Do Nothing Natural Farming: One Straw Revolutionary

One Straw Revolutionary by Larry Korn.

One-Straw Revolutionary represents the first commentary on the work of the late Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka (1913 – 2008), widely considered to be natural farming’s most influential practitioner. Mr. Fukuoka is perhaps most known for his bestselling book The One-Straw Revolution (1978), a manifesto on the importance of no-till agriculture, which was at the time of publication a radical challenge to the global systems that supply the world’s food, and still inspires readers today. Larry Korn, who apprenticed with Mr. Fukuoka in Japan at the time, translated the manuscript and brought it to the United States, knowing it would change the conversation about food forever. The One-Straw Revolution, edited by Korn and Wendell Berry, was an immediate international success, and established Mr. Fukuoka as a leading voice in the fight against conventional industrial agriculture. In this new book, through his own personal narrative, Larry Korn distills his experience of more than thirty-five years of study with Mr. Fukuoka, living and working on his farm on Shikoku Island, and traveling with Mr. Fukuoka to the United States on two six-week visits.

One-Straw Revolutionary is the first book to look deeply at natural farming and intimately discuss the philosophy and work of Mr. Fukuoka. In addition to giving his personal thoughts about natural farming, Korn broadens the discussion by pointing out natural farming’s kinship with the ways of indigenous cultures and traditional Japanese farming. At the same time, he clearly distinguishes natural farming from other forms of agriculture, including scientific and organic agriculture and permaculture. Korn also clarifies commonly held misconceptions about natural farming in ways Western readers can readily understand. And he explains how natural farming can be used practically in areas other than agriculture, including personal growth and development.

The book follows the author on his travels from one back-to-the-land commune to another in the countryside of 1970s Japan, a journey that eventually led him to Mr. Fukuoka’s natural farm. Korn’s description of his time there, as well as traveling with Mr. Fukuoka during his visits to the United States, offers a rare, inside look at Mr. Fukuoka’s life. Readers will delight in this personal insight into one of the world’s leading agricultural thinkers.

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Larry Korn, a student of Masanobu Fukuoka, helped translate and edit the English language version of The One-Straw Revolution. He is also an educator, consultant, editor and author in the fields of permaculture, natural farming, sustainable landscaping and local food production.

Larry is author of One-Straw Revolutionary, the first book to look deeply at natural farming and intimately discuss the philosophy and work of Mr. Fukuoka. In addition to giving his personal thoughts about natural farming, he broadens the discussion by pointing out natural farming’s kinship with the ways of indigenous cultures and traditional Japanese farming, organic agriculture and permaculture.

After completing his BA degree in Asian Studies at University of California, Berkeley, Larry traveled to Japan to see first hand what life was like in Asia. He lived and worked on back-to-the-land communes and traditional farms in the Japanese countryside. Among other rural farms, Larry spent several years with Masanobu Fukuoka, a farmer and philosopher, on Shikoku Island. Mr. Fukuoka developed a special no-till way of farming to demonstrate the practical value of his spiritual principles.

Larry returned to the United States and helped translate and edit Mr. Fukuoka’s book, The One-Straw Revolution, which was published by Rodale Press in 1978. He went back to Berkeley to earn degrees in Soil Science and Plant Nutrition. He then worked with the California State Department of Forestry analyzing soil erosion as part of a state-wide study to measure the effectiveness of logging practices.

Larry was editor of the Tilth publication, The Future Is Abundant: A Guide to Sustainable Agriculture (1982). It is a practical guide for applying permaculture and natural farming techniques to the Pacific Northwest. Although currently out of print, most of the book is available online.

He learned about landscaping plants and design while working at Berkeley Horticultural Nursery and then at Wintergreen Wholesale Nursery. In 1987, Larry started Mu Landscaping, serving residential and commercial clients in the San Francisco Bay Area for over twenty years.

Larry has taught permaculture courses throughout the United States and has led workshops on natural farming and local food production. He has also written articles on gardening, natural farming and permaculture for publications such as Mother Earth News, Rodale’s Organic Gardening and Tilth, some of which are presented on this website. In 2008, Larry relocated to Ashland, Oregon where he continues his work.

Connect with Larry Korn on Facebook.

Larry Korn may also be contacted at ldkorn@gmail.com.

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