Distributor:  Global Environmental Justice
Length:  74 minutes
Date:  2015
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English; Korean; Japanese / English subtitles
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available

Curator

Natale Zappia, Associate Professor of History, Whittier College

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Final Straw

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A breathtaking journey through Japan, Korea, and the United States that turns our perceptions of food and life upside down in an amazingly simple and poetic way.

Final Straw

Curator
This film was selected by Natale Zappia, Associate Professor of History, Whittier College

Teacher's guide
A teacher's guide is in progress.  It will include maps, background information, discussion questions, suggested activities and supplementary resources.  Please join our mailing list so we can keep you informed about new titles and guides when they become available at no extra cost to subscribers.

Synopsis
Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness is a documentary by directors Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang. Filmed over a four year period in Japan, Korea and United States, the film finds inspiration in the work of diverse chefs and farmers who have been inspired by the philosophy of the late Masanobu Fukuoka and his seminal book One Straw Revolution which offers  what the filmmakers call  “a brilliant yet maddeningly simple path to sustainability and well being for people and the environment.”

The film is divided into three sections 1) Modern Life, 2) Foundations and Mindset of Natural Farming, and 3) Natural Farming in Practice and Life

A note from the filmmakers Suhee Kang and Patrick M. Lydon
"During the making of this film, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report which made clear to the world that we only have 60 years of farming left if we continue our ecologically destructive ways of growing food. Add to this, issues of social and economic inequality, resource depletion, and a changing climate that threatens our very existence, and the path forward seems daunting at the least. So where do we go from here?"

Teacher's Guide, Work in Progress
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for Final Straw: Food / Earth / Happiness.

Please sign up for our occasional GEJ newsletter and we'll
keep you informed when we add more guides and films.
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TRANSCRIPT FOR FINAL STRAW 

THIS FILM ALSO HAS AN INTERACTIVE TRANSCRIPT

 

NOTE THAT THE TIME CODE ON THIS  TRANSCRIPT BEGINS AT 3:20 DUE TO THE LATER REMOVAL OF AN ANIMATION AT THE HEAD OF THE FILM (NOW FOUND AT THE END OF THE FILM)

TO LOCATE A SCENE ON THE TRANSCRIPT, ADD 3:20 TO THE RUNNING TIME FOR THE VIDEO

 \OPENING CARDS

00:03:21

In 1975, Japanese plant-biologist-turned farmer

Masanobu Fukuoka penned a book

 

00:03:27

This book “One Straw Revolution” became
a cornerstone of the sustainable farming movement

 

00:03:34

More than just farming, the book offered hope
and guidance to a generation of people

 

00:03:40

who wanted to heal the wounds

of social and ecological injustice around them

 

00:03:46

Filmed in over three years in four countries

by two people with a camera and determination

 

00:03:52

this film is the story of individuals who, like Fukuoka

are changing the world... one straw at a time

 

Opening Sequence

 

00:04:03

A SocieCity Fılms Production

 

[YOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI
Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, Japan]

 

00:04:15

Humans and Animals,

 

00:04:20

as long as we are allowed to live in this universe,

 

00:04:25

and to live

within the nature of this earth

 

00:04:31

it's important to set time in your daily life

to let yourself be in nature.

 

00:04:39

Even if it's just a little bit.

 

00:04:44

To actively allow yourself time and place

within your capability is extremely important.

 

00:04:51

The outcome and product of this experience

is immeasurable.

 

[words begin to be obscured by background noise]

 

00:05:01

I would highly recommend it to everyone.

It's a basic part of life

 

00:05:08

and it's the way people 'should' live.

 

00:05:16

If you try it,

 

00:05:19

I'm sure you will understand it for yourself.

 

00:05:27

[You will understand for yourself

the beautiful nature of this world.]

 

00:05:41

[And how special it is that we human beings

are allowed to live in it.]

 

00:05:57

[Title Screen and Logo - Final Straw: food, earth, happiness]

 

Part 1 — Modern Life

Chapter 1 — Capitalism / Material Based Life

00:06:37

LARRY KORN

Author

Pupil of Masanobu Fukuoka

Oregon, USA

 

00:06:39

yes, of course the modern society and especially

the people that are making money,

 

00:06:46

the economics are geared towards everything

that natural farming is not.

 

00:06:52

It's exactly going in the other direction

in supporting a materialistic lifestyle

 

00:06:56

not caring about the degradation of the landscape

 

00:06:59

or what happens to other forms of life.

 

00:07:02

These are all the products of this human world.

 

00:07:05 – 00:08:18

[flowing and mysterious woodwind melody]

 

00:07:07

a film by patrick lydon and suhee kang

 

00:07:13

associate producer

kaori tsuji

 

00:08:08

filmed on location in japan, south korea, and the united states

 

00:08:17

KRISTYN LEACH

Natural Farmer, Namu Farm

San Francisco Bay Area, USA

 

00:08:20

There is an intentional way that...

for capitalism to function as a system,

 

00:08:26

agriculture had to become something different

than what it traditionally was.

 

00:08:31

So it's shifted from this subsistence way of living,

about self sufficiency and about community,

 

00:08:37

into being something that all of a sudden

was adopting an industrial standard of operation.

 

LARRY KORN

 

00:08:43

And then people get the idea somehow that

 

00:08:47

they can actually improve upon nature,

 

00:08:51

so they try this and that, thinking

that they can make human life better

 

KRISTYN LEACH

 

00:08:58

... the human species gets this great idea to innovate,

and move towards mechanizing things,

 

00:09:06

doing it on such a scale where,

 

00:09:09

I don't know how, as a farmer

you can have the personal investment

 

00:09:13

and knowledge of what's happening

 

LARRY KORN

 

00:09:16

Because of the limited understanding

that people have,

 

00:09:21

they can only get in the way,

mess things up somehow

 

00:09:25

and a side effect,

an unintended consequence occurs,

 

00:09:30

and so then people deal with that consequence

 

00:09:34

with the same way of thinking

that they did the first thing

 

00:09:38

and then that creates a consequence,

each one getting larger and larger,

 

00:09:43

until pretty much we find ourselves, today

all we're doing just about

 

00:09:47

is mitigating the unintended consequences

of the things that we've done in the past.

 

KRISTYN LEACH

 

00:09:53

By severing that type of relationship

that I think people typically have had with nature

 

00:10:01

and creating this sort of myth of a disconnect
that we're separate from it

 

00:10:06

has served a lot of things...

 

LARRY KORN

 

00:10:08

somewhere along the line

people got the idea that

 

00:10:11

human beings are different from other species,

that we're better,

 

00:10:16

we're of more value,

 

00:10:20

and that the world was given to us

to do whatever we wanted,

 

00:10:25

and that with our intellect

and through science,

 

00:10:28

we could actually improve things

for human beings

 

00:10:31

and, well, not so important what happens

to other species,

 

00:10:35

eeh, it's just collateral damage

 

00:10:38-00:11:25

[haunting and mechanical woodwind music ]

 

Chapter 2 — Earth is Paradise

 

SEONGHYUN CHOI

author, natural farmer

Hongcheon, South Korea

 

00:11:34

With the naked eye,

the universe seems separate from me,

 

00:11:40

but if you look closely

it is 'one big individual'

 

00:11:49

that is to say, the individual person

is inseparable from nature,

 

00:11:55

because we are nature.

 

00:12:00

In the universe, the Earth is

a very miraculous planet.

 

00:12:06

So far as modern science knows,

there is no such planet like Earth,

 

00:12:14

with swaying grass, flowing waters,

colorful blooming flowers, butterflies

 

00:12:22

Living on Earth, it means a blessing

 

00:12:26

and miracle in itself.

 

00:12:39

I believe that the Earth is heaven.

If there is a heaven, it’s here, on Earth.

 

00:12:45

And I think this way of thinking, living,

and farming is restoration of that heaven.

 

00:12:47 – 00:13:39

[Sound of crickets and cicedas in the forest]

 

00:13:40

ETSUKO KAGAMIYAMA

Natural Farmer

Fukuoka, Japan

 

00:13:45

When I am happy,

I can be happier in the fields.

 

00:13:51

When I am unhappy or going through troubled times,

I become happy in the fields.

 

00:13:58

If you have a problem with

your human relationships,

 

00:14:10

you can find the best answer

to solve it here.

 

00:14:22

RYOSOK HONG

Natural Farmer

Yeoncheon, South Korea

 

00:14:26

After rain, there is pure sunshine,

and a wind comes, grasses wiggle and wave.

 

00:14:33

At that point, I feel it's heavenly.

 

00:14:40

In those brilliant moments,

I'm so happy.

 

00:14:47

Before, I thought nature

and human beings were different,

 

00:14:56

but that changed the day I started farming

 

00:15:02

Now I feel that nature and I are the same.

This is a most rewarding pleasure

 

00:15:09

and it makes any other troubles I have

seem very insignificant.

 

ETSUKO KAGAMIYAMA

 

00:15:20

This place is like my canvas.

 

00:15:24

Just like drawing, I plant green peppers

for white flowers, or egg plants for purple.

 

00:15:39

Of course this changes each year. I planted egg

plants last year, so I have to give the soil rest.

 

00:15:48

The Okra grows so tall, like 2 meters.

 

00:15:53

So if I draw a picture with it,

I'll plant it at back, over there.

 

00:16:01

I want to say “Wow, it's beautiful!!”

when I come to my fields,

 

00:16:12

so I plant seeds by imaging a picture,

like I am drawing.

 

00:16:20

But I am not really drawing it,

the vegetables, plants, and flowers do it.

 

00:16:31

I like it.

  

Chapter 3 — Farmer Beginnings

 

00:16:37

MAKI SOBAJIMA

Akame Natural Farm Student

Osaka, Japan

 

00:16:40

In my normal life, I live in Osaka,

near Umeda, in the center of the city.

 

00:16:47 – 00:16:59

[sounds of people walking and the rumbling and hissing of trains]

 

[B-ROLL + CITY SOUND, OSAKA CITYSCAPE, COMMUTE WALKING, TRAIN]

 

00:17:00

Everyday was a life

where I would not step on anything but concrete

 

00:17:06

so I've always had a longing

for places like these.

 

00:17:12

Well, Children that come from the city

have problems touching insects, soil

 

00:17:21

and even getting dirty at all,

but when the parents talk to them saying

 

00:17:25

"hey look the frogs came out" or " look,

what a giant worm!", it sparks their interests

 

00:17:31

and they start replying "wow, that is

a big one! what's it called?"

 

00:17:35

It starts from that, and little by little,

they start being drawn into the abundant wildlife,

 

00:17:40

small plants and pretty flowers.

 

00:17:45

Also the fact that we(adults) are touching them,

makes them feel safe

 

00:17:50

and comfortable doing it themselves

and getting familiar with this nature.

 

00:17:55

I feel that that's the biggest harvest

in this experience.

 

RYOSOK HONG

 

00:18:05

Oh, I was in demand when I worked

as anyone else.

 

00:18:13

But suddenly I was fired from my company.

 

00:18:17

I felt that I didn't deserve to be fired.

I was absolutely furious.    

 

00:18:25

It was a very difficult time for me.

 

00:18:30

It was during this time

that someone gave me a Buddhist scripture.

 

00:18:40

In the book, there is an expression

'no form and no abiding (無相無住無相無住 )'.

 

00:18:47

It means we should not hold any image,

any form, any obsession,

 

00:18:47

and  ‘no abiding’, also means

we should live fluidly, the way a river flows.

 

00:19:06

At that time,

I could not accept this crap.

 

00:19:12

So I quit reading the book because

I couldn’t find comfort in it.

 

00:19:21

I started a small vegetable garden

near my house,

 

00:19:27

and I read books about farming.

 

00:19:32

Then I read Seonghyun Choi's writing

about natural farming.

 

00:19:42

In the book, he wrote 'farming is a symbiotic

relationship between plants and insects',

 

00:19:51

and this ‘symbiosis’ concept

touched my heart deeply.

 

00:19:57

Perhaps, this [Buddhist] concept of 'no form and

no abiding' that I previously couldn't accept

 

00:20:05

is also tied to the concept of symbiosis,

I thought.

 

00:20:11

And I read Kawaguchi’s book called

“Standing in miraculous garden”,

 

00:20:18

and then decided to do natural farming

 

00:20:23

and live a symbiotic life,

at least in the way of farming.

 

00:20:34

This is very joyful work

where I can overcome all difficulties.

 

00:20:40

I don't know how time goes by

when I work at farm.

 

00:20:47

Each experience is different

and it's amazing.

 

00:20:56

KENJI MURAKAMI

Natural Farmer

Fukuoka, Japan

 

00:21:01

In reading [Masanobu] Fukuoka-san’s book,

 

00:21:06

I found that natural farming concept

made a lot of sense to me.

 

00:21:12

So I weighed my current work life

against the prospect of natural farming.

 

00:21:20

I concluded that natural farming

was the best answer.

 

00:21:29

After this point my only thought was,

when do I quit my job?

 

00:21:49

It took me five years

to gain the courage to quit my job.

 

00:21:53

I actually wanted to quit

as soon as possible.

 

00:21:59

My family was against my idea

 

00:22:06

and I was also worried myself financially.

      

00:22:16

However, in these five years, my feeling

for natural farming became stronger

 

00:22:26

and I finally quit.

 

00:22:32

Before this, I lived in Fukuoka

 

00:22:37

Then, in the last year and a half,

I lived in Yokohama

 

00:22:47

I worked in Landmark Tower

 

00:22:53

[loud noises of city and machine, alternating with silence]

 

00:23:02

On the 46th floor and no way to open the windows.

 

00:23:10

I strongly felt, this is not a way of living for humans.

 

00:23:20

If I live a life, I want to be convinced

from the bottom of my heart...

 

00:23:26

...that this is the right way to live.

 

Part 2 – Natural Farming

Part 2 Opening Cards

 

00:23:38

When it rains, a golden spider

makes a web just outside the window

 

00:23:45

That spider never works too much

it just hangs from the beautiful bamboo tree

 

00:23:52

Like the spider, we don't need to work so hard 

or to make so much money

 

00:23:57

Just hang out on the earth.

 

00:24:05

Mr. Kita Osamu

Tokushima, Japan

 

Part 2 Opening Sequence

00:24:23

KAWAGUCHI YOSHIKAZU
Natural Farmer, Teacher, Author
Nara, Japan

 

00:24:31

Our family focused on profit

like every other farmer.

 

00:24:36

We didn't pay any attention

to environmental problems,

 

00:24:41

or safety in consumption of the crops

that were made this way.

 

00:24:49

We farmed that way for 23 years.

 

00:24:54

I started farming

when I was 15 years old.

 

00:25:00

There were no oil powered machines at the time.

 

00:25:05

All the work was done using tools such as

Kuwa(hoe), suki (plow), Kama (sickle), Shovel...

 

00:25:11

The daily work consisted of using our hands a lot

 

00:25:18

A little later, out of nowhere,

came the chemical fertilizers,

 

00:25:26

pesticides, herbicides(weed-killers),

and oil powered machines.

 

00:25:38

Little by little, we converted to chemical farming,

machine farming.

 

00:25:45

At the time, we didn't think it's wrong, or evil,

or anything like that

 

00:25:51

we just simply switched

to what was convenient and easy.

 

00:25:58

We had to make a living to survive.

 

00:25:04

So it was about how much we can make

 

00:26:09

and how much we can sell.

 

00:26:14 - 27:47

[Soft, driving percussive melody]

 

00:26:17

By then I was in my mid thirties.

I started to feel my physical and mental limits.

 

00:26:28

Thinking about the life ahead

made me depressed.

 

00:26:36

It seemed like there was no way forward.

 

00:26:41

I was physically and mentally going downhill.

 

00:26:47

I had started to doubt and lose hope

in the way of agriculture and in the way of living.

 

00:27:50

[sound of a car honk and vehicles humming]

 

Chapter 4 — Basic Natural Farming Ideas

 

SEONGHYUN CHOI

 

00:28:19

Historically, farming has been a process

of demolishing nature,

 

00:28:26

and without any reconsideration,

the process continues to this day.

 

KAWAGUCHI YOSHIKAZU

 

00:28:35

When you plow the land, you kill the lives

that were thriving within soil.

 

00:28:49

Once you kill the lives in the soil,

you create a world of death.

 

00:28:57-00:30:02

[Electronic humming and drum tapping]

 

00:30:02

YAMAMOTO YASHIKI

Natural Green Tea Farmer
Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

 

00:30:05

the soil itself has perfect nutrition

and a natural power to grow plants,

 

00:30:10

and the plants respond

to the farmers’ compassion and intention

 

00:30:09

But to acquire such a realization

and sensitivity takes time.

 

00:30:18

It is a fallacy that the soil needs fertilizers

to provide nutrition to the plants.

 

00:30:21

Such mistaken beliefs are difficult

to erase from one’s mind.

 

SEONGHYUN CHOI

 

00:30:27

Starting with Fukuoka,

a totally new perspective began.

 

LARRY KORN

 

00:30:53

Now to Fukuoka of course,

 

00:30:57

you know the usual approach to developing a system

 

00:30:59

is to say how about trying this

and how about trying that

 

00:31:02

he decided to go the opposite direction

00:31:05

how about not doing this

and how about not doing that.

 

KAWAGUCHI YOSHIKAZU

 

00:31:10

Anywhere you go on earth,

[natural farming] principles are the same.

 

00:31:16

The basic concepts are:

Don’t plow the fields,

 

00:31:21

weeds and insects are not your enemies.

 

00:31:25

There is no need for fertilizers,

 

00:31:30

and lastly to adjust depending on the climate,

and the foods you are growing.

 

00:31:35

If these are covered, you can grow food

pretty much anywhere in the world.

 

00:31:41

The idea is to answer to the nature,

 

00:31:45

and to life itself.

 

00:31:48

To follow it.

And in the end, let nature take control.

 

00:31:53

That's the basic concept of natural farming.

 

Chapter 5 — Intellect vs. Intuition / Progress

 

00:32:08

OSAMU KITA

natural farmer, teacher

Tokushima, Japan

 

00:32:09

Humans see ourselves as

the lords of all things.

 

00:32:14

Because we see ourselves at the top

of some evolutionary process.

 

00:32:17

The smaller creatures,

spiders, sparrows, earthworms,

 

00:32:21

they live and eat by moving around the fields

where they were born.

 

00:32:25

The plants in the field don't really move

their whole life, but they still sustain a life.

 

00:32:30

But humans?

 

00:32:25

We are so greedy, we take what we please

from everywhere around the world.

 

00:32:37

...constantly fighting

against others for it.

 

00:32:40

What kind of stupid bullshit is that?

 

00:32:43

At birth, we are all gifted with a natural

and deep sense of 'feeling'.

 

00:32:49

But we are miseducated

from a young age

 

00:32:53

by learning that big money or high social status

are the most valuable things in life.

 

00:32:57

We lose our ability

to feel and live with our true nature

 

00:33:03

But we can feel again,

we just have to remember.

 

00:33:08

All we need to do is stand in the field.

 

00:33:11

Let go of everything else,

of all the unnecessary things.

 

00:33:15

Start with the basic thing,

start with what you need to eat today.

 

00:33:19

Like Kawaguchi says "stop concerning yourself

with what society is doing."

 

00:33:27

Concentrate on yourself first and

learn to live as an individual on this earth.

 

KENJI MURAKAMI

 

00:33:43

Through coming to the field,

 

00:33:46

through coming in contact with plants,

insects and birds everyday,

 

00:33:52

I noticed that it's very important

to learn from the nature directly,

 

00:33:58

not only from books and people.

 

00:34:09

Seeing with your eyes,

 

00:34:13

hearing with your ears,

 

00:34:16

and feeling with your hands,

 

00:34:18

these are the most important ways to learn.

 

KRISTYN LEACH

 

00:34:27

Part of the beauty to me in natural farming

 

00:34:32

is that a lot of it is just based on you’ve

a relationship with the place that's under your feet.

 

00:34:38

You have to make informed decisions that are

partially guided by knowledge and research,

 

00:34:45

but also equally informed

by your intuition and your relationship.

 

LARRY KORN

 

00:34:49

Usually westerners refer to that as observation,

 

00:34:55

but to me observation implies the viewpoint,

it already implies the split, the separation

 

00:35:04

because it's the observer and the observed.

 

00:35:07

KAZUAKI OKITSU

Natural Farmer, Teacher
Tokushima Prefecture, Japan

 

00:35:12

I'm a part of nature.

 

00:35:17

I'm within the workings of nature.

 

00:35:23

So this makes it possible to ‘feel’ nature.

 

00:35:26

It can be said that here

is where one can also feel the ‘truth’.

 

00:35:32

'Truth’ is what you feel in your own body.

 

00:35:40

In natural field, natural farming field

 

00:35:48

In your working time, you can feel truth.

 

00:35:54

Through whole body.

 

00:35:58

It is not something to be asked or taught.

 

00:36:05

It is within yourself.

 

00:35:11

Yourself must catch it.

 

00:35:14 – 00:35:33

[A clarinet plays the song of a beetle]

 

00:35:37 – 00:38:15

[A wind quintet plays freely floating melody with the plants]

 

OSAMU KITA

 

00:38:21

I see the vegetables I look after,

and they grow with so much life

 

00:38:27

In the field when I look up into the sky

I see the beauty of nature that surrounds us.

 

00:38:32

The clouds up over the mountains,

a light breeze crosses my face

 

00:38:37

I see the worms and insects crawling up,

the birds and butterflies flitting here and there.

 

00:38:43

What a beautiful world we live on.

 

KENJI MURAKAMI

 

00:38:48

The feeling is one of being connected

with all the living things around you, and the field.

 

00:39:02

It is a good feeling,

giving you freedom from any fear or anxiety

 

LARRY KORN

 

00:39:30

It's not the technique, it's the view.

 

00:39:33

And once you have that view

 

00:39:37

you enter into nature and participate from the inside

instead of as a visitor from the outside,

 

00:39:42

then you'll know exactly what to do

 

Chapter 6 — Perception of Natural Farming

 

00:39:45

DENNIS LEE

Chef / Owner

Namu Gaji Farm and Restaurant
San Francisco, USA

 

00:39:47

There will be journalists who are

very interested in what we are doing

 

00:39:50

and they come to the farm and they’re expecting:

 

00:40:54

“okay, here's this natural, holistic approach

to farming. I can't wait to see it.”

 

00:40:01

“It's going to be this picturesque thing”

 

00:40:05

“with rows of perfect crops

and a shiny red tractor” and whatever...

 

00:40:12

and then they come there, and they're like

“woah, this just looks like...

 

00:40:25

...almost like a wild piece of land.”

 

SEONGHYUN CHOI

 

00:40:29

We human beings, don’t understand

how miraculous the Earth is,

 

00:40:41

and we live unhappily here.

 

00:40:47

Furthermore, we haven’t really learned

how to “live” here yet.

 

00:40:56

We are always busy fighting against something.

 

00:41:01

If we knew how to live peacefully

with insects and weeds,

 

00:41:07

both of us would be better for it.

 

00:41:12

Struggling with the nature has led us

to environmental problems, to unhealthy foods,

 

00:41:16

and our table has been polluted.

 

00:41:22

Given all of this, I think the natural way

is the best method

 

00:41:26

not only of farming

 

00:41:29

but of living.

 

00:41:32 – 00:41:53

[near silence with early morning birds chirping in the distance]

 

YOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI

 

00:41:55

People tend to think "to grow your crops rich,

you need to make your soil rich".

 

00:42:04

But those are thoughts by people

who haven't seen nature.

 

00:42:13

You don't have to make the soil rich.

You can't.

 

00:42:25

When you try to make the soil rich,

it will surely start to become poor.

 

00:42:40

If you don’t do anything, the life cycles of the organisms

will make the soil fertile.

 

00:42:53

And for that to happen, what you need is time.

Time to let the organisms live and die,

 

00:43:04

and make a circulation within the soil

just like in the natural forest

 

00:43:19 – 00:43:44

[Sounds of birds, breeze, and soft hum of vehicles far away]

 

RYOSEOK HONG

 

00:43:45

Everyday I politely greet the field twice.

 

00:43:51

At the beginning it was perfunctory,

but now I say the words sincerely, with feeling.

 

00:44:00

Before if somebody told me that I was crazy,

I would get angry at them.

 

00:44:05

I would promise myself to kick their ass

just to make them regret their words.

 

00:44:12

I don't feel that way anymore.

 

00:44:16

I am grateful for what I do in itself. 

 

Chapter 7 — Cycle of Life / Hidden Circle

 

SEONGHYUN CHOI

 

00:44:23

Instead of plowing the land,

 

00:44:27

one can feed the land with

what it really needs for its health,

 

00:44:33

By allowing the hidden circle that sustains

and purifies the earth to recover itself.

 

00:44:47

You can say that it works like a food chain

 

00:44:54

this ‘mysterious' hidden circle that connects us

with everything else.

 

00:45:03

On this farm,

the hidden circle is alive and well.

 

00:45:07

There is a constant cycle of death and birth

of trees, insects and everything else

 

00:45:12

yet instead of a mountain of dead corpses,

we have healthy land and fresh air.

 

00:45:20

That is because here

the ‘hidden circle’ is allowed to prosper

 

00:45:28

In the modern farming,

we don't see it that way

 

00:45:33

We fight against insects and weeds,

 

00:45:36

But it's not like that here on the natural farm.

 

00:45:42

Here, the way of the ‘hidden circle’

is alive and well,

 

00:45:46

and the damage that would have been caused

by insects or chemicals goes away.

 

00:45:51

That’s when you experience

how much power the planet Earth has,

 

00:45:57

and we come to appreciate it

with blessing and gratitude.

 

00:46:02

But this would be hard to experience

with other farming methods.

 

00:46:02 – 00:46:35

[calming pastoral woodwind instrument music ]

 

00:46:36

[abrupt sound of machine]

 

00:46:37 – 00:46:42

[silence]

 

YOSHIKI YAMAMOTO

 

00:46:44

These fields were once conventional farms

where tea and tomatoes were grown.

 

00:46:53

At that time, the river did not have any fish in it

and there were no lightning bugs in the reeds.

 

00:46:59

That was strange since there were plenty of both

living there when I was a child.

 

00:47:04

However, I began to notice that as the farmers

left the area abandoning their fields,

 

00:47:11

the more fish there were in the river

and the more lightning bugs flitted among the reeds.

 

00:47:23

Now I notice wild birds living there of a kind that

we have never seen in this area until recently.

 

00:47:31

This year, the birds have chosen

to raise their families here

 

00:47:36

and can be seen happily walking in the paddy

and fields with their chicks.

 

00:47:32

They seem to like staying in that paddy.

 

00:47:46

I think this is an indication that the ecosystem in this

area has been enriched and is regaining its health.

 

00:47:57

It seems the practice of natural farming

can help the surrounding environment,

 

00:48:03

reviving the scenery as it was long ago and restoring

our sense of beauty and peace.

 

00:48:07

[sounds of cawing and chirping birds]

 

SEONGHYUN CHOI

 

00:48:16

Look, there are many microorganisms,

and the soil is both a meal and a house for them.

 

00:48:25

The ‘hidden circle’ is here

 

00:48:30

and there are things far beyond what you could

ever imagine, happening in this soil right now.

 

00:48:43

I cannot help but to have a humble admiration

for this grand nature,

 

00:48:49

and for all of the life exchanges

happening in this soil.

 

00:48:56

Such a feeling cultivates modesty and happiness

within my daily life.

 

00:49:00 – 00:50:02

[playful music on kalimba ]

 

Chapter 8 — (Bio)Diversity

 

KENJI MURAKAMI

 

00:50:07

Keeping diversity is

a very important point of farming.

 

00:50:13

Likewise, the natural world on its own,

becomes more diversified as time passes.

 

00:50:22

This diversity is important

because the environment is always changing,

 

00:50:27

there is always a struggle for existence,

 

00:50:32

and only living things suitable

for a given environment can survive there.

 

00:50:38

Considering this natural system, having many

varieties of species in small amounts

 

00:50:44

creates a stronger possibility for survival than having

a large amount of only one specie.

 

00:50:52

This is especially true

in this changing environment.

 

00:51:00

As a farmer, what I can do is

to plant seeds every year,

 

00:51:07

to harvest the plants that grow,

 

00:51:14

and to cook and eat the delicious plants.

 

00:51:21

I put the seed

back into the ground next year.

 

00:51:26

If all of these processes happen repeatedly,

 

00:51:32

then a new tradition can be born

 

00:51:39

which creates a strong natural cycle.

 

00:51:45

In order to accomplish this however

 

00:51:53

I must have a small scale farm.

 

00:52:00

[drums and cymbals crashing ]

 

00:52:08

[ guitars and drums with group singing

la, la, la, la, la ]

 

00:52:38

[ accordion and violin join

singers continuing, la, la, la, la ]

 

00:53:05

[ tempo quickens, accordion and violin play an up-tempo

circus-like tune ]

 

00:54:27

[music ends, sounds of people talking in crowded shopping mall]

 

Part 3 — In Practice and Life

Part 3 Opening Cards

00:54:34

Every time we stand in nature

with the plants, the animals, and the vast sky above

 

00:54:39

we can feel joy in that simple moment;

smile if only because we are a part of life on earth

 

00:54:46

Everyone has these small moments

Everyone gets it, even if we don't realize it

 

00:54:52

We understand nature inside ourselves

We just need to cultivate this understanding

 

00:55:00

Kazuaki Okitsu,

Tokushima, Japan

 

Part 3 Opening Sequence

YOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI

 

00:55:05

Without a doubt, being here in nature will give you

peace physically and mentally.

 

00:55:11

And being around the 'lives' here

also give you assurance of your own existence.

 

00:55:18

In the city, where there only exist humans

and no other kinds of ‘lives’.

 

00:55:25

It can be mentally and physically draining.

 

00:55:29

The question is, how can you keep your peace

and sanity in a place like that.

 

00:55:36

Slowly, you become physically drained,

and your hearts become lean.

 

00:55:41

To overcome that in a city,

you need to understand

 

00:55:49

that the city

is a part of the universe

 

00:55:57

The same universe which houses the Earth,

the city, and this nature.

 

00:56:05

It is the source and support for all the lives.

 

00:56:21

It's important to understand

that no matter where you live,

 

00:56:26

in the nature or in the city…

 

00:56:32

That you live in a vast universe.

 

00:56:43

If you lose sight of this universe and this nature

while living in a city,

 

00:56:57

you will not be able to have peace in your soul.

 

00:57:11

Understand and accept that you live a universe,

and not in the city.

 

Chapter 9 — Doing Natural Farming

 

LARRY KORN

 

00:57:46

If you're a farmer,

 

00:57:49

it's not that farming

is intrinsically better than any other vocations.

 

00:57:55

But with farming,

you're out in the fields all the time,

 

00:58:00

you're interacting with the plants and soil

and the insects and the other creatures,

 

00:58:04

so you're right there.

 

00:58:06

The chance of having this experience

is so much greater when you're in the natural world

 

00:58:13

then when you're, for example,

sitting at a desk in a cubicle

 

00:58:19

Because all you see around you is the human things,

the products of human thought,

 

00:58:24

so it's hard to imagine a world outside of that.

 

00:58:25 – 00:58:58

[sound of birds chirping and machines]

 

YOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI

 

00:59:00

The people who visit [Akame Natural Farm School]

have been living life in the city,

 

ETSUKO KAGAMIYAMA

 

00:59:11

they tend to be young generation

who are tired of the life in the city

 

00:59:21

and lost the power to live energetically.

 

YOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI

 

00:59:30

and their parents too.

They're born and grow up in the city.

 

ETSUKO KAGAMIYAMA

 

00:59:39

Or, If they are not tired of the city, they are

looking for the true value of life,

 

00:59:49

somewhere outside of the city

which is covered by concrete.

 

YOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI

 

00:59:59

And at some point they stopped

and questioned their way of life.

 

01:00:03 – 01:00:22

[Sound of train wheels clacking as the train pulls away from station]

 

01:00:07

They realized that society won't change for them,

 

01:00:12

that the government won't change for them,

 

01:00:16

that others won't change for them.

 

01:00:21

Eventually they realize that

nothing will change,

 

01:00:28

unless they change the lives

they live for themselves.

 

01:00:34

That's the root of it.

  

LARRY KORN

 

01:00:38

So, what are the benefits of natural farming?

 

01:00:43

Well of course you learn

to feed and clothe your family

 

01:00:46

in a way in which the earth is enriched,

 

01:00:50

you become partners again

with the other forms of life

 

01:00:53

and there's this upwelling of great joy,

what's not to like, really?

 

01:00:58

Except that you have to give up, …

 

01:01:01

you do pretty much have to give up

the materialistic toys

 

01:01:08

which really have no place in that world.

 

01:01:11

So you need to make a commitment.

 

RYOSEOK HONG

 

01:01:24

I recommend natural farming to my sons, but they're

in high school and middle school.

 

01:01:33

I told them that after graduation they should live in

society for more than 10 years.

 

01:01:40

And if they want to live as a farmer,

they should go somewhere else

 

01:01:45

somewhere other than

my already established farm.

 

01:01:48

So they can suffer and make a farm

like their father did for 10 years.

 

01:01:53

Then they will be ready to be farmers.

 

01:01:56

During this painful period,

they can awaken

 

01:02:01

and realize the great joy in this earth.

 

LARRY KORN

 

01:02:07

So in your personal life,

how do you make this transition?

 

01:02:12

Well, I've kind of found it useful to follow

the same technique,

 

01:02:17

how about not doing this

or not doing that,

 

01:02:19

in the form of, in your personal life

living as simply as possible,

 

01:02:24

and there's great freedom

and joy in living simply...

 

01:02:29

so of course there's that,

 

01:02:32

and then there's changing the light bulbs

in your house, and things...

 

01:02:36

but it's in the thoughts.

 

RYOSEOK HONG

 

01:02:41

I think natural farming is the chance to get out from

this main stream of capitalism.

 

01:02:46

Money is not a value, it is only a method.

 

01:02:53

I believe we should be immersed

in the real value as we age.

 

DENNIS LEE

 

01:03:03

To me it's more like there is some bigger change

that (hopefully) that we can't see that's happening.

 

01:03:13

I think that's true in life in general

 

01:03:16

from my personal experience and accounts

from older and wiser people

 

01:03:22

is that during those times in your life

when you feel desperation

 

01:03:26

and you feel like things are the toughest

 

01:03:31

is usually when you are going through

some kind of change,

 

01:03:35

or something you didn't realize

has a big effect

 

01:03:42

and all of a sudden

you have a whole new perspective.

 

01:03:47

I think as a society,

we are kind of going through that.

 

Chapter 10 — As a Job / Self Sufficiency

 

KENJI MURAKAMI

 

01:04:03

I grow vegetables as my job.

 

01:04:09

Somebody who loves cooking uses

my vegetables as his or her job.

 

01:04:18

To combine our efforts and passions together

is good for both of us.

 

ETSUKO KAGAMIYAMA

 

01:04:32

The purpose is to feed myself.

 

01:04:36

I grow what my family and I

want to eat everyday.

 

01:04:42

For example, rice, several kinds of

potatoes, beans, leaf vegetables,

 

01:04:55

egg plants, tomatoes, green peppers.

 

01:05:00

All these are what my family eats everyday.

 

RYOSEOK HONG

 

01:05:09

After returning to farming, not just my farming

but also my family's lifestyle changed a lot.

 

01:05:19

My wife managed a clothing store, and one day

I asked her to close the store.

 

01:05:32

I told her it doesn’t fit my lifestyle.

I'm trying to save money, conserve goods, recycle waste...

 

01:05:45

but you promote spending money

by selling clothes at your store.

 

01:05:50

convincing customers that they'll be happier

if they buy more stupid mini skirts

 

01:05:56

How can this work? It doesn’t make sense for two

different value systems to exist in one home.

 

01:06:02

So I asked, although it may be difficult, how about

trying to find a job that she can do in the countryside.

 

01:06:08

So she quit the shop

 

01:06:11

Now she teaches healthy

physical education classes.

 

OKITSU

 

01:06:21

Hoe and sickle, it's enough.

 

01:06:26

You know? Hoe, Sickle?

 

01:06:30

It's Enough.

 

01:06:32

Twenty years.

 

01:06:36

More than twenty years, I did it.

 

01:06:40

I send many vegetables to our customers.

 

01:06:47

It’s easy.

 

01:06:49

No fertilizer

 

01:06:51

No pesticide

 

01:06:54

and no other things.

 

01:06:57

Only nature.

 

01:06:59

We need only nature.

 

01:07:01

It’s very easy.

 

01:07:04

No money.

 

01:07:05

[Interviewee heartily laughing]

 

01:07:11

[no money farming?]

 

01:02:12

Yes, no money farming. Yes.

 

01:07:15

It's enough.

 

Chapter 11 — Relationships

 

YOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI

 

01:07:48

When many people gather, and do these types of

work, no matter how meaningful the work was,

 

01:07:53

for the experience to sink in and last for five, ten years,

there must develop some relationship with others.

 

01:07:57

Relationship between staff members

and students and to each other.

 

01:08:01

if this doesn't go well, the experience

would not have a lasting impact

 

YOSHIKI YAMAMOTO

 

01:08:06

If I were thinking only about making money,

 

01:08:10

I wouldn’t have met the wonderful

people who surround me today.

 

01:08:16

Be it people’s health, the environment,

or the creation of a Paradise on Earth,

 

01:08:24

the most important key to success is that

you have something beyond your own needs

 

01:08:31

as the motivation

for engaging in this endeavor.

 

KENJI MURAKAMI

 

01:08:40

When scale increases, people begin to separate their

jobs, and only know their individual role.

 

01:08:46

Instead, we should be able to take interest

in what others are doing.

 

01:08:54

This way we can cook and eat food

with a grateful heart.

 

KRISTYN

 

01:09:03

...It's beyond just how you grow food,

it's how you approach everything

 

01:09:07

and if I can be really thoughtful

and intentional about my relationships

 

01:09:12

with a bacteria, a fungus,

a gopher, and a bird,

 

01:09:17

you know, most likely I can start to rethink

the ways I'm relating to different people

 

01:09:23

and social relationships

that function on a bigger level...

 

01:09:27

it has much bigger implications, basically

beyond the immediate physical nourishment it gives you.

 

ETSUKO KAGAMIYAMA

 

01:09:36

In my village, relationship between the people

aren’t based on natural farming.

 

01:09:43

They each have their own ways of farming,

some use chemical fertilizers and pesticides,

 

01:09:56

and I think it would be wrong for me

to force them to change their ways of course.

 

01:10:01

If they change, some people might change

just through looking at our way of life.

 

01:10:09

In fact a lot of people nearly 100 have already

come to learn natural farming here.

 

01:10:18

I have a small hope in my heart,

that things may change in the near future.

 

YOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI

 

01:10:26

It’s not that everyone must live a farming life

 

01:10:32

or that everyone must be a farmer.

 

01:10:38

It's more that everyone,

especially young children or young adults

 

01:10:43

should put themselves on the field, in nature,

the ocean, the mountain

 

01:10:57

In the various subjects and directions

people may pursue in career,

 

01:11:02

whether it's education, art, economics,

 

01:11:10

having the understanding of nature and life

is extremely important.

 

01:11:19

If you try it, I'm sure you will

understand it for yourself.

 

01:11:31

You will understand for yourself

 

01:11:39

what a beautiful nature we are allowed to live in.

 

--

 

ENDING CARD (Post Credits)

 

01:14:00

Your actions can change the world.

Join us at www.finalstraw.org

"[the film] enables us to catch a glimpse of the people and things which society cannot ordinarily grasp or see... thank you for your beautiful work" – Kim JaeHyung / Korean philosopher and activist

“Wow!! A great film … both art and documentary.” – Alicia Bay Laurel | author of 'Living on the Earth'

“Thought-provoking and inspiring … a powerful call to action” – Clean Eating Magazine

“Meditative, mindful … a beautiful film.” – Barbara Baker / BBC, mindful pie

“Loved it so much … filled with TLC” – Keibo Oiwa / author of 'Slow is Beautiful'

“A film with a very big heart … the world needs such films now more than ever.” – Brian Covert / journalist based in Japan

"The film filled me up with great joy and inspiration...I knew it was going to uplift and give a new perspective to my soul, but I didn't know how deeply it would do those things! I'm going to watch the film today... for the 8th time." – Rafayah Uzzyah, Philadelphia, USA

"[the film] enables us to catch a glimpse of the people and things which society can not ordinarily grasp or see... thank you for your beautiful work" – Kim JaeHyung / Korean philosopher and activist

“Full of beautiful moments and messages that inspired and brought tears to my eyes...” – Rena Komatsu, Tokyo, Japan


Awards

In 2015-2016, the directors undertook a 110-date screening and event tour of Japan and Korea to much celebration. This work included the piloting of a community-based restaurant and garden project called “REALtimeFOOD,” which gained considerable attention and has since been replicated and produced by multiple community and nonprofit organizations.

The film's grassroots popularity doesn't seem to be slowing down. As of 2018, the film has been translated voluntarily by teams of translators around the world into seven languages (English, Korean, Japanese, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, Turkish, with others in progress) and continues to enjoy community screenings and events held regularly around the world.

In March 2018, the directors continue their work by opening “The Branch,” an environmental art and media lab and natural farm in Osaka, Japan that was inspired by their time spent producing Final Straw. They continue to work in collaboration with natural farmers around the world.

Citation

Main credits

Lydon, Patrick (film director)
Lydon, Patrick (film producer)
Lydon, Patrick (director of photography)
Kang, Suhee (film director)
Kang, Suhee (film producer)
Kang, Suhee (director of photography)

Other credits

Animation by Heeyoug Park.


Distributor credits

Patrick M. Lydon and Suhee Kang

Patrick M. Lydon and Suhee Kang

Directed by- Patrick M. Lydon, Suhee Kang
Produced by - SocieCity Films
Written by - Patrick M. Lydon, Suhee Kang, Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, Larry Korn, Kristyn Leach
Music by – WindSync, Bomnoonbyul, Joyful Island, Ippen
Cinematography by – Patrick M. Lydon
Distributed by – Gumroad (International), Kaori Tsuji (Japan)

Docuseek2 subjects

Environmental Justice
Agriculture and Food
Asian Studies
Bioregions and Habitat
Asia
Geography
Environmental Science
Agriculture Sector
Citizenship, Social Movements and Activism
Race and Racism
Farming
Agribusiness
Food
Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
Global / International Studies
Environmental Education
Biodiversity
Endangered Species and Extinction
Environmentalists
Health, Healthcare, Medicine and Nursing
Ecology
East Asia
United States
Habitat Restoration

Distributor subjects

Activism
Agriculture
Asian Studies
Biodiversity
Biology
Buddhism
Capitalism
Conservation Biology
Consumerism
Ecosystems
Environmental Anthropology
Environmental Education
Environmental Geography
Envronmental Justice
Farming
Food
Habitat Loss
Health and Health Care
Japan
Korea
North American Studies
Pollution
Public Health
Religion
Religion and Ecology
Solutions
Sustainability
United States

Keywords

"Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness" Japan, Korea, United States, United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Masanobu Fukuoka, "One Straw Revolution", Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, Seonghyun Choi, Larry Korn, Patrick Lydon, Suhee Kang, Seong Hyun Choi,Buddhism, Gaeguri Farm, natural farming,microorganisms, soil, Akame Natural Farm School; "Final Straw "; Global Environmental Justice

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