Larry begins by talking about the time that Bill Mollison (the inventor of permaculture) first met Fukuoka. He also relays the stories of Fukuoka's experiences in the USA. Larry said he was quite shocked by agriculture in America and how so many people were so disconnected with nature. He discusses how Fukuoka experienced problems with his family understanding his vision. Like most people at the time, they thought he was pretty crazy and wanted to live just a normal Japanese village life.
Paul and Larry spend some time discussing the differences between natural farming, organic farming, and conventional farming. They touch upon how each of these have radically different relationships with nature. Paul then talks a bit about how Fukuoka and sepp holzer's works are so similar. They then get into the details of growing trees from seeds and how Fukuoka felt about it. Spoiler, he loves it. Larry emphasizes how Fukuoka tried to let nature communicate with him rather than using his human mind to make decisions in agriculture.
Larry: Turn this thing on.
Paul: Alright so where, where was that? Say, say it again. Where was that?
Larry: Okay. I was talking about the first time that Masanubo Fukuoka and Bill Mollison met and it was at Briden Bush Hot Springs in around 1983 or 1984. And they met together for about an hour at one of the cabins and chatted. I had already given Fukuoka some background about permaculture and about who Bill was and what the purpose. We were on our way to the second International Permaculture Convergence. It was at Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington. And it's interesting that the second, first one of course was held in Australia where permaculture originated and the second one right here in the Pacific Northwest. It shows you what a special place that the Pacific Northwest has in the development of permaculture world wide.
Paul: We're just that cool!
Larry: You know there's a lot of reasons we're cool. There are a lot of creative people here willing to try new things, open to new things. There was also the Tilt Network was here so this information got easily disseminated and because the conditions were so conducive to premaculture and when you create and try to put this in practice well with all the rain fall and mild temperatures you get results more quickly. Things happen a lot more quickly than in average places. So everything was right for permaculture to come to the Northwest. So when the conversation finally came, Bill did most of the talking about that part of permaculture which is probably the farthest from Fukuoka's form of farming which is the earth works part. We're talking about using tractors and front end loaders to build damns and keyline stuff. And it was all about using heavy experiment so different from Fukuoka's experience on small land, small scale using hand tools and so it was just funny, it was just funny. I can't say that's a good thing or a bad thing, it just was. And afterwards Fukuoka was scratching his head and going "Boy, if that's permaculture, I'm not sure what I'm doing here."
Paul: So he came to the United States to hear about permaculture or what?
Larry: No, he came to the United States, that was his second trip. The first trip was right after One Straw Revolution was published, which was '78, he came in '79 at the invitation of Herman Aihara who was a microbiotic fellow. He and his wife had a place in Oroville, California where they talked macrobiotics, cooking and so forth and to Herman and to Mitchio Kushi, the main macrobiotic teacher in the United States at that time who was in Boston with an institute with his wife. The macrobiotics think that Fukuoka is the only person that's growing food correctly and according to the principles of macrobiotics. He's like a star to that, in that world. So they invited him to come to the United States and he came and we toured around the Northwest and all over California and we went to Massachusetts, we went to the summer camp that was on Amherst, Massachusetts that Mitchio Kushi was doing. So he wanted to see about the American farming and he was frankly shocked when he saw the condition of the land, especially California which he took one look at and said "Oh my god what were they doing here.", "You know you're turning this place into a desert. " You know, and wherever he went, except perhaps, okay, the Olympic Mountains, when he went to the rain forest in the Olympics, he said "Oh now I feel like now I'm home". But, 95% of the land has been already, has felt the effect of human activity. Let's say, in a place like California where it's more fragile because of the rain fall situation. It's turning into a desert faster than it is Oregon and Washington but we're on the same road.
Paul: Now the thing, my question is what little I know. And I wasn't there and you were there. Is that, one of the things that was probably the most offensive to him was the American lawn. There'd be, I mean basically be this monocrop Chem lawn and nothing else growing there, only lawn. And then, the general concept, I would guess, landscaping. So these were offensive things, you know.
Larry: They were. On the large scale, what he was offended by was agriculture, the plowing and monoculture and also the cutting too many trees and raising too many animals. These were the main things that is turning California into a desert. But with landscaping, you got it just right. You can refer to lawns as artificial green or green concrete because it's like paving over what nature is trying to do there.
Paul: Right. Weeds popping up on the lawn, that's nature trying to do her nature thing.
Larry: His idea about eco terrorism, you put seeds of mustard and clover and dandelions in your pocket with a little tiny whole and then walk around on the golf courses.
Larry: And He said to pay special attention to the really smooth area near the flags.
Larry: To him, tell you one funny story about Los Angeles. When he'd left to go back to Japan after his first trip, we were in the airport and he said "Larry, thank you above all for bringing me to Los Angeles." "Sensei, what do you mean, you know, we went to Olympic Mountains, we visited all these farms, we went to all these beautiful places." And he said,"Well, I never dreamed that people could possibly be this out of touch with nature." And he was mainly referring to this one woman that topped it of was this one woman. He's very friendly, Fukuoka loved talking to people and he wanted to know everything about you and he didn't care if you were necessarily a farmer or an artistian or if you worked on a café. So anyway, he was talking to this one woman and he said, he asked her, "Well you know there's like 14 million people living in the greater Los Angeles area, essentially a desert, how does it feel to live in a place where it rained so little?" And she answered him. "Oh I hate it when it rains, it's so inconvenient." And he thought that was the ultimate, you know, somebody's living...When we came in, we flew from Boston to Los Angeles and we took the route the took us over Texas and New Mexico and desert, desert, desert for hours and desert, desert and all of a sudden Los Angeles. My parents picked us up in the airport and we decided to drive back not on freeway but through Beverly Hills and Brentwood and the fancy part of town. He was looking out the window and going "Osoroshi this is horrible, look not only did they move to the desert but they put in tropical plants and ferns and lawns that require extra water." So he was aware of all of that but then his wife was looking at the window on the other side and going "Moshirashi, means wonderful." And she thinks, look what people have done. All these people move to the desert and look what a beautiful environment they've manage to make for themselves.
Paul: Hahaha...(laughing) Let's move here!
Larry: Or let's make it pleasant for us. So she was very much the average, you know, seeing the world according to the way the average Japanese person does.
Paul: Fukuoka's wife kinda not on the whole natural farming..
Larry: She was not. She was just a typical a person. They met through an arranged marriage and he pretty much lived, you know, he was driven by this vision that he had. He was in his mid-twenties. All he wanted to do was to show, explain to people how his idea could be a real practical value to humanity. He was driven by that thought everyday. His family was not. His family, they lived in the village and wanted to live like typical Japanese and he spent all his time working on these experiments and living in a hut in the orchard while they grew up in the village, in the house in the village and frankly they still hold a grudge about the fact that he neglected them. The kids grew up with essentially an absent...
Paul: There father.
Paul: But even though their father was absentee, they preferred the village than going at, you know, they kind of think that their dad was a bit nuts?
Larry: I think almost everybody did in his village.
Paul: And now, that years had passed and he's been reverred as a genius.
Larry: What happened was, you know, Japan was not the most fertile ground for his ideas to spread. People in Japan will all do things together and their mission as far as agriculture is to follow the program that the agricultural coop, you know that every village every county has a government agency which tells the farmers what they're gonna plant that year, on what date, and when everything's gonna happen and how much fertilizer to use and so forth. Everybody follows the program. And Fukuoka's ideas seem to be a step backwards in a way. It's like going back. Oh we don't wanna farm the old way and we can't get yield so is the constant thing and we could never get yield. But they remembered when he was experimenting. He did have some years that were lean, sometimes when he only got 40-50% yield and people would sort of laugh at him. And say, you can't even grow rice, the simplest thing in the world. But by the time I went to his farm in the mid 70's he had already been practicing natural farming for more than 25 years and he pretty much worked out the rotation so that his yield were the same or greater than his neighbor's yields. And, he grew rice. You know the productivity of a farm in Japan is judge by the yield of rice. So, that's on that basis the gold standard, how much rice can you grow per quarter acre.
Paul: I wanna stop you and make something absolutely clear because for all the stuff I put out I get the naysayer, poopy pants people and poking holes in things so I just wanna make absolutely clear. First, his rice production per acre will equal to or greater than his neighbors, which were using conventional techniques including synthetic pesticides.
Larry: That's right.
Paul: Okay. And then, on top of that he also produced, on the exact same land, a crop of barley.
Larry: That's correct
Paul: Notice how I had to be very clear? You know why I said that?
Larry: Yes, but I was there, I saw, it was just obvious. That his yield were,
Paul: You can look at the crop next door
Larry: And you can see.
Paul: Did you line up on the fence and say nener nener? Or the Japanese approach to that? Did you moon them maybe?
Larry: (laughing )Maybe in private while we were dancing around the campfire, but not in the village.
Paul: That would probably be inappropriate.
Larry: Let me finish your thought because this is perhaps the main point. So Fukuoka had the idea, his inspiration, he tried to explain it to other people and they couldn't understand what he was talking about and he decided the only way, what he would do was to go back to his farm, his father's farm which he inherited, apply this way of thinking to agriculture to show it's practical usefulness. So, 25 years later, he proved it because he's getting yield of rice that were equal, plus his getting an entire crop of barley. And he's not using chemicals, he's not using tractors, therefore you don't need the factory to make the tractors and you don't need the fossil fuel and you don't need the herbicides and the pesticides. And here's the kicker, he's also building up equity because the condition of his soil is actually improving every year. And the neighbors' condition of the soil is going downhill. So besides just the yield, it's actually more than that, getting yield and other wise.
Paul: Now, now maybe as you eat through your breakfast, then I'll go on my little thing that I like about that particular tidbit of information is that I hear from people who are waving their eco flag long and hard and proud and they tell me that "Boy, damn it, it sure sucks if we all push over towards the organic, that three quarters of the worlds population would starve to death." So you can't embrace organic for everybody because it will lead to a lot of dead people. I might even be on the dead people list. And to me it's like man you are not just familiar with the works of Masanobu Fukuoka cause rice is one of the biggest staples in the world. And so if nothing else, here's a guy, he's not just organic, he's way, way beyond what people call organic. And on top of that not only has he got higher production of rice per acre but he also pulling a second crop out of the same land each year. So I mean, I don't know, maybe one, even say something like he's got double, we can double the population of the world with Fukuoka's techniques and feed more people. But the important part is that we can be, or you know, organic techniques can feed the world better than conventional techniques. Okay so now.
Larry: One thing about, one time I had been farming for about two years on an agricultural kind of commune in the mountains North of Kyoto we were using the organic practices that they use in Japan all the way to World War II. No chemicals and so forth but we were still plowing and doing cover crops and things like that. So about two months after I came to Fukuoka's place I asked, I was kind of proud that we were organic and there wasn't much organic going on there so I asked him what he thought about organic farming, "That's a good thing don't you think?" that's the way I asked him. And he talked for a minute and he looked at me and he said, "Okay, let me put it this way, chemical farming, industrial farming is like the left hand and organic farming is the right hand. Natural farming has nothing to do with either one. "
Larry: And he said, "It's because they both wanna make use of nature strictly for human benefit and at the same mind set, it shows the organic farmer thinks that it's more practical and handier to use organic materials and the other guy's the chemical materials but it still comes from the same mind set.
Paul: So my rap interpretation of that is that one technique completely rapes nature and then Fukuoka's techniques is more like, is going to give nature a little boost like everything is basically nature's way of doing things but he goes there and makes minor little tweaks here and there and nature therefore enjoys it and sings.
Larry: One of the wonderful uses of natural farming is Fukuoka's practice that it's rehabilitation technique. The goal is to undo the damage that people have done and so nature has the ability to do what it does so well which is be itself and people can just, once nature, just go along for the ride. People can approve upon nature, every time we try to do that there's a side effect because our brain are in a way we analyze, the way we see the world is, it's incomplete. it's not anything like us. We don't understand anything, really and so with our limited intellect we try to use nature for our benefit and the only thing that can possibly happen is it won't work as well. That's more or less a point of view and then you get a side effect so people have to deal with the side effect and they fix the side effect. So we try things and here comes the invariable effect and we have to fix that. And then another side effect and each time it get's bigger and bigger and finally we don't even remember where we started. All we're doing is mitigating problems from what we've done before.
Paul: Alright. While Larry put food on his mouth, I'm going to try and fill in a couple of gaps here. So we're in Ashland, Oregon visiting with Larry Korn. Larry did a lot of work with ag stuff and organic and his passion about way beyond organic. And then, when he was a young pup he heard about this fellow that was doing things that were even further down the path of what he was doing and he ended up interning there, working on that farm for two years. And then he worked with Fukuoka , you know Fukuoka's farm and then he worked with Fukuoka to do the translation of One Straw Revolution, they book by Fukuoka, now in English thanks to Larry
Larry: And then 25 other languages. All from our English translation. Six languages in India alone.
Paul: Oh wow! I didn't know that part. Oh my, okay.
Larry: Fukuoka didn't even, once One Straw Revolution was published in English, the word spread about it around the world it started getting translated into many other languages and the place in the world where there's more interest in this man and his way of farming than anywhere else is India and also other parts of Southeast Asia. And really, it shouldn't be surprising since even though it is an agricultural technique that just an example to point to what is essential spiritually philosophy. And the people of India are, that is pretty much their core culture. It's spirituality first and so they saw that right away and embraced it. Do you want to talk about the vegetable growing?
Paul: Before we talk about that, I'd like to hear, you talk about Fukuoka's, so one of the things that I believe that a lot of Fukuoka's works are remarkably similar to sepp holzer's works. When you have a little bit of knowledge of Holzer's work and of course a lot of knowledge about Fukuoka's works, and I am just charmed into the bone that so much of their stuff, they followed nature very closely. Their techniques were to follow nature. Do it nature 's way a close as you can and then just give nature a little bit, that really makes nature sing and to do as little as possible where you get the big return. And they both came to a lot of the same conclusions without radically different from anything else. And so I really think that they both, you know, geniuses. And one of those things that is about pruning fruit trees and fruit tree care and tree care in general. And I'm kind of hoping maybe you can share some knowledge in that space.
Paul: And while I go on and on introducing that it gives you a chance to eat your food before it gets too cold.
Larry: So when Fukuoka had this inspiration he decided to apply it to agriculture and he had no idea what the technique would look like, nobody had ever tried this. So he went back to his father's farm and he lived in the hut in the orchard and said "Well, if nature's perfect why don't I just not prune these trees and leave it to nature cause it knows much better than I do." And within about three year he had wiped out about over two hundred trees. And that's because the trees had been pruned already. Once they've been affected by human activity, people have the responsibility to maintain them. And if they don't, you know, nature just can't repair itself after that kind of treatment in the branches crossed by diseases and insects, light and air couldn't get through and the trees died. So then he got the idea that if the tree were allowed to grow according to it's natural form from the beginning, not pruned at all than that seems to be the way the tree would naturally want to grow. But, what is the natural form of a tree? So he started thinking about that and realized that the fruit trees have been, people have domesticated fruit trees way beyond most of the trees you see in the forest. In fact, I don't know if anybody actually really knows what the true form of an apple or a pear tree is. He went into the forest and he looked at native trees and how they grew and studied the form and he saw that the branches, you know that the tree grows with a slight spiraling growth pattern and that the branches come out either whirls or opposite each other. Depending on the species and so following that natural form from the beginning, he shouldn't have to prune them and it seems like he would never have to prune a tree again. And that's what he did, he didn't, most people get the trees from a nursery and the main leader had already been snipped, that's 99%, in fact, that's always the case unless you have an arrangement with the grower not to do that. So by the time you get the tree stocks from the nursery, they're already stuffed with the need to prune forever. But if you get growing from its natural form at the beginning and then occasionally branches of course will, might get damaged by environmental conditions or by you know, animals or snow or something like that. So the only pruning that one would do would be to help the tree get back to its natural form and trees that have already been pruned it's the same thing, that all the cuts to try to imitate, get it back as close as possible to their natural form.
Paul: Now, from my own devious wants and plots and whatever, one of the things that I've been writing about a lot lately has to do with starting trees from seeds. And granted, you know unusually that's the red flag for a lot of people, you're not going to get something that's ultimate tree but on the other hand you eliminate all the grafting, you eliminate a lot of the work and then you do end up with tree that's close to nature. And granted, some of the fruit, this also for something for a larger property, you probably don't want to be doing this if you are on a city lot. But on a large property if you plant a thousand fruit tree seeds and then 20% of them turned out to be spitters then no problem, that's pig food. And then on the other hand 20% of them turned out to be really great but then they are not anything that would be a variety anyone would recognize. I kinda think, that's one way. What would Fukuoka do for fruit tree reproduction? I mean I'm guessing he didn't graft, but maybe he did.
Larry: First of all with the growing trees from seed, he loved that. He said "Oh it's so much better to grow from seed but if you have a, if you make a living with a commercial orchard then that doesn't work because, You have a, you know, 95% of them are not very productive. To maintain the diversity he had trees grown from seeds all over the orchard but he never expected to harvest them. He would test them but otherwise you're right it's for the wildlife and what's wrong with that?
Paul: So a lot of his fruit trees were citrus.
Larry: Yes. Well, commercial, that's how he made the bulk of his living, with his 10 acre citrus orchard. 5 different types of, mandarin oranges, and mainly shiatsuma, by the way is a region in Sothern Japan, grapefruits and some were very much like oranges but the main one was the mandarin orange . And these were, for the most part, grafted. But he had an arrangement with his grower to not do any pruning, so that all the trees the he planted after he saw that the, that he wanted to grow trees that wouldn't be pruned which about 5 years into his you know, ah, study. The key was to get seedlings that hadn't been touched in the nursery.
Paul: So now, Jocelyn, we have a question from somebody and it's from one of the readers at Permies.com posted out at the tinkering forum for this podcast. How does seed prep, Do we have the actual question?
Larry: Well basically, the question was about the details of how Fukuoka grew vegetables between the spaces in the orchard trees. Something the he called growing vegetables like wild plants. And how do you get started with something like that.
Well, it really depends on the climate and your local conditions but I can explains what Fukuoka did with a relatively mild climate and a lot of thunder storms during the summer. If he would have taken seed and thrown on the bare ground that he found when he first came there. There was no top soil in the orchard, it all had been eroded away. So to throw vegetable seed on bare red clay will not work. So his first step ...
Paul: The birds would probably eat it if nothing else.
Larry: Yeah , or they would dry out, it was too hard the roots couldn't penetrate. So, his first step in the orchard was to use soil building ground cover. To improve the soil and to create top soil and he did that starting out with deep rooted plants that would physically go stick their nose way down deep into the soil and make a channel. And that would be things like burdock and dandelion and daikon, was a big one.
Paul: Yeah, that was his favorite.
Larry: Those are like spikes. Then he also put in plants that created a lot of, were also penetrated but not as a single spike, like all the radish family, daikon has the jumbo, but there's a lot of other, mustard is great for cleaning the soil for getting it going and buckwheat was a big favorite of his. For soil improvement Buckwheat is really, really good and then of course he wanted to introduce a legume for nitrogen fixing, so what he did is found out that white clover worked out the best.
Paul: Did you say for not nitrogen fixing.
Larry: No, for nitrogen fixing. It's a group so when you think about this group what a great combination for building topsoil. And the beauty is it's no work, it's very little work. Just scatter the seeds and using seeds for soil building is really the way to go, especially if you have any size land at all. Maybe if you are in a backyard right outside the back door these labor intensive techniques make some sense, but once you get to big spaces you don't want to be making compost and spreading compost and all of that, you just want to be scattering seeds.
Paul: Especially these days. Not only is it a lot of work, especially these days, a lot of people are bringing organic matter on to their land from someplace else. And 99% of the time it is tainted with something you don't want.
Larry: And your robbing Peter to pay Paul. And you gotta produce everything that you can to make it a closed system you have to produce everything you need right on the land. If you have to bring stuff in, that requires a lot of work. Of course the other side of that is if you create too much of something that's called pollution. That's a permaculture principle. But Fukuoka also believed, he talked about the closed system and how he didn't want to have to depend on anyone else, at least outside the village. 'Cause there is a few things, like making vegetable oil or soy sauce. And really village scale makes sense because to make everybody make small batches is not efficient, but you know neighbors getting together that's fine, but manly 90%-95% grown right on your property. So once this has gotten going and you got some topsoil to work with and you got a ground cover you can start trying the vegetables and what Fukuoka didn't, he wanted to bypass that process that people do to plant vegetables which is: You know, the tomatoes they like it sunny then you put them here these vegetables like these conditions so I'm gonna put them there using the human mind to make decisions when he would rather have nature tell him. Because our thinking, for one thing, how do we really know where these vegetables are going to go. Well, I've been thinking tomatoes need a lot of sun so long I forgot where I heard that, which a lot of agriculture is like that. Why do people plow, why do people grow in a flooded field. People have just forgotten why they started doing it and now they feel like they have to do it. So he mixes up the seed of all the different vegetables and scatters them out in the ground cover. Then he cuts the ground cover and lets it just drop, you know, cut it and drop, just leaves it to act as a mulch. So then the seeds come up, where nature points out where the best place for radish and the best place for...
Somethings he transplants, some little starters and that was tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and these are plants, he said that, they receive so much attention horticulturaly, they are basically much weaker than the other vegetables that they need a little start and you need to cut the ground cover away and give them a chance to grow up a little bit. And he grew squashes and other things just let them ramble over branches and up tree trunks. You never prune grapes, grapes he took, is one great plant that was incredibly long. I mean you'd go hike, hike, hike, hike to the end of it, cause it had grown all the way down along the forest trees and it was producing grapes. It's a constant surprise, actually. When you're walking through the orchard, you'd kick something in the weeds, and be like "Oh, squash. I didn't know there was a squash here."
Paul: So know, Fukuoka's pretty famous for doing well with seed balls.
Paul: Did he use balls for this?
Larry: He did for some. He did for some things.
Paul: Some would do fine without the seed balls.
Larry: Many would do fine without the seed balls but some, I'm thinking soybeans and other beans like that, and he put the balls around the squash and the cucumbers, he put seed balls around that that is just the process of encasing the seeds in clay with a little bit of compost in the clay. And then let it dry out so you throw that out and it's protected from the insects and it's the seed won't sprout until it gets rain and then it got this little packet of survival packet besides what's in the seed. Then it's got the seed ball is like it's survival pocket, it really, really increases success. People are using that as Gorilla gardeners have really picked up on that, like in the cities, like seeding over chain link fences and places like parking strips. So seed balls really, really help.
Paul: You can turn it into a lush garden by pitching these seed balls over the fence. It's kinda funny.
Larry: It just shows you how strong they are.
Paul: Before I forget, I just want to pop back over what we were talking about before. And that was with the trees, what is the true shape of say, an apple tree? I don't believe you've expressed that so maybe folks would like to hear about if you grow and apple tree from seed what does it look like? What of course is radically different from what we are used to apple trees looking like.
Larry: Yeah. If you grow an apple tree from seed then the tree, the apple tree is already using a seed from a plant that has been, had the "benefit" from human horticultural, you know, people messing with it but you know it grows, first of all its not on root stock of different sizes, so control the size of it, they generally grows up much larger and these un-grafted trees incidentally grow up larger than average trees. A lot of the pruning that people do is to keep the plants low for the ease of harvesting, in fact all of pruning is all about the ease of harvesting and he doesn't mind climbing up into the trees to harvest and if you can't get to the top, it's for the wildlife. I mean, what's the problem? He is not going for the maximum yield, so the tree will grow up with the single central leader and the branches will come out either opposite each other or in a whirling pattern. This allows the light and the air to circulate and pass through all the leaves get sunlight directly that way and the air can go through. It is much healthy and much stronger growing tree.
Paul: Now would you say, To me one of the biggest indicators is the branches and where the branches are, it seems to me a lot of times where the branches are... I mean you got branches right next to the ground they're actually so low to the ground that they are touching the ground which is one of the big changes and instead of it ends up looking like a popsicle shape with no branches, a trunk you end up to something that looks more like, a younger tree more like bushes kinda.
Larry: Yes, that's right. By the way, this whole discussion of this is not in the "One Straw Revolution but in the "Natural Way of Farming" which I believe is out of print but you can find a copies and you can find it on the internet. It goes into detail about he feels about pruning and this whole process and how we developed the no pruning idea and how went out into the forest and just meditated sat there studying how trees grow. You know, when you think about his technique in general, How did he know, he had no idea where he was going. It's all about observation. He would try things and he would see what worked. He didn't care so much about what didn't work. He looked at what worked and that was an indication to go that way. Going through doors and around the path with no idea what he's gonna find in the next corner.
Paul: The key is observation.
Larry: You said it.
Paul: So he was leaning heavily on observation. So, if you like this sort of thing, come on up to the forums of Permies.com where we talk about Masanubo Fukuoka, homesteading and permaculture all the time.
Wow Adrien, thanks for that! Did you use a program like Dragon, or did you just type that out yourself?
I'm hopeful that the world is coming to realize that the "green revolution" didn't do any favors to farmers or the rest of us. The world record rice production achieved by small farmers in India using hand planting and weeding described in this thread is a start. It's not permaculture, but it's cool to see that "uneducated" village farmers are beating records with intelligent design and horticulture.
Thank you Paul et. al. for re-releasing this and the other podcasts. I've been listening to them as soooooon as I get them, and loving the great information! I hadn't listen to many of the podcast produced before I found Permies.com because I'm not good with computers so I was having a hard time locating them. So I very, very, very much appreciate getting the podcasts in the dailyish email!