I recently sat down with Larry Korn, author of One Straw Revolutionary, a book about the life and work of Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer who proved to the world that a simpler, more natural way of farming is possible. Fukuoka's book The One Straw Revolution describes his philosophy of natural farming, explaining how he successfully managed his family farm and orchard in Japan without having to till, make or spread compost, fertilize, flood his rice pasture, or prune his fruit trees. Not only was he able to obtain comparable yields to conventional farms, but his farm was thrived in ways that few farms do, vibrant with wildlife and a wide variety of flowers and wild plants.
While traveling through Japan in the seventies, Larry Korn just happened to land at Fukuoka's farm as a volunteer, where he ultimately spent two years, learning about natural farming and about Fukuoka's unique philosophy. Upon learning that Fukuoka had written a book, Larry decided to take it upon himself to see that it was translated and published in English.
Fukuoka's book had received little acclaim in Japan, but once the English translation came out, he became well known around the world, and eventually he was invited to do a speaking tour in the United States, which Larry helped organize, and which he also went along as a guide for Fukuoka San. Between living on Fukuoka's farm and traveling with him in the States, Larry was afforded a deep insight into the philosophy of one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century, who discovered one of the most profound secrets to all of life, namely that most of our problems are caused by our own stubborn interference with the process of nature, and the best thing we could do is to leave well alone and let nature restore itself.
I spoke with Larry at length about some of the problems we face in modern civilization, which seems to be nearing a collapse, and about his time on the farm, studying under Masanobu Fukuoka. We also talked about permaculture, and how it relates to, and in many ways contrasts with, natural farming.
Even with some minor edits, our talk went on for three quarters of an hour, so I went ahead and pulled some highlights out for a more condensed video. If you have time, check out the full video, as Larry has some very important things to say. I highly recommend his book, as well, and if you haven't read it, One Straw Revolution (by Fukuoka) is a must read for anyone interested in living more naturally on this planet.