Book Review: The One-Straw Revolution February 21, 2013 17:01


This is not your average gardening book.  It will not tell you how to grow particular fruits and vegetables or when and where to plant them.  But, if you've read a lot about organic gardening and permaculture, you've probably seen this title referenced more than once. This little page-turner by Masanobu Fukuoka could just as well have been called Zen and the Art of Natural Farming.  Throughout the book, Fukuoka-san alternates between the terms 'natural' and 'do-nothing' to describe his approach to farming.  He does not mean, of course, that one can grow food by doing absolutely nothing, but that one should avoid doing nothing which is unnecessary. Throughout The One-Straw Revolution, Fukuoka draws on the Taoist principle of Wu-Wei--actionless action--which is a state of being in which acting becomes effortless because it is aligned with the ebb and flow of natural cycles:

[N]atural farming... proceeds from the conviction that if the individual temporarily abandons human will and so allows himself to be guided by nature, nature responds by providing everything.
Fukuoka's view of agrarian life is stoic and, indeed, gets to the very heart of what many of us feel is missing in modern life.  Perhaps my favorite line in the whole book:
A natural diet lies right at one’s feet.
Can you think of a better slogan to sum up the whole local food movement?  This book is packed full of such gems.  Read it and pass it along; join the revolution!