The One-Straw Revolution, and the Scythe-Based Farm: The Evolvement of the Original Concept into the One Scythe Revolution.
Back in the 1980's, I was inspired to have a natural farm someday, when I read The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka, in college, and I also saw a documentary on Fukuoka's farm, at a Francis Moore Lappe conference. I experimented on a backyard scale for many years. Neighbors often complained about the jungle in my yard. I kept the "jungles" in raised beds, so the city would let me keep on experimenting, and mowed the lawn with a push-reel mower. By the time it became feasible for me to move back to the country, and start a larger scaled version, I had arrived at a concept that I called the "scythe-based farm". Instead of tilling, which would have required me to have a what I called a roto-tiller or tractor-based farm, I planned on a no-till method of heavy mulching with hay and straw, harvested from my own land with a scythe. Eventually I hoped to grow my own grains as well. The goal is to build the soil from the top, without using fossil fuels.
Yes, the "One Scythe Revolution" is an allusion, in part, to Masanobu Fukuoka's classic The One-Straw Revolution. Back in 1984, I attended a conference with Frances Moore Lappe, and this documentary was shown there. Up until then, my life's ambition had been to be an artist. After seeing this documentary, I was inspired to take a little detour, and become a Natural Farmer, and then do my art in all my free time, once Nature started doing most of the work. This turned out to be harder than it looks! I'm still working at it, but I think that the scythe could make Natural Farming work here in temperate climates. I hope to be writing more about that in future posts.