Farming and Conservation : What We Do
From the paddies
We initially began rice farming when our elderly neighbour asked for some help as the physical work had become too strenuous to manage alone. Since then we have begun working with several other elderly neighbours, and have also acquired our own fields. We work together in managing and farming rice form their own, and our own rice paddies.
The work includes cutting grass which grows rampantly around the fields, preparing the soil with machinery, planting, harvesting, drying and polishing the rice.
We use Hinohikari rice, also known as Western Yokozuna. The soil in our area is clay based, which produces an excellent quality and delicious harvest of rice, shared and sold amongst the local community, friends and relatives.
Organic Vegetable Cultivation
In 2019 we began cultivating vegetables, starting with the humble yet delicious tomato and gradually adding more to the growing range, including carrots, garlic, sweet potatoes, onions, paprika peppers, bitter gourd and herbs.
Much of the land we use for our organic vegetable plots was fallow and overgrown but has now been transformed once again into fertile and productive farmland. Alike the rice paddies, we farm on both our own land and land belonging to our neighbours, sharing the harvest.
In an effort to maintain the beauty of the surrounding area and the health of the consumers, we avoid using any fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides in our organic fields. We create our own compost and replant the seeds of our crop, rather than buying them new. For more information on our organic vegetable gardens, please click here.
Land Restoration and Management
As well as restoring fallow rice paddies and farmland, we also work to restore and manage Cedar and Cypress forest patches in the mountains and unused fields which have grown wild; processes that can take many years to complete.
All of these elements integrate together to form the Satoyama; a traditional Japanese landscape with a long history in provding daily needs from fuel, to mushrooms, to rice. The Satoyama is an area covering the forested mountainside and its undergrowth, the networks of water and footpaths and the valley below with its flat rice paddies, fields and inhabitants. Our primary conservation goal is to restore and maintain the Satoyama around Ota Village, of which we are very fond.