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Organic Farming & Rural Areas in Japan

The Full Story

When I started farming in a small mountain village 13 years ago by myself, most thought I was a bit crazy. Now so many people come up for the day and fall in love. It doesn't take much for folks to enjoy themselves in such a beautiful place and everyone smiles a little easier going home. I also give presentations on farming and do what I can in Kyoto to provide opportunities for everyone to learn more. Nature and farming and have become my passion, I am lucky to have this to share.

In Japan, the word ‘satoyama’ generally refers to the border zone between the mountain foothills and flat land near to a village. It is a place where people live in harmony with nature, harvesting its bounty but also being stewards of the land.

I can't believe next year will be my 13th year raising organic vegetables in the mountains of Shiga, Japan.  I came to Japan over 20 years ago to see the world, without a single notion of what was to come.  Having a great love of nature, I spent a lot of time in the mountains north of Kyoto city.  I stumbled upon some fallow fields in a quaint village and the next thing I knew I was following my newfound passion, organic farming.  Each year I grow a little more, a little better, but there are just some hurdles I just can't get past without some help.  That is why I am raising money to construct a prototype of a system to improve farmers' yields and help the environment using renewable energy.  


Nature is vibrant up in the mountains due to the fresh air and clean water.  Farmers have the advantage of a very good base soil and plenty of pollinators to help.  However, every farmer needs soil amendments eventually, something which organic farmers in Japan can struggle with.  Living compost has long been known to keep the soil rich and moist, something Japan had actively done for thousands of years.  The introduction of "conventional" farming in the last century has changed that, however, and now most farmers cannot buy or even make their own compost efficiently.  The system I am building will help to bring back composting, which is not only a wonder for the soil but also the most environmental way to dispose of kitchen waste.  


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