Article in Sedona Red Rock News, November 29, 1996, by John Cowan
A Japanese farmer, Mansanobu Fukuoka, has developed a new type of natural farming that he calls "do-nothing farming". Despite the name, it took him 50 years of research to perfect his technique, which is based upon doing as little as possible to grow crops. He maintains that Nature is really the best farmer, and given just a little assistance, can provide a great bounty equal to high-tech energy-intensive methods anywhere in the world. Some of his radical techniques include:
- growing rice and clover at the same time - the clover enriches the soil and protects the small rice seedlings;
- encasing seeds in clay pellets - the clay eventually dissolves but in the meantime protects the seeds from birds and rodents;
- never pruning his citrus trees - by growing his trees from seed, he found the trees developed a naturally-efficient central leader branching system.
He also found that he could double crop with the same ground - barley or wheat in winter and rice in summer - while not even plowing the fields and providing only minimal irrigation. To help the process, he developed a variety of low-maintenance rice called Happy Hill. He has also developed a method of intensively fertilizing the land using poultry manure at the rate of about 3,000 pounds per acre. Although his methods have been criticized, the fact that he consistently manages to achieve the best yields in the country is his testimonial. His book, The Natural Way of Farming: The Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy, details his techniques and philosophy.