Masanobu Fukuoka (福 岡 正信 Fukuoka Masanobu , 2 February 1913 – 16 August 2008) was a Japanese farmer and philosopher celebrated for his natural farming and re-vegetation of desertified lands. He was a proponent of no-till, no-herbicide grain cultivation farming methods traditional to many indigenous cultures, from which he created a particular method of farming, commonly referred to as "Natural Farming" or "Do-nothing Farming".
Fukuoka was the author
of several Japanese books, scientific papers and
other publications, and was featured in television
documentaries and interviews from the 1970s onwards.
His influences went beyond farming to inspire individuals within the natural food and lifestyle movements. He was an outspoken advocate of the value of observing nature's principles.
Seed balls, also known as "earth balls", nendo dango (Japanese: 粘土 団子), boule de graines in French and so on, consist of a variety of different seeds rolled within a ball of clay, preferably volcanic plastic red clay. Into this medium various additives may be included, such as humus or compost. These are placed around the seeds, at the center of the ball, to provide microbial inoculants. Cotton-fibres or liquified paper are sometimes mixed into the clay in order to strengthen it, or liquified paper mash coated on the outside to further protect the clay ball during sowing by throwing, or in particularly harsh habitats.
The technique for creating seed balls was rediscovered by Japanese natural farming pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka. The technique had been used in ancient times in the Middle East, Egypt and parts of North Africa. The technique was also used, for instance, in ancient Egypt to repair farms after the annual spring flooding of the Nile. In modern times, during the period of the Second World War, this Japanese government plant scientist working in a government lab, Fukuoka, who lived on the mountainous island of Shikoku, wanted to find a technique that would increase food production without taking away from the land already allocated for traditional rice production. He read extensively and came across mention of the ancient technique which thrived in the volcanic rich soils of Japan.
To make a seed ball, generally about 5 measures of red clay by volume are combined with one measure of seeds. The balls are formed between 10mm and 80mm (about 0.4 to 3.15 inches) in diameter. The patent has been deemed unenforceable throughout the world because of the ancient practice.
Guerrilla gardening is gardening on land that the gardeners do not have legal right to use, often an abandoned site or area not cared for by anyone. It encompasses a very diverse range of people and motivations, from the enthusiastic gardener who spills over their legal boundaries to the highly political gardener who seeks to provoke change through direct action.
The land that is guerrilla gardened is usually abandoned or neglected by its legal owner. That land is used by guerrilla gardeners to raise plants, frequently focusing on food crops or plants intended to beautify an area. This practice has implications for land rights and land reform; it promotes re-consideration of land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.
Some guerrilla gardeners carry out their actions at night, in relative secrecy, to sow and tend a new vegetable patch or flower garden in an effort to make the area of use and/or more attractive. Some garden at more visible hours to be seen by their community. It has grown into a form of proactive activism or pro-activism.
There are some health risks to foraging or planting edible plants near toxic waste sites and roads with heavy traffic due to chemical runoff that gets absorbed by the roots. Toxic plants tend to grow on toxic land. Some scientists[who?] have learned that certain types of plants absorb toxins from the soil without dying and can thus be used as a mechanism to reduce chemical ground pollution. Guerrilla gardening could be used as a way to take independent action to clean up one's community, but eating a toxin-absorbent plant will deposit those toxins in the body.
foragers face similar health risks in this
manner. Care should be taken to not eat plants
that grow in areas where there is known chemical
contamination or water pollution. Plants that
grow on the side of high-traffic roads should
also not be eaten because of automobile fluid