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Masanobu Fukuoka Planting 100,000 hectares in Arnissa, Greece, 1998

March 11, 2012

I came across this video about Masanobu Fukuoka‘s endeavor to seed 100,000 hectares with community support in Arnissa, Greece.  See movie here. The movie is a documentation of 80 year old Fukuoka’s insights and philosophy, and the process of making the clay seed balls and seeding the barren hillsides surrounding Arnissa. The clay seed ball method of mass planting is originally an ancient practice in which seeds for the next season’s crops are mixed together, sometimes with humus or compost for microbial inoculants and then are rolled within clay to form into small balls, which can then be broadcasted across large areas.

After watching the short film, naturally I was curious to know how the project turned out. What does the area look like today in 2012, fifteen years after initial seeding? My attempts to find some sort of documentation on the internet were to no avail. I read a few blurbs from indirect sources variously stating that, a) many of the seeds had been grazed by sheep, b) someone saw photos of the seeds germinating… but nothing concrete. As I am spending a fair bit of time in Greece these days, maybe I’ll head up North and have a look for myself.

If any readers of this website have information to offer related to the outcome of this project, I’d be interested to know. And judging by what I’ve come across on the internet, so would a lot of other people.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2012 10:08:16 am

    That would be an amazing thing to do…following in that great man’s footsteps and hopefully some of what he tried to do is growing on. I think all of us that read your blog on a regular basis will be waiting with baited breath to see if you do check this out. Might be an article in it for National Geographic :o).

  2. Daryl Bartle permalink
    October 18, 2012 10:08:38 pm

    So any information, am also very curious to know.

  3. January 21, 2013 10:08:14 am

    Is there any answer?? somebody find out?

    • January 22, 2013 10:08:06 pm

      I’m afraid not… At least not that I know of. Unfortunately I never made it up there. My pessimistic assumption is that sheep and goats still graze freely in be area, inhibiting seedlings from taking hold an becoming trees. From what I’ve seen, livestock has too free of a forage range in many parts go Greece. It’s a big problem as it inhibits regeneration of most plant life after fires, etc.

  4. Antia permalink
    March 15, 2013 10:08:36 pm

    I was wondering exactly the same. I found something in here:

    “Despite limited success (due to many factors such as overgrazing by cattle shoots, weather conditions, etc.), they have proved that this method can be applied broadly and has a very small cost – around 200-300 euros per hectare, including the cost of seeds, clay and food for volunteers (versus 100 000 for ‘conventional’ methods used in ecological restoration).

    They have continued to organize seedballs propagation on hundreds of acres every year since then, always working on a voluntary basis, improving over the years, the quality of the seedballs and adding new material, so that they could get better results…”

    Maybe to know more we could also contact the Green Belt Southern Europe Project: but there is no email on the Greek contact. Just an idea!

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