Why not Organic?
- Hello everyone, Napi asks the question "What is a bridge-building definition
of what is so harmful about the beloved term organic, that could be used to
cross many gaps?" which Gloria answers perfectly with "What I was referring
to in my previous post is that most of the folks on the other list have only
exchanged the amendments continuing to garden in the same old way. Chemical
amendments become organic amendments. I am trying to challenge them to do
more.....to look beyond that small box."
I recognise from its constant use that the phrase 'looking outside the box'
has become the common way in the US for characterising someone as being
hidebound to an old or small world view - and I'll admit it is rhetorically
effective. However, we are all constrained by our boxes and I suspect they
are all quite small. One of the positive advantages of Fukuoka's
'Japaneseness', his non-western worldview/zeitgeist, is that he offers
another box with which we can judge the boundaries of our own. These are his
words taken from near the end of 'The Road Back to nature' (page 362/3)
under the sub-heading 'Making the Change from Organic to Natural Farming':
"With the continuing input of corporate capital, American agriculture will
probably go on growing even larger in scale. At the same time, advances from
organic gardening to natural farming are likely to continue to be made by
people with a proclivity toward natural methods. The problem, however, is
that most people do not yet understand the distinction between organic
gardening and natural farming. both scientific agriculture and organic
farming are basically scientific in their approach. The boundary between the
two is not clear.
...The way I see it, and perhaps I am biased, the only way is to follow the
road to nature as perceived from afar. In so doing, techniques that surpass
mere technology will be established. That is my view.
Although there are still many different forms and names for it, it is clear
that my 'green philosophy' serves as a foundation.
It is certainly fine to gradually move from organic farming toward an
anti-scientific way of farming, to aim for a sustainable and permanent
method of farming, or to attempt to return to nature while enjoying life on
a designed farm. However, this must be more than a narrow technique; nor
should it be adopted merely as a passing fad. The thinking and outlook of
natural philosophy must be at the core of any successful effort to establish
a form of farming that would become a truly permanent Great Way of
My gloss on Fukuoka's words (and 'gloss' should be seen as merely an older
form of modern 'spin', all writing is, after all, rhetoric) would be: it is
not necessarily what you do as long as you hold to natural philosophy as
with each passing season and each passing year you will continue to learn
and this will help you further along the path. It is for this reason that
natural agriculture based on natural/green philosophy (expressed most fully
in 'The Natural Way of Farming') must not be considered as a fad to be
picked up and then set down at the first setback. Natural Farming is a
lifelong commitment, a reverence, an openness, to the natural world that not
only supports us but is us.