There is so much value to society and the environment by supporting local farmers.
On the SSL series, I have had the pleasure of talking with farmers, gardeners, an urban farm coach, and people who have never learned about agriculture diving into growing their own organic food with a great passion for sustainability and a higher-quality of life.
I will keep the most recent interviews at the top of this post, but please scroll down to see all the talks with organic farmers in Japan, including some who sell and ship to anywhere in Japan. I will embed the playlist for all the talks in SSL with anyone growing their own food, doing organic farming, or even talking about Japanese heritage, history, social issues related to growing food at the bottom of this page.
Latest Seeking Sustainability Live Talkshow Episodes on Organic Farming
Ria + Robert moved to rural Kagoshima to take over a disused plot of land to start Kansha Farm. R+R met in LA and lived in Pittsburg where they worked at a Vegan Restaurant. They have been living between Japan and the US for many years and are very passionate about regenerating the soil at the farm through composting and cover crops. I am inspired by their integrity as they use only biodegradable packaging to sell their products and regularly compost their own bags to be sure it is actually completely biodegradable.
They are not able to rely solely on income from the farm, but have so much potential to make it a full-time business in the future with collaboration and community connections. Ria is a yoga instructor and they also host farm stays, open farm days on Sundays and other special events like dreamcatcher making and indigo dye workshops. Follow their Instagram account for updates and upcoming events.
Writer Hannah Kirshner talks in her book: Water, Wood and Wild Things of learning how to grow organic rice under the guidance of a Japanese farmer in Yamanaka among other stories of apprenticeship of traditional Japanese crafts. I love her curiosity and enthusiasm for learning traditional Japanese arts and crafts – she is able to find meaning and enjoyment in it, despite the difficulty.
Winifred Bird also talked about foraging for forest food in her book: Eating Wild Japan She also discusses the balance between wild and cultivated foods in Japan.
Local Natural Food Sales Online – Delivery Across Japan
Byron + Kaori Nagy – Kasamatsu Farms
Byron and Kaori initially moved from Tokyo to the rural area for better quality of life and food security for their family and to remodel an old Akiya abandoned home to create a guesthouse: Yokomura Eco-Lodge. During the coronavirus tourism crash, however, they have transitioned to offering free-range eggs and high-quality organic vegetables to customers via online sales.
Thomas Kloepfer – Pitchfork Farms
Thomas supplies beautiful varieties of vegetables to people in Hiroshima via local markets as well as sends out boxes across Japan every Saturday. I recommend ordering the monthly variety box for 4,000 yen including delivery charges. It’s an easier way to secure a fresh box of veggies, peppers, greens, and other goodies to your door every month. If you go through it quickly do a 2/month standing order.
+ Order from Thomas in English or Japanese via the Pitchfork Farms Website Shop
+ follow or get in touch via Facebook or Instagram
Thomas Introduces his Farm
Listen to Thomas Kloepfer of Pitchfork Farms give advice to Flo + Blaise about growing food:
Thomas gives advice to gardeners
Thomas talks textiles, natural dyeing and organic farming
Heather Fukase – Nagano Naturally Organic Farm
Heather has a passion for organic farming in combination with raising kids and supporting her local community in Nagano. Like Thomas, she often has more rare varieties of veggies in her shop such as Rhubarb.
Order in English via Heather’s website Nagano Naturally- I recommend signing up for her newsletter so you can be alerted when new harvest is available for quick delivery.
Talking with Heather about her farming in balance with family life
Listen to the conversation with Heather Fukase of Nagano Naturally Farm here:
Nagaoka Natural Farm on Miyajima Island, Hiroshima
Delivery is possible anywhere around Japan via monthly subscription, but you will need Japanese to Order 日本語で:
+ Nagaoka Farm – English article about the farm here, Japanese Facebook page here (contact about orders), Blog + Japanese Website here
Video about my visit to the Nagaoka Natural Farm here:
Chuck Kayser – Midori Farms – Local food sales + volunteering opportunities in Kanto Area
When I talked with Chuck Kayser who runs the Midori Farm in Shiga prefecture, he spoke of the troubling decline in the number of farms in Japan which effects self-sufficiency, overdependence on imports, and moving away from a diet filled with fresh, locally produced food in Japan.
Chuck Kayser is the head-farmer and community-compost organizer at Midori Farms in Shiga (one hour from Kyoto). He never intended to be a farmer, he was just looking for a place in the countryside to enjoy nature but may have found his calling as he ended up founding Midori Farm in a rural area about an hour from Kyoto in 2009.
Over the years, Chuck has hosted and trained many volunteers and learned the art (and frustrations) of organic farming, and growing food which is only at 40% self-sufficiency in Japan and on the decline. Chuck Kayser Midori Farms Website
Chuck also hosts Livestream Zoom webinars from his farm on Facebook to help spread awareness of the need to #growyourownfood and supporting #localfarmers especially those trying to do #organicfarming #communitydevelopment
Watch the video here:
Audio version of the talk here:
Organic Farm + Cafe in Chiba
Takako and Phil do not sell online, but they do supply Tokyo supermarkets with their organic vegetables and ready-made soups, bean mixes, and other high-quality, delicious products. If you live in Tokyo or fly in or out of Narita airport, they are not too far away.
Kyle Holzheuter founder of Kamimomi Permaculture Center in Okayama
Kyle is another leader in the natural, organic food movement in Japan. The Kamimomi Permaculture Center is run by a great community of people doing natural farming, cooking, baking, plastering and building. Kyle is a natural plaster expert, and offers plastering, farming, dyeing and other natural, self-sufficiency improvement skills from their permaculture center. They do not sell any products online.
Do you order online from another organic farmer in Japan? Please get in touch and let me know and I will add them to this page, thanks!
Grow Your Own Food
If you need help growing your own food at home, get in touch with the Urban Farming Coach Jon Walsh. He is based in Tokyo, but now during COVID19 does consult for people living across Japan and around the world too.
Organic Farming, Growing Your Own Food, Japan’s Farming History, Culture + Heritage
This is a playlist of all the videos related to natural food issues in Japan in the Seeking Sustainability Live Talkshow series. The most recent video in the playlist is shown here, but if you follow the link you will find all of the videos in this collection.
Listen to the Audio Podcast version of the talks in #seekingsustainabilitylive
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