• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Fukuoka Style Farms in Japan  RSS feed

 
Andrew Yansen
Posts: 10
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA Zone 8b
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Larry, thank you for coming out to the forums, and thank you so much for all your work in bringing Fukuoka-style natural farming into the English speaking world.

I'm not sure if you have continued to be involved in the natural farming movement in Japan much, but I was wondering if you are aware of any Japanese natural farmers still in practice who follow Fukuoka's methods and philosophy closely, or was Fukuoka's orchard really a one time phenomenon?

I know there are many natural farmers in Japan now, but so many of them are more Kawaguchi style, or EMS microorganism "natural farming" or just a member of one of many other organizations that refers to themselves as "natural farming". After reading Wara Ippon, I searched for a place in Japan doing work like Fukuoka's where I could learn, and after much fruitful searching ended up spending some time working at an ecovillage in Japan that professes to follow "shizennouhou," but their idea of natural farming was little more than your standard organic farming with lots of EMS usage. When I asked them about their thoughts on Fukuoka, most of them felt that he had a nice idea and had been a big influence, but that his work had been mostly a failed experiment and that their form of "natural farming" was much more successful and realistic.

So, to expand my question, do you still see straight Fukuoka-style shizennou as a valid method of farming now, or would you also say that it has been surpassed by these other movements and should be seen more as a source of inspiration than a practical idea?
 
larry korn
Author
Posts: 118
Location: Ashland, Oregon
25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Andrew, Shizen noo-hoo in Japanese simply means natural farming. For me, creating the special microbial application the group you mentioned and using it to get better yields is the same old thing. On one level, industrial farming and organic farming are the same since they both proceed from the basic question, "How can I get what I want from nature." The industrial guys think using chemicals is best while the organic farmers think that in the long run using organic techniques is better. When that fellow said that they eventually found that using their organic technique worked better for them I think it was because they are limited in their capacity to let go. Fukuoka approached it from a completely different perspective. He said that a farmer should first ask the question, "What does the land need." In most cases the land has been damaged in some way so the early stages involve rehabilitation. "Simply serve nature and all is well" is another way of saying it. The idea is to form a partnership with nature and letting nature take the lead. Using this point of view Fukuoka-san got yields of rice equal to and greater than the most productive farms in Japan. That's without using chemicals or machinery, creating no pollution and the soil improved in fertility with each year. He also shipped out 200,000 lbs. of Mandarine oranges each year. That's without any special microbial booster. That sounds like tinkering to me. It's saying, "Humans know better...we can improve upon nature."

I haven't been back to Japan since 1975 so I am a little out of touch with what is going on there. Several people who were students at his farm while I was there are practicing what they learned from Sensei, but they are not interested in giving tours or anything like that. Sorry I can't be of help there.
 
Andrew Yansen
Posts: 10
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA Zone 8b
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for the thoughtful response Larry.
I've also found that many farmers seem unwilling to let go of their ideas of typical organic farming and accept Fukuoka's teachings or permaculture concepts as anything more than just an "interesting idea." The lack of other existing successful Fukuoka-esque farms doesn't help either.
If I do find any particularly inspiring examples in my further explorations of Japan I'll make sure to update you on them.
 
matt davey
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Andrew,

There appears to be quite a lot of natural farming activity here in Fukuoka prefecture (co-incidence?)

http://itoaguri.jp/agriculture/

I'm going to go visit a few of these people once it warms up a bit.

Also this guy:

http://www.oishi-farm.com/oishifarm.html

...

further up North, on Izu peninsula, this couple would be well worth looking into:

http://shikigami.net/about_english.html

 
Andrew Yansen
Posts: 10
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA Zone 8b
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the ideas Matt!

I actually spent a week with Dion last fall at Shikigami - they're doing some amazing stuff out there.

Do you happen to keep any sort of blog? I'd love to hear what your experiences are like at the other two farms you linked too.

I've found it can be hard to tell from website exactly what kind of natural farming a farm subscribes to. For example, this farm:
http://ureshipa.com/about/about_ureshipa.htm
It's apparently a really great place and they are really into their natural farming ethic, but according to Dion they are members of this natural farming network where you basically pay and buy certain products in order to be a natural farm. It sounds like there are a lot of farms in this network as well, but the idea of using certain "natural farming" techniques and certain "natural farming" products seems to be going against the whole philosophy of Fukuoka's natural farming in the first place.
 
matt davey
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Andrew,

I don't keep a blog, but i just PM'd you my contact details, and i'd be very happy to keep in touch.

The 'natural farming network' you're talking about sounds like it might be "Sekai Kyusei Kyo", it's actually something of a 'religion':

http://www.izunome.jp/en/izunome/

I dunno much, i just stick to myself and have good neighbours, but i have been reading up on a few things lately, and will maybe visit a few places this year.
 
matt davey
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll try to dig out the videos i found about this guy here in Itoshima, Fukuoka. From what i saw, he was just a salaryman that decided to give that all up and do his natural farm. It didn't look particularly like he was affiliated with any organisation like that.

But yeah, i'm def gonna try to see a few places this year, so please do keep in touch.
 
Brett Fry
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey guys,
I've been living in Japan for a bit now and have also been on a search for Fukuoka inspired farms - but have yet to find any. I did a bit of Wwoofing some years back and we searched out and visited those farms that practiced natural farming (none of the farms in the Japan WWOOF directory even mentioned Fukuoka-san). We did find some nice farms but the methods and principles weren't quite what we were looking for.

I've been growing Fukuoka's Happy Hill rice for four years ago and have tried unsuccessfully to duplicate his methods. After the first two years I felt that I had learned enough to possibly have a chance of success but each year some random problem would arise and wipe out the crop. I would agree that the few Japanese who know of Fukuoka-san believe that his methods are too difficult to replicate and prefer to follow Kawaguchi-san.

There is a farmer near Fukuoka city, Takao Furuno, who has developed a very effective, permaculture-like system of duck, fish, and rice farming. Although he uses machines his methods are duplicable without. His runs a very successful farming business and his ideas have spread into parts of Asia.

Also, this film looks like it will be worth watching http://finalstraw.sociecity.com/index.html
 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So excited about this film. Thanks for sharing!
 
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you - Fred Rogers. Tiny ad:
FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!