For more than 40,000 years, Asian farmers worked the same fields repeatedly without sapping the land's fertility and without applying artificial fertilizer! How they accomplished this miraculous feat is described by author Franklin Hiram King, a former official of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. King traveled to Asia in the early 1900s to learn how farmers in China, Korea, and Japan were able to achieve successful harvests century after century without exhausting the soil — one of their most valuable natural resources. This book is the result of his extraordinary mission. A fascinating study of waste-free methods of cultivation, this work reveals the secrets of ancient farming methods and, at the same time, chronicles the travels and observations of a remarkable man. A well-trained observer who studied the actual conditions of life among agricultural peoples, King provides intriguing glimpses of Japan, China, Manchuria, and Korea; customs of the common people; the utilization of waste; methods of irrigation, reforestation, and land reclamation; the cultivation of rice, silk, and tea; and related topics. Enhanced with more than 240 illustrations (most of them photographs), this book represents an invaluable resource for organic gardeners, farmer, and conservationists. It remains "one of the richest sources of information about peasant agriculture [and] one of the pioneer books on organic farming." — The LastWhole Earth Catalog.