Japanese CSA Pioneers, and a Farming Trio

In Kyoto tonight and it’s been a long few weeks of filming and travel for The Final Straw with little internet time so this next post will come in two installments!

Last week, I was able to spend a great few days on farms outside of Tokyo with representatives from the “Shumei” organization, who maintain a network of natural agriculture farms throughout Japan — and the world for that matter.

We first visited farmer Osamu Yoshino in Katori City, Chiba. Yoshino was one of the first to use a community supported agriculture (CSA) model for selling naturally-farmed foods in Japan, but it didn’t start off so easily. But it wasn’t easy for him. Because he only grew foods “in season,” he had trouble finding a market year round. CSA pioneer Keiko Domae eventually helped him solve this problem by educating consumers about seasonal naturally-grown foods, bringing these consumers directly to the farm… only after consumers stood in the middle of the field, did they understand why naturally-produced food was so special.

The following day, met with a legitimate natural agriculture power trio, Fuminori, Taichi, and Daisuke Yamamoto, three generations running a fairly large (for Japan) 20+ acre natural agriculture farm together including fields which have been farmed with ‘no-till’ methods for over 20 years. I can’t really describe the fields with words right now, so I’ll let the photographs do some talking. Enjoy…

Yamamoto Farm in Inashiki, Japan

Yamamoto Farm in Inashiki, Japan

Interviewing Osamu Yoshino at his natural agriculture farm in Ch

Momo blossoms at Yoshino natural agriculture farm in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Osamu Yoshino at his natural agriculture farm in Chiba Prefectu

Osamu Yoshino at his natural agriculture farm in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Spinach at Yoshino natural agriculture farm in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Spinach at Yoshino natural agriculture farm in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

A natural agriculture dinner at Yoshino farm in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

A natural agriculture dinner at Yoshino farm in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Patrick with Osamu Yoshino and Keiko Domae in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Patrick with Osamu Yoshino and Keiko Domae in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Rice seedlings growing at Yamamoto Farm in Inashiki, Japan

Rice seedlings growing at Yamamoto Farm in Inashiki, Japan

A natural agriculture lunch at Yamamoto Farm in Inashiki, Japan

A natural agriculture lunch at Yamamoto Farm in Inashiki, Japan

The group at Yamamoto natural agriculture farm in Inashiki, Japan

The group at Yamamoto natural agriculture farm in Inashiki, Japan

Fuminori Yamamoto and his son, Daisuke, at their natural no-till rice field in Inashiki, Japanv

Fuminori Yamamoto and his son, Daisuke, at their natural no-till rice field in Inashiki, Japan

It was amazing, will add much to the documentary, and I am grateful for the support of Shumei and of Kazu and Eri Domae for driving me around and providing logistical support and interpretation, truly a great experience with great people who care so deeply about humanity and the natural world.

Next blog installment will take us through the island of Megijima, as well as Yamaguchi, and Nagoya… stay tuned 🙂

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