Questions regarding this Masanobu Fukuoka interview

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by infinitesimal, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. Here is the link if you are interested in reading the whole interview.

    https://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC14/Fukuoka.htm

    What I have questions about is what they discuss in this part of the interview specifically.

    Robert: How have you applied your method to the deserts?

    Masanobu: Chemical agriculture can't change the desert. Even if they have a tractor and a big irrigation system, they are not able to do it. I came to the realization that to make the desert green requires natural farming. The method is very simple. You just need to sow seeds in the desert. Here is a picture of experimentation in Ethiopia. This area was beautiful 90 years ago, and now it looks like the desert in Colorado. I gave seeds for 100 varieties of plants to people in Ethiopia and Somalia. Children planted seeds, and watered them for three days. Because of high temperature and not having water, the root goes down quickly. Now the large Daikon radishes are growing there. People think there isn't any water in the desert, but even in Somalia and Ethiopia, they have a big river. It is not that they do not have water; the water just stays underneath the earth. They find the water under 6 to 12 feet.

    Diane: Do you just use water to germinate the seeds, and then the plants are on their own?

    Masanobu: They still need water, like after ten days and after a month, but you should not water too much, so that the root grows deep. People have home gardens in Somalia these days.

    The project started with the help of UNESCO with a large amount of money, but there are only a couple of people doing the experiment right now. These young people from Tokyo don't know much about farming. I think it is better to send seeds to people in Somalia and Ethiopia, rather than sending milk and flour, but there isn't any way to send them. People in Ethiopia and Somalia can sow seeds, even children can do that. But the African governments, the United States, Italy, France, they don't send seeds, they only send immediate food and clothing. The African government is discouraging home gardens and small farming. During the last 100 years, garden seed has become scarce.

    Diane: Why do these governments do this?

    Masanobu: The African governments and the United States government want people to grow coffee, tea, cotton, peanuts, sugar - only five or six varieties to export and make money. Vegetables are just food, they don't bring in any money. They say they will provide corn and grain, so people don't have to grow their own vegetables.

    A Japanese college professor that went to Somalia and Ethiopia said this is the hell of the world. I said, "No, this is the entrance to heaven." Those people have no money, no food, but they are very happy. The reason they are very happy is that they don't have schools or teachers. They are happy carrying water, happy cutting the wood. It is not a hard thing for them to do; they truly enjoy doing that. Between noon and three it is very hot, but other than that, there is a breeze, and there are not flies or mosquitoes.

    One thing the people of the United States can do instead of going to outer space is to sow seeds from the space shuttle into the deserts. There are many seed companies related to multi-national corporations. They could sow seeds from airplanes.

    Diane: If seeds were thrown out like that, would the rains be enough to germinate them?

    Masanobu: No, that is not enough, so I would sow coated seeds so they wouldn't dry out or get eaten by animals. There are probably different ways to coat the seeds. You can use soil, but you have to make that stick, or you can use calcium.

    My farm has everything: fruit trees, vegetables, acacia. Like my fields, you need to mix everything and sow at the same time. I took about 100 varieties of grafted trees there, two of each, and almost all of them, about 80%, are growing there now. The reason I am saying to use an airplane is because, if you are just testing you use only a small area. But we need to make a large area green quickly. It needs to be done at once! You have to mix vegetables and trees; that's the fastest way for success.

    Another reason I am saying you have to use airplanes is that you have to grow them fast, because if there is 3% less green area around the world, the whole earth is going to die. Because of lack of oxygen, people won't feel happy. You feel happy in the spring because of the oxygen from the plants. We breathe out carbon dioxide and breathe in oxygen, and the plants do the opposite. Human beings and plants not only have a relationship in eating, but also share air. Therefore, the lack of oxygen in Somalia is not only a problem there, it is also a problem here. Because of the rapid depletion of the land in those parts of Africa, everyone will feel this happening. It is happening very quickly. There is no time to wait. We have to do something now.

    People in Ethiopia are happy with wind and light, fire and water. Why do people need more? Our task is to practice farming the way God does. That could be the way to start saving this world.

    ---------end of interview-----------

    Ok, so my questions are as follows- -- do you know of any groups out there, doing as Fukuoka perscribes? Are their people out there regenerating deserts by means of Fukuokian methods?

    From the perspective of a permaculturist: is Fukuoka's perpective nonesense, naive? I've read onestraw revolution and the book was highly intelligent - -but what he prescribes is just so simple. I've only begun educating myself on gardening 6months ago and have very little hands on experience but feel i've tapped into a great resevoir of minds via the web. Please, express what you feel is significant, helpful. thanks.
     
  2. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    I believe that the knowledge is there, these are country people who, until recently (relatively speaking) grew their own food.

    But their own government and probably most of the rest of the world doesn't WANT them to feed themselves. It's harder to control people when they can feed themselves. But if other countries just send food, the people are forever dependent on that source of food. And don't think that the controlling countries (incl the U.S., who is maybe the worst) don't know this. Food is politics. Food is control.

    I doubt that there is a place in the world (where people live) that can't somehow support food crops, given some help.

    If the water is only 12ft/4m deep, they could dig wells and bucket up the water as they have from wells in Africa for centuries.

    If they were given open-pollinated seed (NOT hybrids), they could plant.

    If there's literally nothing to use as fertilizer/mulch, there must be some kind of legume or other nitrogen-fixing seeds that could be grown among the crops. All the crop waste could be returned to the fields to enrich the soil.

    This is not rocket science. The starving people in most of the world are being starved deliberately. It's control.

    I believe that Masanobu Fukuoka is not being naive, merely philosophical. Sowing from the air could be taken more than one way. Sure, you could have a guy with a big bag of corn seed throwing out great handsful of the stuff, OR you could covertly fly over villages at night, dropping containers of seeds suitable for local conditions, that the people are accustomed to eating.

    Sue
     
  3. jeanneinsunland

    jeanneinsunland Junior Member

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    I would be the first in line to participate in a revolutionary, underground movement to covertly help these people grow their food. Their governments can still go in and just slaughter them, though, if starving them no longer works.
     
  4. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    True, Jeanne, but starving is more PC than slaughtering. Those that might/are dependent on U.S. aid might fear getting cut off.

    At least, we can hope.

    Can't you imagine lining up some TRUSTWORTHY small aircraft pilots that know know these countries, and starting a grassroots movement to collect seed and send them to the pilots? Covertly, of course.

    Sue
     
  5. jeanneinsunland

    jeanneinsunland Junior Member

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    I can absolutely imagine it! With the internet, all things are possible....
     
  6. earthbound

    earthbound Junior Member

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    Part of Masanobu's theories and practices involves using seed balls. Balls of clay, organic matter, with a mixture of seeds through the clay ball, these are dried out and then randomly thrown around the area to be revegetated, and left.

    The clay balls stop insects and vermin eating the seeds, the seeds are also protected from germinating to soon, only after enough theres been enough rain to soak through into the hard clay and reach the seeds will the seeds begin to germinate.
    Once the clay is wet, the wide variety of seeds contained within begin to germinate, whichever species is best suited to the microclimate where the seedball has landed will take over, using the moisture and the organic matter retained in the ball to help become established...

    Quite an ingenious idea, and distributing seedballs from an airplane would be quite doable..

    Masanobu goes into further details about his methods and philosophies in his later books ‘natural way of farming’ and ‘road back to nature’

    Is Fukuoka's perpective nonesense, naive? Not at all, his methods have been proven to work over decades of trials.
     
  7. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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  8. Chook Nut

    Chook Nut Junior Member

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    This wonderful rain that SE Qld received over this week(we got 157mm!) was enough for farmers to put in their winter crops.... some farmers were unable to sow their fields with tractors b/c of the amount of rain and used planes to sow their crops from the air!.... they sowed a little more than they usually would to allow for the cockies though... so i guess they think it works.

    Seeing as this thread is going on a bit of a political line, I listened to an 'interesting' interview with author John Perkins who wrote a book called "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"... here's a review if anyone likes a good conspiricy theory...

    "John Perkins started and stopped writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man four times over 20 years. He says he was threatened and bribed in an effort to kill the project, but after 9/11 he finally decided to go through with this expose of his former professional life. Perkins, a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, says he was an "economic hit man" for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinationals cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business. "Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars," Perkins writes. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an extraordinary and gripping tale of intrigue and dark machinations. Think John Le Carré, except it's a true story.
    Perkins writes that his economic projections cooked the books Enron-style to convince foreign governments to accept billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other institutions to build dams, airports, electric grids, and other infrastructure he knew they couldn't afford. The loans were given on condition that construction and engineering contracts went to U.S. companies. Often, the money would simply be transferred from one bank account in Washington, D.C., to another one in New York or San Francisco. The deals were smoothed over with bribes for foreign officials, but it was the taxpayers in the foreign countries who had to pay back the loans. When their governments couldn't do so, as was often the case, the U.S. or its henchmen at the World Bank or International Monetary Fund would step in and essentially place the country in trusteeship, dictating everything from its spending budget to security agreements and even its United Nations votes. It was, Perkins writes, a clever way for the U.S. to expand its "empire" at the expense of Third World citizens. While at times he seems a little overly focused on conspiracies, perhaps that's not surprising considering the life he's led. --Alex Roslin"

    and....

    "Perkins spent the 1970s working as an economic planner for an international consulting firm, a job that took him to exotic locales like Indonesia and Panama, helping wealthy corporations exploit developing nations as, he claims, a not entirely unwitting front for the National Security Agency. He says he was trained early in his career by a glamorous older woman as one of many "economic hit men" advancing the cause of corporate hegemony. He also says he has wanted to tell his story for the last two decades, but his shadowy masters have either bought him off or threatened him until now. The story as presented is implausible to say the least, offering so few details that Perkins often seems paranoid, and the simplistic political analysis doesn’t enhance his credibility. Despite the claim that his work left him wracked with guilt, the artless prose is emotionally flat and generally comes across as a personal crisis of conscience blown up to monstrous proportions, casting Perkins as a victim not only of his own neuroses over class and money but of dark forces beyond his control. His claim to have assisted the House of Saud in strengthening its ties to American power brokers may be timely enough to attract some attention, but the yarn he spins is ultimately unconvincing, except perhaps to conspiracy buffs."
     
  9. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    True or not, you can look back on recent (20 yrs or so) events and kind of believe it, can't you? The U.S. government is a group of major control-freaks dedicated to lining the pockets of its members and cohorts, IMHO. And it's so pervasive that it's understandable how people here have just given up on voting, or trying to do the right thing. Even the lowest levels of government, the city council members, seem to get into it just to benefit themselves.

    A friend of mine said most governments don't last much over 200 years. I suspect we're in for either a crash or a massive revolution. Whichever one comes first.

    So, many of us just hunker down and do the best we can with what we've got. It's waaaaay beyond fixing. And what's worse, now the common people are much the same, producing a nearly totally me-first society. Rather revolting, actually.

    Sue
     

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