Japan is Combatting a Decline in Farming
The earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear disaster that rocked Japan’s Tohoku region in March of 2011 dealt a series of sharp blows to the 70,000 farmers living in Fukushima prefecture
By Joshua Hunt
March 23, 2016
City Farm Odaiba, which sits atop a high-rise overlooking Tokyo Bay, on the manmade island of Odaiba, represents one of many initiatives aimed at reversing the farm-sector decline. Established in 2012 by real-estate behemoth Mitsui Fudosan as a kind of refuge for elderly farmers who had fled Tohoku after the tsunami, the community farm—with rice paddies, soybean fields, staked tomatoes, raised beds, and a flock of resident chickens—quickly became something more than a place for the displaced people to dirty their trowels.
“The old farmers get to pass on their skills to a younger generation of people in the city,” says Taro Ebara, a Tokyo University of Agriculture graduate employed by Odaiba to oversee the farm. “And anyone who helps with the cultivation gets to take food home.”
The corporation reserves some of the plots for growing its own produce, which it sells at a local farmers market, but most of the rooftop space is the domain of the farmers, who offer free classes on topics like transforming rice into sake.