By Panos Manikis
Sixty-ve years ago, Masanobu Fukuoka, just afterthe end of Second World War, went back to hisnative village in Japan and started working in orderto realize his vision: an earth-friendly agriculturalmethod without using chemicals, fertilizers ortechnology. He called it natural farming, but hecould have also called it “do-nothing farming",since Fukuoka’s approach was that of getting ridof unnecessary practices and work. It is zero energyfarming as no oil (petroleum) is used.Forty years later, his method reached the climax of simplicity. We can simply cover the seeds of foresttrees, fruit trees, vegetables, grains and green manure plants with clay, make clay-balls and sow thembefore the rainy season starts, that is September and October for the Autumn seeding or March and Aprilfor the Spring seeding. In this way we can establish vegetable gardens and natural farms, we can growgrains and we can revegetate the deserts or barren mountains and wasteland.The natural farming method has ve principles, speaking about orchard trees: no tillage; no fertilizers;no pesticides; no weeding; no pruning. These principles are valid under any climatic or soil condition,although type or variety of vegetation might change from place to place.P
Soil erosion, oods, landslides, lowering of thelevel of the underground water, decrease of theoxygen in the atmosphere, gradual increase of the temperature of our planet Earth and millionsof hectares of fertile land turning into a desert arethe heavy price the heavy cost paid for the loss of forests. On the other hand, chemical agriculture notonly has failed to solve the hunger problem in theworld, but has also polluted the air, the soil and thewaters; on an economic level the farmers becomepoorer and poorer and the agricultural populationis rapidly decreasing. Moreover, world’s nancialcrisis will lead to further exploitation of the naturalresources and will exacerbate the above-mentionedproblems. We should have a holistic approachand we should solve all the problems at once andnatural farming has such an approach. Naturalfarming unites religion, philosophy and science thatwere one in the past.During his life, Fukuoka received many awards suchas: Magsaysay Award in the Philippines, the highestaward in Asia; Deshikottam Award in India fromthe ex-Prime Minister Rajhiv Gandhi; Earth CouncilAward. He wrote six books, which have beentranslated into many languages, among others: TheOne-Straw Revolution; The Natural Way of Farming;The Revolution of God, Man and Nature.In Greece, the rst effort for the reforestation of barren mountains and hills started in 1993 by agroup of volunteers. They started realizing smallsowings and in 1998, with the participation of Fukuoka himself, they organized a 10,000 hectaresseeding, the largest ever realized. In 1999, theyestablished the Natural Farming Centre in Klisohori,near the town of Edessa, in Northern Greece.The Natural Farming Centre collaborates withorganizations of many countries interested inpromoting natural farming, and offers, through itsexperts, technical assistance to implement projectsutilizing this innovative know-how.