Most helpful critical review
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
revolutionary good sense
on 1 May 2011
I'm always fascinated by people who say that organic farming can't be profitable, and biodynamic farming is for people with half a brain or advanced mental health issues, because when you think about modern, conventional farming methods (a depleted, ash-like earth only able to produce anything worth eating if "enhanced" by a million chemicals that the farmers have to apply with a mask and gloves on) biodynamic farming and the "no-dig" approach look like amazing good sense, the only way to go. The absolute fact is that biodynamic farming is, on the bottom line, every bit as economically viable as conventional farming.
The word "Revolution" is just right for the title of this book, as we desperately need to "turn back" to how people worked the earth until 50 years ago, because that's what worked, that's what sustains agriculture in the long term. Mr. Fukuoka invites us to look at our modern farming methods and decide for ourselves which is insane. This book's incredible asset is that Mr. Fukuoka was a "conventional" agricultural research scientist working for the Japanese government until his epiphany in the mid-forties, after which he commenced his experiments on "no-work" farming, and consequently his rejection of science comes from an informed standpoint. I adored this book because of the great sense that Mr. Fukuoka makes and his white-hot anger in the face of the insanity of today's farming methods.
Where this book falls down for me is the Buddhist/Taoist philosophizing. Mr. Fukuoka set up a pair of opposites as a theme throughout this book: science vs. nature, the idea being that nature is unfailingly a force for good and the whole of modern science is essentially, irredeemably bad; and in the same breath left no cliche unused in his renunciation of the differentiating, opposite-making mind. Mr. Fukuoka's antidote to the ills of today were that we should all go back to live in the mountains, with one bowl, two outfits and no running water. Beautiful though this ideal may be, it's just not practicable or desirable for 90% of people on this planet, just as it was an incredibly hard and relentless life for the farmers in days gone by - and hence the wrong-turn down the road of chemical fertilizers and pesticides etc back in the day. Mr. Fukuoka and his helpers may have wanted to live that particular life, but most people I know really do not. If I want to read about Zen and Tao, I'll read Zen Master Seung Sahn or Lao Tsu.
With that, still an excellent read on farming practices; recommended.