A film still from our interview with Larry Korn at his home in Ashland, Oregon. (CC BY-SA FinalStraw.org)

Interview with Larry Korn

This is a bit of great news, yet it’s also old news now. To my credit, at the time I was on the craziest 4-week schedule in recent memory, shooting amazing gigs for ZERO1 and Nova Jiang, clearing out and selling off everything in my studio, and moving to Edinburgh to dig into the Art, Space & Nature program, where I am sitting at this very moment!

In the midst of this — just before the move to Scotland, that is — I was able to schedule in 2 days to drive up to Oregon and interview Larry Korn for The Final Straw documentary.

Mr. Korn might be too humble to admit it, but he is an iconic figure in the world of natural farming, permaculture, and sustainability. Having spent a few years living in a small mud-walled hut in Japan with Masanobu Fukuoka, Mr. Korn learned much from the father of modern-day natural farming.

Back in the U.S., Korn then lead the effort to translate Fukuoka’s book, One Straw Revolution into English; the book went on to be a best-seller — many call it the ‘bible’ of natural farming — is celebrated by a host of luminaries from Frances Moore Lappé to Michael Pollan, and has been translated into more than 25 languages.

I spoke with Larry Korn at length, firstly about his time in Japan with Fukuoka, but more heavily about applying Fukuoka’s concepts, not just to farming, but to life in general.

Abandoned tractor in California's Central Valley (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw)
Abandoned tractor in California’s Central Valley (photo: P.M. Lydon, Final Straw)

Our talk ranged from modern day consumption habits to re-vegetating drylands in California through Native American knowledge — the topic of a recent book by one M. Kat Anderson (USDA, UC Davis). Mr. Korn noted that the Native Americans had a ‘Natural Farming’ system fully developed prior to our unceremonious arrival and relative desiccation of the native landscape with our industrial agriculture techniques.

Well, speaking with Mr. Korn was both amazingly informative and also opened up several new avenues of research on topic which surround this documentary.

For now, I am hitting the books and arranging meetings with several figure heads while I am in Scotland, including Anthropologists and Cultural Geographers here at The University of Edinburgh, and a few agriculturalists who have been at the head of the sustainability movement since before we even knew what the word meant!

I’ll leave you with a few photos from the drive through California… till later, friends!