Locally Grown City Produce Promoted

Urban farmer tends crops in Setagaya-ku Tokyo."Locally grown for local consumption" is a common practice in many cities in Japan. Small plots of urban land dedicated to farming can be found in cities of all sizes. Kunio Tsubota of the Kyushu University Asia Centre writes in Urban Agriculture in Asia: Lessons from Japanese Experience "The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) estimates that about 1.1 million hectares of farmland exist in "urban-like areas" and are producing ¥2.6 trillion worth of products."

Tsubota states that municipalities desire some farmland in urbanized areas because the land provides open areas necessary for emergencies, residents don’t want buildings constructed on green spaces, and that it’s more cost effective to grow crops than to convert urban farm plots into parks, and then maintain the parks. 

City farm plot in Nerima, Tokyo, Japan.Kawasaki urban farmland.

 

Tsubota’s report  cites the efforts of Nerima ward, Tokyo as a typical example. Nerima’s Agricultural Promotion Plan consists of about 55 activities to promote agriculture. The plan includes using locally produced vegetables for school lunches, providing small subsidies and office space to citizen-farmers, and promotion of locally grown produce.

Vegetables grow on urban farm in Kawasaki, Japan.Vegetables grow on urban farm in Kanagawa, JapanKawasaki City began its "Reborn Agriculture Plan" in 2005. The campaign promotes the sale , freshness, and safety of city farm products. Kawasaki also organizes distribution of produce to schools for use in school lunches.

Some other cities and prefectures with "Locally grown for local consumption" efforts: Sagamihara; Himeji City; Kushiro; NagoyaNobeoka City; HiroshimaYokohama.

 

related: Kitchen gardens enjoy a comeback in Japan
photos: HiroshimaKanagawaKawasaki cropsKawasaki signNerimaSetagaya-ku.

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