The Fukuoka method
Masanobu Fukuoka was a Japanese microbiologist, specialized in plant pathologies; a researcher, a man of science, had a career ahead, a career as an agricultural technician in an era in which all sectors had a reputation for innovation and new discoveries. Despite this, Fukuoka one day has a sort of philosophical illumination, which leads him to question all the real effectiveness of traditional agronomic studies, due to the awareness of the great immensity and strength of nature, which man tries in vain to bend to his will.
This leads him to develop a cultivation method which will later take the name of natural agriculture; he himself dedicates all his energies to experimenting his method for years, until obtaining harvests even higher than those of chemical agriculture.
The four rules of natural agriculture
The pillars of this innovative method are simple:
1- no soil tillage: no plowing, the turning of the soil that we know is useful for structuring the composition of the soil and promotes the development of the root system. Fukuoka achieves this result without working the soil, using instead a careful crop rotation, a perennial covering of the soil (which avoids the erosion of the atmospheric agents) with mulching of clover and mowing of cereals; they are the roots themselves that plow the soil continuously, supported by the work of the edaphic fauna, which, not disturbed by the plowing, proliferates and enriches the soil with organic substance.
2- no chemical or organic fertilization: the soil is enriched on its own with mowings and plant mulches, the balances that are created with the increase of humus provide the necessary nutrients to the plants, the fukuoka fields after twenty years of cultivation are very rich in organic matter, while those worked with the chemical method are increasingly depleted and over time they go through desertification processes.
3 - no weeding, neither with chemicals nor with mechanical equipment: weeds are contained with mulches and the use of white clover. Once the cereals that are grown exceed the height and size of the weeds, they will no longer be a problem.
4 - no chemicals: dependence on chemicals generates imbalances in ecosystems and makes plants weaker (confirming this today we are faced with the GMO problem, to reinforce plants that are less and less resistant to pests)
Certainly the enunciation of these rules provokes an effect of amazement and disbelief; this is however a serious method widely tested and verified and its creator is not a philosopher, with hippy tendencies, but a scientist, a researcher, who has dedicated years to this research, with widely demonstrated results.
Converting a company to natural agriculture is not an immediate operation. The soil fertility necessary to get rid of plowing practices is obtained after years of applying the method (the surprising thing is that it will continue to improve over the years).