First published in English 30 years ago, this little green tome by Masanobu Fukuoka has been reissued by The New York Review of Books as part of its Classics series. And the timing couldn’t be better—as issues of sustainability, agribusinesses and the use of chemical fertilizers have come to the fore, the book is more relevant than ever.
Fukuoka (1913-2008) was a farmer who employed radical methods to grow his crops, like cultivating rice in dry fields and not weeding by tillage. (The title comes from his innovative system of spreading straw in gardens.) This compact work puts forth his opinions and chronicles the success he enjoyed with these and other practices. There are also interesting and informative mandala-like diagrams showing seasonal Japanese produce and seafood.
Anyone who supports the Slow Food movement, enjoys working in a garden, or is concerned with sustainability will treasure The One-Straw Revolution—and most likely share it with many friends. Fukuoka’s book beautifully conveys his belief in eating healthful, natural food, and in doing so reminds us that an egg should taste like an egg.
By Masanobu Fukuoka
The New York Review of Books, 2009, 184pp, ¥1,535
This review first appeared in Metropolis magazine: