Natural Farming / Masanobu Fukuoka
To me Masanobu Fukuoka was a poet.
He transcended the notion of 'man <-> environment'.
He is known as the pioneer of natural farming and was an inspiration for the originators of the permaculture concept.
I think it could be said that the foundation of natural farming is not a specific technique—it is a way of seeing the world. The techniques will adapt to the various different locations and conditions where it is being practiced.
He are some quotes by Fukuoka that might give an outline.
"When the farmer forgets the land to which he owes his existence and becomes concerned only with his own self-interest, when the consumer is no longer able to distinguish between food as the staff of life and food as merely nutrition, when the administrator looks down his nose at farmers and the industrialist scoffs at nature, then the land will answer with its death. Nature is not so kind as to forewarn a humanity so foolish as this."
“The more people do, the more society develops, the more problems arise. The increasing desolation of nature, the exhaustion of resources, the uneasiness and disintegration of the human spirit, all have been brought about by humanity’s trying to accomplish something. Originally there was no reason to progress, and nothing that had to be done. We have come to the point at which there is no other way than to bring about a ‘movement’ not to bring anything about.”
“To become one with nature — agriculture is an occupation in which a farmer adapts himself to nature. To do that, you have to gaze at a rice plant and listen to the words from the plant. If you understand what the rice says, you just adjust your heart to that of the rice plants and raise them. In reality, we do not have to raise them. They will grow. We just serve nature. A piece of advice I need to give you here. When I say gaze at a rice plant or stare at its true form, it does not mean to make an observation or to contemplate the rice plant, which makes it an object different from yourself. It is very difficult to explain in words. In a sense, it is important that you become the rice plant. Just as you, as the subject of gazing, have to disappear. If you do not understand what you should do or what I am talking about, you should be absorbed in taking care of the rice without looking aside. If you could work wholeheartedly without yourself, that is enough. Giving up your ego is the shortest way to unification with nature.”
One Straw Revolution is maybe one of his best known books and even if you are not particularily interested in agriculture or gardening, I recommend to read it, and if it’s just for a few paragraphs.
'Permaculture is a creative design response to a world of declining energy and resource availability.'
Open info-website on german-speaking permaculture projects worldwide.
Initiated and run by Lars Schmidt & Martin Gemeinholzer
Permaculture is based on the observation of nature: how life evolves, organizes and sustains itself.
From this process it derives design principles and tools which one can apply to any kind of system, let it be a garden, a farm, a career or a social system.
It is a broad-based and holistic approach that has many applications to all aspects of life.
The permaculture journey begins with ethics and design principles and moves through the key domains required to create a sustainable culture.
At the heart of permaculture design and practice is a fundamental set of ‘core values’ or ethics which remain constant whatever a person's situation, whether they are creating systems for town planning or trade; whether the land they care for is only a windowbox or an entire forest. These 'ethics' are often summarised as:
* Earthcare – recognising that the Earth is the source of all life (and is possibly itself a living entity- see Gaia theory) and that we recognise and respect that the Earth is our valuable home and we are a part of the Earth, not apart from it.
* Peoplecare – supporting and helping each other to change to ways of living that are not harming ourselves or the planet, and to develop healthy societies.
* Fairshare (or placing limits on consumption) - ensuring that the Earth's limited resources are utilised in ways that are equitable and wise
The core of permaculture has always been in supplying a design toolkit.
This toolkit helps the designer to model a final design based on an observation of how ecosystems themselves interact.
Permaculture designs evolve over time, and can become extremely complex mosaics of conventional and inventive cultural systems.
While techniques and cultural systems are freely borrowed from organic agriculture, sustainable forestry, horticulture, agroforestry, and the land management systems of indigenous peoples, permaculture's fundamental contribution to the field of ecological design is the development of a concise set of broadly applicable organizing principles that can be transferred through a brief intensive training.
‚Sustainable development to provide for human needs, within ecological limits, requires a cultural revolution greater than any of the tumultuous changes of the last century.
Permaculture design principles can never be a substitute for relevant practical experience and technical knowledge. However, they may provide a framework for continuous generation and evaluation of the site and situation specific solutions necessary to move beyond the limited successes of sustainable development to a reunion of culture and nature.
Permaculture is a dynamic interplay between two phases: on the one hand, sustaining life within the cycle of the seasons, and on the other, conceptual abstaction and emotional intensity of creativity and design. I see the relationship between these two as like the pulsing relationship between stability and change.’
by David Holmgren: ‘Permaculture - Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability’
Extensive Permaculture Introduction (english):