Farming And Blogging
I think farmers today are sometimes unfairly portrayed as an elderly crowd but the statistics show that of course many young people also farm. And most of them have computers and access to the internet. Not a big surprise, really. Their writing can be a laugh too especially if you are a little removed from the whole dirt-under-the-fingernails business.
Fujimori is a blogging fruit farmer, do take a look at the photos of the harsh winter conditions they are having up in Hokkaido. And from the far south, there is Papaya House, about - well, you guessed it: growing papaya in Okinawa.
Tanbo Owner is part of a project to connect and support people who for some reason or other happen to own a field, and want to share experiences with others around the country. Fun video at Inaka Nikki.
Toziba has a great blog too with a focus on soybeans. I have mentioned their project before - here is their story:
If you live in a small apartment, why not try some balcony farming? Start with hanging parsley, easy to put up by a sunny window. Herbs are very easy to raise indoors. Nyukku-nyukku Nikki is a blog by Anti Farmer (Anti Farmer??) showing you how to get it right.
In the old days, a tojiba was something like a retreat center located near hot springs. At these places, people could escape their everyday lives, meet others, exchange wisdom, skills, individuality, and grow together. Taking our inspiration from this, we named our nonprofit Toziba. Toziba’s goal is to form an “everyday tojiba” that maintains a close relationship with local communities. We believe in the Japanese concept of junkan-gata, which literally means “circulation model.” For example, we grow vegetables in the soil, eat them, then making compost to feed the next season’s vegetables. This is junkan-gata. In order to achieve this, we seek to rediscover the uniqueness and attractiveness of each area, and use our business to help solve social problems. As a social venture NPO, Toziba seeks to connect people and places.
Since we started Toziba, we have been organizing various events such as “food heart parties” to connect consumer and producer. In 2008, collaborating with NGO The Sloth Club and Cafe Slow, we organized and hosted serious of events on “Jidaizu” (heirloom soybeans) . We joined in Earth Day Market, Tokyo from April 2006. Currently our main program is “Daizu Revolution” which we started in 2003 on a very small farm in Chiba.
Any kind of pot can be filled with soil and kept on a balcony or a veranda. Farming isn't difficult if you start small. Tomatoes in particular are easy. If you never tried growing your own, buy plants that are already 5-10 cm high and bypass the tanemaki 種蒔き (seed planting) - you can do that next year. Don't water too much, that's a mistake many make. There should be a plate under your pot, and if there is water on the plate, you have to get rid of it and make sure the roots are not flooded. Easy trick!
Zakk Zakk is a "creative farm magazine" run by young farmers in Shiga prefecture who write a lot (when do they have time to farm?) with interviews inviting others with plenty of ideas to talk about rural living and farm management. They are exploring the han-no, han-X kata 半農半X型 (part-time farmer, part-time X style) concept that has emerged as a key word for people who like farming, but also have other talents and can add to the income by doing "X" meaning something else... They are also on Twitter.
Gan-chan is a blogging rice farmer who has specialized in selling food boxes directly to customers. He has been featured by NTV and participates in Eco events and Earth Day Market.
And of course we also have several foreigners blogging about their life in rural Japan, and efforts to increase the food self sufficiency for their families, such as Inaka Life in Hyogo prefecture.
Here is a recent photo of a project to make raised beds, for potatoes. I'm looking forward to seeing and reading more about that, it's a great idea to blog about the process so we all can share and get hints - and perhaps even send a comment of encouragement or advice.
Landed in Japan is "the hair-raising adventures of an inept Englishman, his family and their dream of making a farm in Japan."
And then of course there is Pure Land Mountain, the inspiration for us all, the blog-equivalent of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman's diary/proto-blog from 1891.