Seedballs and Masanobu Fukuoka in Greece — then and now
I have been interested in Masanobu Fukuoka’s ‘do nothing’ approach to farming since reading ‘The Natural Way of Farming’ some years ago as a part of early studies in permaculture. My interest was especially piqued in October last year when I watched the first three videos shown here in which Fukuoka applies his seedball method to Mediterranean climate Greece. Fukuoka visited Panayiotis Manikis’ farm in Edessa in 1998 and undertook a major project in ecological restoration using seedballs in the hillsides surrounding Edessa. Seedballs seem as though they are perfect for brittle landscapes in which rainfall is concentrated to a particular part of the year. The Edessa project was particularly important as Fukuoka says that:
“The biggest effort so far has definitely been here in Greece.”
Sadly, there have been no ‘after’ photos that I have been able to get hold of. A comment on YouTube from someone who says that he was 12 at the time and in the second video suggests that the area was grazed by sheep and goats which ate any new foliage as the seeds sprouted.
The photo archive on Manikis’ website suggests that seeding has been proceeding apace for the last few years. Aside from a few photos of seeds sprouting form seedballs in the photo archive, there are still few indications of the efficacy of this method in Greece. Most of the sprouts shown are vegetables seedlings, though I did notice a few perennial nitrogen fixers.
Thanks to Tina Lymberis of mediarize a recent seed balling event, the Paros Seed Festival was captured on video. It certainly looks fun!
I hope to get a chance to visit Edessa and Manikis’ farm this year. Hopefully I can get a better sense of how viable seedballs are on this scale. I’m really excited about this method for the development of forest gardening in Mediterranean climates. I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who has experience with using seedballs in Mediterranean climates.
More information on the use of seedballs in ecological restoration is available at:
- On Seedballs — This site also has a few other videos of Fukuoka in Greece in Japanese and in Greek.
More information on the 1998 and other seedings is available here: