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What are the key principles of natural farming according to Masanobu Fukuoka?

Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming, also known as “do-nothing farming,” is based on four key principles that emphasize minimal human intervention and a deep respect for natural processes. These principles are:

1. No Cultivation (No Tilling of the Soil):
Fukuoka believed that plowing or tilling the soil disrupts its natural structure and promotes weed growth. Instead, he advocated for letting the soil cultivate itself through the natural activities of plant roots, worms, and microorganisms[1][2][3][5].

2. No Chemical Fertilizers or Prepared Compost:
Fukuoka argued that chemical fertilizers and prepared composts are unnecessary and can harm the soil’s natural fertility. He promoted the use of cover crops like clover and alfalfa, which naturally enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen and adding organic matter[1][2][3][5].

3. No Weeding by Tillage or Herbicides:
Rather than using tillage or chemical herbicides to control weeds, Fukuoka recommended suppressing weeds by spreading straw over freshly sown ground and planting ground cover crops. This method helps maintain a natural balance and reduces the need for weeding[1][2][3][5].

4. No Dependence on Chemical Pesticides:
Fukuoka observed that a diverse and balanced ecosystem naturally controls pests and diseases. By creating a habitat that mimics natural ecosystems, with a variety of plant species, he found that pests were kept in check without the need for chemical pesticides[1][2][3][5].

These principles reflect Fukuoka’s broader philosophy of working with nature rather than against it, allowing natural processes to maintain and enhance the health and productivity of agricultural systems. His approach has influenced sustainable agriculture practices worldwide, promoting methods that are environmentally friendly and ecologically sound.

[1] https://vinyessonalegre.com/2018/03/07/masanobu-fukuoka-and-the-four-principles-of-natural-farming/
[2] https://tomchurch.co.uk/masanobu-fukuoka-on-natural-farming-philosophy-and-doing-nothing/
[3] https://www.permaculturenews.org/2020/07/25/the-philosophy-of-masanobu-fukuoka/
[4] https://www.permaculturenews.org/2020/08/08/fukuoka-natural-farming-and-the-developing-world/
[5] https://www.permalogica.com/post/natural-farming-a-comprehensive-overview