard time dealing with and a lot of ecological damage was,
      and in some parts still is done.

      By the 1960s people were beginning to see and understand the ecological
      disasters brought on by this "Green Revolution" and began looking
      for a better way to grow things. They looked to the past and began
      to borrow or adapt farming practices from the pre-synthetic chemical
      era. What they found were practices used by indigenous people who
      hadn't taken up the plow. They found practices that could produce
      high yields of quality food from the same piece of land year after
      year without "wearing out" the soil. And they found the teachings
      of people like Sir Albert Howard, Jerome Rodale, Lady Eve Balfour,
      Ruth Stout, Masanobu Fukuoka, and others.

      What started out as a movement away from synthetic chemical agriculture
      has become a movement toward something more ecologically beneficial
      and sustainable. It has become a movement toward something which
      can be generally described as sustainable agriculture.


      What is Sustainable Agriculture?

      In general, it is a term used to describe the practice of producing
      food and fiber from a healthy living plant/soil ecosystem without
      the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides of any kind.

      In 1985 Andrew Kang Barlett wrote: "Sustainable agriculture cannot
      merely be a technical exercise in input substitution and appropriate
      technology; sustainable agriculture must be part of a social movement
      that spans the entire economic and social relations of society from
      credit to the health of the soil, from the seeds and inputs needed
      to the producers and their families, from those who distribute the
      food and the distance it travels, to the demands and health of the
      consumers."

      One of the first definitions of sustainable agriculture adopted in
      the US was published by the American Society of Agronomy [1989, pg.
      15]:
      "A sustainable agriculture is one that, over the long term, enhances
      environmental quality and the resource base on which agriculture
      depends; provides for basic human food and fiber needs; is economically
      viable; and enhances the quality of life for farmers and society
      as a whole."
      In 1990 the US Congress passed a farm bill that defined the term
      sustainable agriculture as an integrated system of plant and animal
      production practices having a site-specific application that over
      the long term will:
      „h Satisfy human food and fiber needs.
      „h Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon
      which the agricultural economy depends.
      „h Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm
      resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles
      and controls.
      „h Sustain the economic viability of farm operations.
      „h Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

      By the time the U.S. Congress finally got around to passing that
      bill and "officially" defining sustainable agriculture, many farmers
      in the U.S. and around the world had already begun to practice methods
      that met or exceeded the definition's requirements.

      While there is general agreement about the goals and worthiness of
      sustainable agriculture, approaches to actually implementing it differ
      significantly. Several methods are currently being used to achieve
      those goals and more. The following list of methods is not complete
      but does contain the most common methods currently being discussed
      and used.

      That's it for now...

      Larry Haftl
      larry@...
      http://larryhaftl.com/fukuoka
      http://FukuokaNaturalFarming.org
    • Robert Monie
      Hi Larry, First, I agree that the closing remarks about Fukuoka s family continuing to run his farm are best omitted, if the only alternatives are either to
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 3, 2002
        Hi Larry,
        First, I agree that the closing remarks about Fukuoka's family continuing to run his farm are best omitted, if the only alternatives are either to falsely imply that they continue his methods or to rebuke them because they fail to do so. Here, Aristole's "golden mean" does not seem achievable, except in silence. Better to say nothing than to say one of two equally unacceptable things.
        On the draft of the "Overview": Your historical, evolutional approach to Fukuoka is right on target. You show where the human race has been, the mistakes they have made, and the paths they are now taking to correct them and reconnect with nature. Your account is balanced and sane.
        Some editorial comments: Capitalize "back," in "back and arm muscles were eventually supplemented...."
        The sentence "This was something that natural ecosystems had a hard time dealing with and a lot of ecological damage was and in some parts still is done" needs to be refocused; some phrase should explain what substantive the word "parts" refers to.
        Maybe "This was something that natural ecosystems had a hard time dealing with; a lot of ecological damage was, and in some parts of the world, still is done by this method.
        or
        "This was something that natural ecosystems had a hard time dealing with--a lot of ecological damage was done, and in some parts of the world, still is done by this method."
        or
        "This was something that natural ecosystems had a hard time dealing with. Such artificial chemical methods did great ecological damage and continue to do so today in some parts of the world."
        One more tag (if someone hasn't already suggested it ): "Living Mulch."
        Your recent discussion of planting fruit trees close together suggests the biointensive method of Chadwick, Jeavons, et al. in planting veggies close together. It also brings up the question of whether "forest farming" is emerging as a category of sustainable agriculture separate from permaculture. I'm not sure, but there seems to be some movement toward making forest farming a virtually "no-input" system. The publishing house Chelesa Green has a couple of people working on a book about this direction in forest farming. Jamie's concerns about the non-sustainablilty of using dwarf trees are legitmate. But does anybody know if one day dwarf trees might become fully "naturalized." Are complete, self-sustaining systems of "dwarf forests" impossible?
        Bob Monie
        Larry Haftl wrote:As if you didn't have enough to clog your inbox... here is a draft
        of the first part of a proposed "Overview" (spellchecked this time).
        If you have any comments or suggestions please let me know. The
        second part will contain a brief description of Biointensive, Biodynamic,
        Organic, and Permaculture. If you think of any other method that
        should be described please let me know ASAP.

        Here is the proposed OVERVIEW, part 1.

        OVERVIEW OF THE FUKUOKA FARMING METHOD

        "The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,
        but the cultivation and perfection of human beings." - Masanobu Fukuoka


        The teachings of Masanobu Fukuoka can be viewed from two distinctly
        different perspectives.

        The first is to consider his teachings as a spiritual guide that
        uses farming (or gardening or agriculture) as a path that can lead
        to personal enlightenment. A spiritual perspective if you will. We
        will examine his teachings from this perspective in the "Philosophy"
        section of this website.

        The second perspective is to look at his teachings as an inspirational
        guide on how to grow food and fiber in an ecologically beneficial
        and sustainable way. That is what we will do in this section.

        Which perspective you choose to use is entirely up to you.


        The Fukuoka Farming Method in Today's World

        In this document, as in others on this website, the terms gardening,
        farming, and agriculture are used and considered to be, for our
        purposes, synonymous and interchangeable. It is the scale of implementation
        that actually differentiates them.

        Agriculture today is awash in terms, theories and practices that
        can be contradictory, complementary, misused, misunderstood, and
        generally confusing. To sort it all out and give you a useable picture
        of the Fukuoka Farming Method a little background, terribly generalized
        and simplistic, is needed.

        When humans gave up hunting and gathering and turned to agriculture
        to fill their bellies more than 8,000 years ago they started using
        sticks to scratch the soil and plant desirable seeds. Sticks eventually
        turned into plows. back and arm muscles were eventually supplemented
        by domesticated animals and then machines. When they ran out of plowable
        land they simply leveled nearby brushlands and forests using machetes,
        axes and fire, and then plowed and planted some more. This became
        the dominant agricultural model in almost all of the world, and still
        goes on today in some parts.

        At the end of World War II this model began to change, at least in
        "developed" and "developing" countries. Companies that used to sell
        synthetic chemicals to fight the war lost most of their market in
        1945. Rather than go out of business they switched to selling their
        chemicals to farmers by starting what they called the "Green Revolution.
        " By using synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides along with
        large and expensive machines to spread them (the tank and truck manufacturers
        didn't want to go out of business either) a new method of farming
        was developed that dramatically increased yields. Unfortunately,
        it also increased chemical contamination of the foods produced and
        depleted the soil's ability to support life and produce more food.


        Using chemical fertilizers was nothing new to farmers. Rock phosphates,
        bat guano, kelp and all the other things that are sold today as
        "organic" fertilizers have been used for centuries. But those were
        natural chemicals and natural ecosystems have a way of successfully
        coping with the things they make. The new chemicals were man-made
        concoctions that were either intensely concentrated natural chemicals
        or completely synthetic ones. This was something that natural ecosystems
        had a hard time dealing with and a lot of ecological damage was,
        and in some parts still is done.

        By the 1960s people were beginning to see and understand the ecological
        disasters brought on by this "Green Revolution" and began looking
        for a better way to grow things. They looked to the past and began
        to borrow or adapt farming practices from the pre-synthetic chemical
        era. What they found were practices used by indigenous people who
        hadn't taken up the plow. They found practices that could produce
        high yields of quality food from the same piece of land year after
        year without "wearing out" the soil. And they found the teachings
        of people like Sir Albert Howard, Jerome Rodale, Lady Eve Balfour,
        Ruth Stout, Masanobu Fukuoka, and others.

        What started out as a movement away from synthetic chemical agriculture
        has become a movement toward something more ecologically beneficial
        and sustainable. It has become a movement toward something which
        can be generally described as sustainable agriculture.


        What is Sustainable Agriculture?

        In general, it is a term used to describe the practice of producing
        food and fiber from a healthy living plant/soil ecosystem without
        the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides of any kind.

        In 1985 Andrew Kang Barlett wrote: "Sustainable agriculture cannot
        merely be a technical exercise in input substitution and appropriate
        technology; sustainable agriculture must be part of a social movement
        that spans the entire economic and social relations of society from
        credit to the health of the soil, from the seeds and inputs needed
        to the producers and their families, from those who distribute the
        food and the distance it travels, to the demands and health of the
        consumers."

        One of the first definitions of sustainable agriculture adopted in
        the US was published by the American Society of Agronomy [1989, pg.
        15]:
        "A sustainable agriculture is one that, over the long term, enhances
        environmental quality and the resource base on which agriculture
        depends; provides for basic human food and fiber needs; is economically
        viable; and enhances the quality of life for farmers and society
        as a whole."
        In 1990 the US Congress passed a farm bill that defined the term
        sustainable agriculture as an integrated system of plant and animal
        production practices having a site-specific application that over
        the long term will:
        �h Satisfy human food and fiber needs.
        �h Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon
        which the agricultural economy depends.
        �h Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm
        resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles
        and controls.
        �h Sustain the economic viability of farm operations.
        �h Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

        By the time the U.S. Congress finally got around to passing that
        bill and "officially" defining sustainable agriculture, many farmers
        in the U.S. and around the world had already begun to practice methods
        that met or exceeded the definition's requirements.

        While there is general agreement about the goals and worthiness of
        sustainable agriculture, approaches to actually implementing it differ
        significantly. Several methods are currently being used to achieve
        those goals and more. The following list of methods is not complete
        but does contain the most common methods currently being discussed
        and used.

        That's it for now...

        Larry Haftl
        larry@...
        http://larryhaftl.com/fukuoka
        http://FukuokaNaturalFarming.org








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      • Larry Haftl
        ... because ... achievable, ... equally ... I have a sign over my compter screen that says, Make your words tender and choice because you KNOW it s only a
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 3, 2002
          At Thursday, 3 October 2002, Robert Monie wrote:

          >Hi Larry,
          >First, I agree that the closing remarks about Fukuoka's family continuing

          >to run his farm are best omitted, if the only alternatives are either
          >to falsely imply that they continue his methods or to rebuke them
          because
          >they fail to do so. Here, Aristole's "golden mean" does not seem
          achievable,
          >except in silence. Better to say nothing than to say one of two
          equally
          >unacceptable things.

          I have a sign over my compter screen that says, "Make your words
          tender and choice because you KNOW it's only a matter of time before
          you will have to eat them."

          Thanks for the edits. I'll incorporate them later today or tomorrow.
          Also noted the keyword.

          Larry Haftl
          larry@...
          http://larryhaftl.com/fukuoka
          http://FukuokaNaturalFarming.org
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