In conjunction with a visit to Kamiyama by Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse, an organic restaurant in Berkeley, California, RichSoil & Co. (Sei-sen), the Blind Donkey (Kiyosumi Shirakawa, Tokyo), and the Food Hub Project (Kamiyama, Tokushima) invited farmers from around Japan to Kamiyama and held the first Farmer’s Meeting on October 16, 2012.
The environment surrounding agriculture and food is constantly changing, and we are increasingly faced with realities that are difficult to face individually. We have decided to hold Farmer’s Meeting in order for farmers, cooks, and people involved in the food industry to spend time together, have dialogue, and think together.
Here is the first part of the report by Tomo Mukai, Rich Soil, the founder of the event!
Farmers, chefs, and people involved in the food industry gathered in Kamiyama-cho, Tokushima Prefecture, under the most pleasant autumn weather. I felt an indescribable sense of strength at the sight of all the farmers gathered in one place, who usually face the land in various parts of Japan.
In the morning, after first introducing the Food Hub’s initiatives, we toured the fields of Tsunagu Farm and Oronono, discussing with everyone in front of the fields about vegetable cultivation, composting, shipping methods, and the background of the land. It was very interesting to hear the conversations among the farmers, which came about only because they have a field in front of them.
Lunch was served at Kamiyama Marugoto Kosen, where food from the Kamiyama fields is delivered. (The percentage of locally produced food that day was almost 100%!) ). We experienced the connection between foodstuffs and the local community and the collaboration between agriculture and school lunches.
In the afternoon, it was time for dialogue among all the farmers and chefs. It was a time for consultation and discussion about what they are struggling with or searching for in terms of vegetables, soil, people, distribution, management, etc., while sharing the thoughts and feelings that are important to each of them. How is everyone doing in terms of management? How do you balance your thoughts/desires with your business? What vegetables do you recommend to grow?
The conversations, which are usually difficult to exchange, were endless, and I believe that this was a time of learning that will lead to the next step.
In the evening, farmers, chefs, researchers, people involved in nutrition education, and Kamiyama people gathered around Alice and enjoyed a meal together. I will post more about that in my next post…!