Education is a fundamental part of the sustainability equation. We must be educated to educate. Our purpose in Japan was to learn. The farm community in Japan carries generations of valuable farm knowledge, integrating old and new techniques. The tech of Tokyo meets the work ethic of the farmer. A great contributor to Japan's excellence whether their cars, tech gadgets, or public transportation is their careful attention to detail. The brief farm tour in Japan was a significant opportunity to learn and educate ourselves at Harvest Craft on a variety of farm techniques and models.
We wanted to see, what might we apply to future or current Harvest Craft projects? However, we wanted to learn more about the modern farmer. What is the ethos and purpose of the farmer? The #HCinJapan farm tour was incredible in that it allowed us the chance to meet farmers from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.
We learned new farm techniques from a modern day sustainable farming legend, Takao Furuno-san, the Michael Jordan of integrated duck-rice farming. His small family farm supports and cultivates change through their support of 140 local families with his super CSA program. Inspired would be an understatement.
We learned how agriculture might be used as a tool for recovery in disaster relief. Hope Miyagi serves the smaller farmers in the Sendai region affected by the 2011 tsunami. Tsuneo-san, a local farmer and pastor, facilitates co-ops to aid in acquiring proper farming equipment for those who lost everything. They organize work days and encourage the farmers by coming along side them to labor in the fields. We visited a handful of farmers in their fields and heard their stories of struggle and triumph with the help of Hope Miyagi.
General Reconstruction Association (GRA) is another organization using state-of-the-art warehouse farming to deal with the loss of jobs in another nearby city also affected by the large tsunami in 2011. Their warehouse sustainable strawberry facilities look to employ 10,000 people and start 100 strawberry warehouse gardens in the next ten years.
Something is apparent when meeting with Furuno-san, Tsuneo-san, Katsube-san and all the other farmers in Japan. They love their work, but even more, they love their families and communities deeply. The largest takeaway from the Japan farm tour: farms are tools to cultivate deeply meaningful and significant community change. Who knows what could come from these relationships? We look forward to future visits and potential partnership projects in other parts of Asia.
Visit our very own, Sam Becker-Miyadai's blog post for an in-depth Japan Recap.