REVIVING FARMLAND x EDUCATION x EVENTS
REVIVING FARMLAND x EDUCATION x EVENTS
Midori Farm is about sustainable agriculture on fallow farms in Japan. That means taking over fields that are not being used and re-farming them to produce organic produce using techniques that are safe for the environment and the people who grow and eat them.
In addition to reviving unused farmland to produce delicious organic vegetables and herbs, we provide educational opportunities in farming, run a variety of events from barbecues to snow days. There's always something going on, so have a little browse around at the website, check out some of our past events, and if you're interested in getting involved, by all means drop us a line.
The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries (MAFF) reports that the number of farms is decreasing each year, losing over 30% in the last 10 years. Those numbers will continue to drop as 65% of the population of farmers are aged 65 years and older. Furthermore, Japan rates very low on the scale of sustainability; we import over 60% of our caloric intake. In response to this, Midori Farm is taking over fallow fields and turning them into productive, organic farms. We introduce modern methods of sustainable agriculture alongside the tried and true techniques that the resident farmers have used for generations. There are too many fallow fields for us to take over at present, which is why we are building a group of farmers and the infrastructure of support necessary to give our efforts the chance to spread.
Every year there are a number of new, young Japanese farmers, but that number is insufficient to handle all the fallow fields. Midori Farm is arranging opportunities for people to try organic farming as well as work regularly on a farm. Also, by using the campgrounds which are in the neighbourhood of the farms, people from all over the world can come to the mountains of Kutsuki, stay in a beautiful campground and easily walk to the farm. Hopefully this program will serve as a template for other communities across Japan to recruit new farmers.
Farming is difficult work, especially to get started, and in the first few years farmers often find the hardships too great to bear. Midori Farm is in business to work with new and existing organic farmers to support them in times of hardship. Also, by providing the special materials necessary, we are setting the farmers up to succeed. Compost, heirloom seeds, organic soil amendments and natural pesticides are some of the materials used in modern organic farming but still in great demand here in Japan. By utilising the compostables all around us, saving seeds and setting up to import materials as yet unavailable in Japan, we can easily bring these techniques into the farms here.
Midori Farm is building the infrastructure necessary so new and existing organic farmers can work with the materials needed to be successful. Creating a network of ideas, people, materials, farmland and equipment will give sustainable agriculture a real chance of taking hold and allowing more farmland to be used. Allowing families to form communities and networks of volunteers and employees to assist in times of need will make this system sustainable. The 4-bottom line equation is business, environment, community and individual. If all 4 elements are successful, the system is sustainable. By preparing everything needed in our network, we are setting the system up to succeed and endure. This system will give Japan a real chance to reverse the trends of aging farmers and dwindling farmland in use while increasing the volume of organic produce available in the countryside and the cities.
As organic farms strictly avoid pesticides and chemicals to control weeds and fertilize, there is a lot more labour involved. For this reason, volunteers are crucial to our work. Here are some ways you can get involved with Midori Farm.
Curious about organic farming but have never stepped on a farm before ? Have kids that you want to spend some time walking among the plants with? Come up to the farm for a tour and to leisurely enjoy the nature and interact with our veggies! Tours normally run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays but must be booked in advance.
Do you live in Kyoto but yearn to breathe fresh mountain air and get your hands dirty? Kyoto-based farm volunteers become members of our organic weed fighting, sustainability focused, sometimes hole digging crew! If you are interested in being a Kyoto-based farm volunteer we ask you to please come on one of our Farm Experience trips as an orientation to the farm.
We like to hold events at the farm and in the surrounding nature, but we are constantly challenged by how to bring people from Kyoto up into the mountains. If you have a car and might be available to attend an event and offer a ride to others, please let us know! It’s a wonder to be in the beautiful countryside and giving others this gift with transportation is very rewarding!
Midori Farm has recently become an NPO! We’ve got a lot of dreams to make Kyoto and Shiga a more sustainable and healthy place to live. Interested in helping us with some of these projects?
We are official Workaway hosts! So far we have had volunteers from Switzerland, Mexico America, France and Australia. These volunteers work with us up at the farm in exchange for accommodation and food.
Do you have some skills or ideas that you think you can contribute ? If you are interested in doing something with us that we haven’t discussed here, please contact us!
Thanks for your interest in our veggies!
Presently the main way to buy our veggies is through our Teikei system. Please be aware that all sales are subject to availability. As we are farming organically in the mountains of Shiga, sometimes crops get significantly damaged due to monkeys, deer, insects, or extreme weather. If you are interested in buying a larger amount of a certain crop (for example, pickling vegetables), please let us know and we can do our best to accommodate you.
The Teikei system is very similar to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) approaches. One of the main principles is for consumers and farmers to be equally invested in their food, the farm and thus the environment.
By paying for their produce in advance, the farmer is able to gather the supplies needed to produce high quality vegetables for the consumer. By investing in the farmer, consumers are also able to understand the complexities behind providing organic food, such as extreme weather and wild animals.
We encourage Teikei members to visit the farm to gain a truly intimate relationship with the food they experience.
We regularly sell veggies at Yokai Soho events. Chuck, the founder and principal farmer, usually attends these events in person so you can also take the opportunity ask questions about Midori Farm and our other projects. Yokai Soho and Midori Farm regularly update their Facebook pages about these events.