The SoS Journey : Satoyama Experiene

We are very pleased to present an in-depth look at the first annual Seeds of Sustainability (SoS) experience written by our great friend and supporter Raj Joshi. In addition to his beautiful words, we also hope you enjoy his fantastic photography. 

 

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Every movement starts with the spark of an idea.  The hope is that spark will light the kindling inside of others and spread the flame until it is a raging inferno of passion, energy, and change.  In our recent three days of events, Seeds of Sustainability continued to blow on the embers of the once thriving organic farming culture of Kyoto in an attempt to breathe it back to life.  A chance to celebrate those who have actively been on the same mission and to continue to plant the seed in the minds of the community.

 

 

Day One of The SoS Journey : The Satoyama Experience

 

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The Satoyama Experience brought a group of 30 campers just north of Kamakurayama for a chance to explore the different plots of Midori Farm and see firsthand the benefits and challenges of working the mountain farms in the area.  It was a mix of emotions to see such beautiful and fertile land surrounded by the undulating curtain of green and yellow and orange hillsides.  There is a feeling of timelessness here.  The main and painful difference now is the steadily declining number of farmers who remain to work the land.  Children from a long line of farmers are choosing other paths, and the secrets and wisdom of a symbiotic relationship with the land are at risk of again becoming whispers in the wind.  

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BUT, our visit was filled with renewed hope as there are people who are rolling up their sleeves and rekindling this love affair with the soil and air and water and worms.  People who are willing to thwart the endless attempts of marauding monkeys.  People who have come from around the globe to get this rich soil planted deeply under their fingernails.  The magicians who take water and dirt and seeds and effort -- and turn them into life.  Being here and seeing it firsthand redefines one’s appreciation for each and every plant that has taken root and offered up its bounty.

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Only fitting of an excursion to organic farmland, the event was bookended by turning the fresh local harvest into a set of feasts.  Respectfully prepared by and for everyone.  At times the weather tested our mettle, but much like the farmers of the area, we persevered.  The food was wonderful, but the people were equally nourishing. We were touched by artists, musicians, spiritualists, and chefs.  We opened ourselves to collaboration, to humility, to movement, to Qi Gong, to being secluded away from modern pings and electronic dings.  Being reminded, even if just for a moment, of our more primitive selves.  

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Surrounded and dwarfed by the trees, ears swimming in the rush of a nearby river, soft and layered earth beneath our feet, fresh rainwater falling on our faces, the warmth and glow of a dancing fire -- we once again gave ourselves over to the peaceful embrace of the cacophony of nature.

 

 

We were now primed and ready for our next destination : PechaKucha Night Kyoto : Sustainability Edition...