I'm most of the way through "One Straw Revolution", and I'm noticing lots of places where Mr. Fukuoka drops hints that he kept fairly detailed quantitative records of his planting and harvesting. Did he ever publish any records of his experiments in the scientific literature?
What you want is Fukuoka's "Natural Farming" or "The Natural Way of Farming" it is as close to a technical book as I think Fukuoka gets. A Google search followed by "pdf" should yield a digital copy for download.
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posted 6 years ago
Thank you for the suggestion. I have now looked, but didn't see any quantitative results. When an author begins a book with stories showing his scientific credentials, uses the language of science (in several places), and then declines to show any results, he puts himself in dubious company.
Masanobu Fukuoka is by no means 'in dubious company'. Educate yourself more on the man, his genius, and the long-lasting traditions his work has fostered. Fukuoka farming is alive and thriving in many parts of Japan, and it speaks very poorly of one to criticize him without understanding his vast contribution to sustainable farming. Fukuoka is a genius for the ages, maybe just not for America.
Challenge accepted. Educating myself is my goal. Web searching has been unsuccessful -- I found two documents on the subject on the entire Web that contain a table of numbers. One is from "Natural Method", comparing energy inputs at an order-of-magnitude level. The other is from an orchard in India, which takes a step towards measuring what I'm interested in, but with soils and crops that don't translate to my conditions.
So I'm still looking for a researcher who's quantified the results of using Fukuoka's methods. Whom would you suggest as a source?
He didn't really criticize the man, he made an extremely accurate statement regarding the degradation of one's credibility that occurs when one fails to produce quantitative data supporting one's conclusions; that's how science works—it's not the reader's responsibility to seek the proof, it's the author's to provide it.
No one is saying his methods are bad or don't work, but the criticism stands regarding the work in question.
The person you are looking for is most likely Larry Korn, who worked on Fukuoka-san's farm, translated his books, and has been a major figure in spreading the One-Straw Revolution in the West. Larry makes himself available through his website, where you can also find an email address.
I would add that in all of Fukuoka's books, you see him deeply questioning mainstream science- look for phrases like "discriminating knowledge". Because Fukuoka had esentially achieved enlightenment, he was beyond a scientific/material understanding of farming and nature, and that holistic understanding is the absolute basis of his work in natural farming. So while he did record yields, he was most definitely NOT operating an agricultural research station. Think of it this way- he wasn't conducting an experiment. He wasn't doing double-blind, controlled trials of his methods. He so deeply understood the correct way to work with nature that he just farmed, and you can believe him or not when you read the results he reports.
This is one of the difficulties with Natural Farming- replicability. There are many people practicing Fukuoka Farming, but it's not a method that you can just call up your Extension Agent and get advice on.
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