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What I am reading

this is the highly subjective way I read and interpret literature

(the emphasis lies on literature, so you'll only find a couply of trashy readings here and there)

Currently reading

What I Loved
Siri Hustvedt
Progress: 84/367 pages
A Modern Utopia
Francis Wheen, Gregory Claeys, H.G. Wells
Fifty Egg Timer Short Stories
Richard Bunning

What if…

Der Große Weg hat kein Tor - Masanobu Fukuoka, Ronald Steinmeyer, Cecile Sprenger

Fukuoka is (or was) one of those people who are plagued by the two most troublesome words of mankind – what if
So he started asking himself, What if I stop doing this? What if I would not do that? And he wrote a book about it: The One Straw Revolution (with the strange German title Der Große Weg hat kein Tor).

 

He wrote this as early as 1975 and at that time, he had already spent over 30 years cultivating his own, pesticide-free, completely natural way of farming which turned out to not only produce healthier foods and fruits with better taste, but to also be way cheaper and less work. He demonstrates how most agricultural problems (barren earth, insects, pesticides, illness-prone plants,…) are only getting worse the more mankind is trying to artificially fix them – for instance, if a farmer uses pesticides against vermin, he will also kill all beneficial organisms on his fields, thus completely destroying the natural balance. The plants growing on such a field never develop any kind of healthy defence system against potential enemies, are therefore weaker than usual and in the long run even more prone to illnesses or other species of vermin which again have to be taken care of with different pesticides and the whole vicious circle starts from the beginning. Plus, they absorb at least some components of the pesticides which we in turn eat, so no one comes out of this as a winner.

Decades ago Fukuoka found a way to avoid all of this by simply working with and not against nature and in the course of that, he also explains how to compensate and repair the damage mankind already caused. He shows how he transformed the soil on one of his orchards from hard, dry clay into fertile earth in the course of some years - without the use of machinery, artificial fertiliser and without a lot of work in general. The quality of his soil is still improving on a year to year basis, because once this process is started, it continues and takes care of itself.

He also deeply opposes the capitalist notion (and practice) that naturally grown, biological food can be sold at higher prices. Fukuoka is convinced, that they should be the cheapest goods available, because it took the least amount of work and resources to grow and harvest them.

This mixture of an agricultural treatise, science bashing and philosophical (and even a bit religious) thinking shows, that he was an idealist who nonetheless knew exactly what he was talking about. I love how in his argumentation he does not limit himself to specific aspects, but keeps the big picture in mind, including everything from the soil, climate, insects, the appearance of the plants, bad weeds, sunshine, seasons, the size of the plants right up to the shape of their leaves.