What is Natural Food?

Is it food which contains no artificial chemicals or additives? Is it wild food as found in nature? Is it cultivated food as grown by farmers?

Let’s take a look at what Masanobu Fukuoka has to say when comparing an egg laid by one of his native hens running free compared to the egg laid by a hen cooped up on a typical farm:

He found that the yolks of the eggs laid by the chickens cooped up on the typical farm were soft and watery and their colour was pale yellow. They are not a product of nature but rather a concoction of synthetically grown feed, chemicals and hormones. Whereas he observed that the yolks of the eggs laid by the chickens living wild on the mountain were firm and resilient and bright orange in colour, a product of nature. When the old man who runs the sushi restaurant in town tasted one of these natural eggs, he said that this was a ‘real egg’, just like in the old days, and rejoiced as if it were some precious treasure.

Again, up in the tangerine orchard, where there are many different vegetables growing among the weeds and clover, the conversation turned to whether or not these vegetables had a better flavour than those grown in the home garden or with the aid of chemical fertiliser in the fields. The vegetables had been grown in a semi-wild manner: turnips, burdock, cucumbers and squash, peanuts, carrots, edible chrysanthemums, potatoes and onions, leaf mustard, cabbage, several varieties of beans and many other herbs and vegetables and were all growing together. When compared the taste was completely different, and it was determined that the wild vegetables possessed a richer flavour.

Fukuoka claims that when vegetables are grown with natural groundcover in soil naturally rich in organic matter, they get a more balanced diet of nutrients than the vegetables that are grown in a prepared field using fertilisers of nitrogen, phosphorous and potash. He also claims that the presence of a great variety of weeds and grasses means a variety of essential nutrients and micronutrients are available to the vegetables. Plants which grow in such balanced soil have a more subtle flavour

Furthermore edible herbs and wild vegetables, plants growing on the mountain in the meadow, are very high in nutritional value and are also useful as medicine. Food and medicine are not two different things: they are the front and the back of one body. Synthetically grown vegetables may be eaten for food, but they cannot be used as medicine.

“Produce grown in an unnatural way satisfies people’s fleeting desires but weakens the human body and alters the body chemistry so that it is dependent on such foods. When this happens, vitamin supplements and medicines become necessary. This situation only creates hardship for the farmer and suffering for the consumer”.


*Ref. Masanobu Fukuoka The One Straw Revolution