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Natural Farming - Clay pellets to grow agro food products and revegetate deserts

Sixty-five years ago, Masanobu Fukuoka, just after the end of Second World War, went back to his native village in Japan and started working in order to realize his vision: an earth-friendly agricultural method without using chemicals, fertilizers or technology. He called it natural farming, but he could have also called it “do-nothing farming", since Fukuoka’s approach was that of getting rid of unnecessary practices and work. It is zero energy farming as no oil (petroleum) is used.

Forty years later, his method reached the climax of simplicity. We can simply cover the seeds of forest trees, fruit trees, vegetables, grains and green manure plants with clay, make clay-balls and sow them before the rainy season starts, that is September and October for the Autumn seeding or March and April for the Spring seeding. In this way we can establish vegetable gardens and natural farms, we can grow grains and we can revegetate the deserts or barren mountains and wasteland.

The natural farming method has five principles, speaking about orchard trees: no tillage; no fertilizers; no pesticides; no weeding; no pruning. These principles are valid under any climatic or soil condition, although type or variety of vegetation might change from place to place.

By Panos Manikis