Monday, May 25, 2009

The Brand of "DO NOTHING FARMING":Single Straw Revolution...........................

"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."
Masanobu Fukuoka
Recently I read "One Straw Revolution" by Masanobu Fukuoka and it moved me. Fukuoka’s philosophy around farming has the ability to inform a broad range of topics and strategies. Ultimately, it is about quieting our cleverness in a way that allows us to see how we really can do more with less.
For those not familiar with the book, One Straw Revolution is an engaging story of a unique Japanese farmer named Fukuoka. A man many credit with inspiring the permaculture movement. Folks marvel at his approach to farming because he creates sustainable and bountiful crops year after year, while only working on his land a fraction of the time compared to other local farmers. While other farmers are busy harrowing, tilling, seeding and plowing, Fukuoka seems still and Zen like. His energy is focused on handling the seeds in his home and then observing the land. His methodology has been described as do-nothing farming which is ironic, because by doing nothing he has actually mastered the art of doing more.
How can we shift our thinking and behavior in a way that we are more resourceful, efficient and sustainable over time? Look back on the past year. What really mattered? What made a difference? How much capital (human and financial) was wasted because you did not take the time to be present and truly understand the essence of your surroundings? Imagine how different the past year would have been if you simply had taken the time to quiet yourself and observe before doing. My sense is that there is an amazing opportunity to shift our focus and obsession away from doing to observing and reflecting followed by design (note:
Otto Scharmer’s Theory U is a great resource for more on this discussion, as is Sister Corita Kent’s rule #8 and Buckminster Fuller’s Trimtab principle).
It is my fervent belief that growing a brand is an art, and that we are desperate for more artists. We need leaders willing to adopt the art of do-nothing branding. In other words, let’s loose the habit of becoming intoxicated with the latest, greatest
thing and instead, become artists that are focused less on a tactic and more on the effect we wish to create.
For example, wh
at if brandsseeking to enter into the green movement were less inclined to create a green product and more apt to invest time in finding the right set of principles and positioning that could ignite a new ethos in their entire culture?
In essence, discovering the acupuncture point for driving a brand by sitting back to observe the canvas, before frantically rushing to the brush. My premise is that by investing in this new breed of artist we will not only spend less capital, but also be exponentially more efficient and strong. We will, in essence, OPTIMIZE the value of the journey for all involved.
Fukuoka describes Natural Farm
ing as "… a Buddhist way of farming that originates in the philosophy of 'Mu' or nothingness, and returns to a 'do-nothing' nature." He writes about Mahayana Natural Farming (Mahayana is one of the two major schools or sects of Buddhism) as "… the very embodiment of life in accordance with nature… [it] is realized when man becomes one with nature, for it is a way of farming that transcends time and space and reaches the zenith of understanding and enlightenment."
Although natural farming — sin
ce it can teach people to cultivate a deep understanding of nature - may lead to spiritual insight, it's not strictly a spiritual practice. Natural farming is just farming, nothing more. You don't have to be a spiritually oriented person to practice this methods. Anyone who can approach these concepts with a clear, open mind will be starting off well. In fact, the person who can most easily take up natural agriculture is the one who doesn't have any of the common adult obstructing blocks of desire, philosophy, or religion... the person who has the mind and heart of achild. One must simply know nature... real nature, not the one we think we know!" "Many people think that when we practice agriculture, nature is helping us in our efforts to grow food. This is an exclusively human-centered viewpoint... we should instead, realize that we are receiving that which nature decides to give us.A farmer does not grow something in the sense that he or she creates it. That human is only a small part of the whole process by which nature expresses its being. The farmer has very little influence over that process... other than being there and doing his or her small part."

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