Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Marc Los Huertos

Reader 2

Char Miller

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© 2018 Katharine Y Graham


In Japan’s postwar era, agriculture has become highly industrialized, involving heavy machinery, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides, all in the name of “progress.” Through employing such practices, humans have attempted to improve upon nature’s way of doing things, and in turn have degraded the soil’s fertility, natural ecosystems, and human health. In response to this, Shizen Nōhō has emerged in Japan as an alternative way of cultivating food. Shizen Nōhō practitioners challenge the notion that we need chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery to farm successfully. Rather, they advocate for a way of growing food that functions seamlessly with natural ecosystems. This thesis explores the value of Shizen Nōhō in sustaining the natural environment, providing food for communities, and catalyzing a shift towards a more harmonious relationship with nature. By drawing on the research I conducted in central Japan, I illustrate how Shizen Nōhō offers a solution that can reunite people to the ecosystems that sustain them. Placing Shizen Nōhō within the larger context of Japan’s food system, I detail ways in which the priorities of the Japanese government and agricultural industry are not compatible with Shizen Nōhō. Therefore, if Shizen Nōhō is to be more widely adopted in Japan, communities must drive this change, rather than governmental and industrial entities. If adopted, Shizen Nōhō may serve as a vehicle for transforming the way humans interact with and view themselves in relation to nature.