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Monday, May 24, 2010

Yet Another Bibliography

The following books address permaculture and the natural farming methods of Fukuoka.  Though starting from opposite philosophies (permaculture is enthralled with the brilliance of human logic, Fukuoka tried to distance himself from human logic and rely on nature to show the way), both came to strikingly similar results. 

Gaia's Garden, A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture, Hemenway, Toby, © 2000, Chelsea Green Publishing Probably no finer introductory book on permaculture is available. More easily digested than the others in this list, this is still a comprehensive guide and is easily one of the more readable books on permaculture.

Introduction to Permaculture, Mollison, Bill © 1991 Tagari Publications IF you can find it for less than $149 (its current asking price for a used copy on Amazon) this is a lovely book that lives up to its name, an introduction to permaculture. Mollison, along with Holmgren, founded the concepts of permaculture. Because it is so old, it is somewhat dated, but Mollison writes in a way that is readable, digestible and it is well illustrated with drawings. Check it out from the library?

Permaculture, A Designers' Manual, Mollison, Bill © 1988 Tagari Publications, Dense. Out of Print. The most exhaustive text on the subject ever written. Will likely never be attempted again. If you can find it, and if permaculture, is your bag: Indispensable. (I borrowed my copy.) But indispensable as historical data – we know a lot more now than Mollison knew then. This book works best as background – to REALLY use permaculture, look at other books.

Permaculture, Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, Holmgren, David © 2002 A more cerebral take on the permaculture 'revolution' who looks beyond the horticulture and agriculture beginnings of permaculture with the intent of applying the concepts to other aspects of human society. Probably your book if you think you'd like to design a permaculture career.

The Basics of Permaculture Design, Mars, Ross © 2005 Chelsea Green Publishing This is a dense manual. The upside is that it contains all the basic design ideas and principles and is wonderfully illustrated. The down side is that there is more data on one page than in a chapter in other books. This density makes for tough reading, but that isn't all bad. It is the most current in this list.

Fukuoka Farming Bibliography

One Straw Revolution, An Introduction to Natural Farming, Fukuoka, Masanobu ©2009, a reissue of his 1978 classic, Fukuoka's first book on his extensive work in Japan. Decidedly with a Japanese bent (his main crop is rice and barley), he still presents a lovely description of his farming efforts that began as a reaction to the Western idea of agriculture and more that began to infiltrate Japanese society in the 1930's. His work continued until his death in 2008 (at 95).  His grain raising techniques became THE grain raising techniques in permaculture.

The Natural Way of Farming: The Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy, Fukuoka, Masanobu © 1985 Also out of print. And expensive. ($61, used on Amazon) Can be downloaded as a PDF, I had success at this site, but I do not warranty it to be 100% safe from commercial interests. 

The Road Back to Nature, Fukuoka, Masanobu © 1988 Out of print, but you can find copies reasonably priced on eBay, used copies are almost $70 from Amazon. From the back cover: Fukuoka's reflections on his trips to Europe and to America, his sense of shock at seeing the destruction wreaked in the name of agriculture. A collection of his lectures, articles and essays which outline his thinking on nature, God and man and his underlying optimism that good sense can still prevail and we can still turn it all around. This is a collection of articles, lectures and essays recording his impressions as he travels the world talking about his revolutionary 'do-nothing' agricultural methods. There is a spiritual side to a lot of his thoughts and an optimism that a change in lifestyles and farming methods could yet heal the Earth's wounds.

Fundamental Realities, an article by Hazelip, Emilia was found at the Fukuoka Farming Website – but as of this writing that website is no longer in existence.  However, You Tube has several videos with Hazelip describing how she has adapted Fukuoka's principles to a Western market garden.

While permaculture has played a role in my thinking about gardening, Fukuoka has spoken to my heart and the Hazelip videos have informed a lot of my decisions in the past four or five years.  The video quality is not the best, but it and three others on You Tube are worth the effort to find and watch; I think you will find them inspiring and very enlightening. 


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