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A vision for co-creating 100 farm villages: Yield 3 cycle of food system

Farm as an attractive residence, Farm as an immersive restaurant, Farm as a fermentation labo, Farm as a nature symbiotic atelier

Photo of Hiroki Oka
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Blueberry fields Kinokuniya

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Farmer Co-op or Farmer Business Organization

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Matsui architecture firm (large company) Tokyo University of the Arts (Research institution) Harie Nonki farm (Farmer)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

http://www.bbfkinokuniya.com/

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Shiga Prefecture

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Japan

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Shiga Prefecture

What country is your selected Place located in?

Japan

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

In 1983, an organic blueberry farm was born at the foot of the mount Horai, surrounded by peace and tranquility and overlooking the lake biwa. The blueberry grow up healthy, then we made organic jam with them. That was our starting point.

Through farming blueberry, we connected with many people in this place. We have collaborated on various projects with the local farmers, the city government, universities, big companies, artists and our customers. 

Today, we and they are recognizing that our food system is slowly but surely collapsing. Now is the last chance to regenerate our food system. That is the reason why we decided to propose our vision for Food system vision prize.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

・The Beautiful Forest and Lake

Surrounded by the mountain, the Lake Biwa, the largest Lake in Japan, locate in the center. The half of the total land consist with forest, and the lake consist ⅙ of the land. The Lake Biwa plays important role in providing industrial water, potable water for 14 million people nearby and tourist attraction including Enryaku-ji Temple which is UNESCO World Heritage.

・Agriculture

Shiga prefecture provide agriculture significance by providing rice for Kyoto and Osaka, which are largest rice consumption area in Japan. The agriculture is mostly consist of the rice cultivation, and 90% of the total cultivation land is rice field.

・Fishery

Although Shiga is inland location, there are 20 fishing ports famous for sweet fish, Biwa salmon and Seta clam. The Lake Biwa is home for over 100 different species of fish and shellfish, and 44 of those are endemic species.

・Food Culture and Health

The average life expectancy of the Shiga Prefecture is 81.8 years old for male, and 87.6 years old for female. The male life expectancy is the longest in Japan, and female life span is 4th longest. The reasons are raw smoking rate, nature enriched life environment, rich food culture and fermented food specific to Shiga Prefecture.

・Distinctive Food Culture: Fermentation

In Shiga Prefecture, there are lot of fermented food exist from the ancient times including  “Funazushi.”  “Funazushi” is a carp pickled in salt, compressed with steamed rice and fermented. There are customs from the old time to drink Funazushi dissolve in hot water to improve upset stomach and physical condition as medicine. Funazushi also include fine quality lactic acid bacteria to improve intestinal environment which consequently has good impact on health. Because Funazushi is fermented, whole fish can be eaten including tail and bones and allow you to consume rich calcium. In modern days, Funazushi can be used as spices for pasta.

 (Note) Ferment means transforming food by microorganism or bacteria. By fermenting, Umani or flavor will be improved as well as enriched nutrition. The famous fermented food in Japan is soy source, fermented soybean paste or Japanese Sake. 

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

4017

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

1400000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Our challenge for 2050 is to change food system from chain to cycle which various theme can be integrated. The vicious cycle of food system is described below.

Cause 1: Stagnation of the Agriculture Economy

From 2000 to 2015, agricultural population decreased by 50%, and during the past 30 years, farm land decreased by 30%. However, farm land that is not cultivated increased by 3 times. The income for agricultural population is low and no new farmers cannot be fostered.

Cause 2: Deterioration of Environment

Although the water quality of the lake, which support agriculture, improved, the catch in fishery is decreasing. To recover ecosystem, the nutrients from the forest needs to be flow into the lake, as we always say “the forest is longing for the sea.” Recent days, forest are heavily damaged by typhoon, and top of that, forestry workers are decreasing so that the forest remain damaged.

Result

The agricultural production decreased by 20% in past 15 years, and the catch in fishery decreased 60% in past 30 years. The food culture underlies in the community is now in immediate danger.

Influence 1: Deterioration of Food Culture

As local agriculture is deteriorated, there are more and more children who never experienced farming. There are more children does not like vegetables, or does not seen cooking flame as children are used to ready-to-eat food. Having said that, such children can enjoy the taste of local vegetables eating in nature environment. Sadly, even such opportunity is disappearing.

Influence 2: Health for Aging society

The average life span is 81 years old for man and 87 years old for female, which is one of the longest lifespan in Japan. This maybe the result of healthy food including fresh or fermented food. However, aging population will grow toward 2050, which can occupy as much as 50% of entire population. If opportunity for elderly to access local fresh and healthy food is lost, health in the entire area may impaired.

Vicious Cycle

When children move away from the local food culture, and when elderly lose opportunity to access local food, the local agriculture will be deteriorated consequently.

Policy Approach

To improve the income for farmer to stop the decreasing farming population, the local administration secure budget to support the strategy of diversifying agricultural management. However, there is no clear model to overcome the difficulties for farmers to shift toward new business model including service industry. As a result, there is only a few application and the budget is not well spent.

Technology Approach

The one of the main purposes of agri technology in Japan was to increase productivity of the land, including agricultural chemicals. It is inevitable to set goal for innovation to support whole of food system including the possible collaboration with local universities.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our Vision

We rejuvenate each abandoned farmland into a farm as ,,,

   an Immersive farm restaurant which yields "Culture and Economics cycle"

   a Fermentation labo which yields "Technology and Diet cycle"

   a Nature symbiotic atelier which yields "Environment and Policy cycle"

In 2050, farms nurtures not only crops but also social communication to yield 3 cycles of food system.



Co-creation model of farm village

In order to create these 3 cycles, we develop the co-creation model of farm village. By utilizing the model, we create interactive farm villages in 100 locations to yield food system cycle by 2050. We will contribute not only the local area but to the world system by creating model based on the evaluation criteria of this Prize.

Systems Focused Approach

Our system focused approach is 3 cycles x 2 themes. Based on the local characteristic and issues, we set the goal to build the model for Culture-Economics cycles (Model 1; co-creation of farmers and chefs), Diet - Technology cycles (Model 2; co-creation of researchers and fermentation craftsman) and Policy - Environment cycles (Model3; co-creation of artists and government).

Transformative Potential

Our transformative approach is to propose a concept like Moore’s Law which is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years. We change the standard of today by developing the simple rule “Just increase farm with residences to integrate food system”. We create the model for everyone to start farm residence by analyzing our farm-based experiment (including location, finance, communication, marketing for restaurant, labo and atelier).

Community Rooted

In past 35 years, we have been cultivating chemical-free blueberries, and during that time, we had worked with local farmers, research institutes, artists, private corporations, educational institutions and local government. The vision we are proposing is based on such experiences and activities. To achieve the vision, incorporate the local traditions, including “Kamado”, “Kumamoto” and “Hataori” to facilitate interaction among stakeholders for successful innovation. We create the model for integrating the local tradition into the farm.

Inspirational

In this proposal, we combined Culture - Economics, Diet - Technology and Environment - Policy, but obviously there are more combination. Other local area may come with attractive vision by different combination. We will share our best practices and we are happy to make “3 x 2 approach” movement broader and to contribute the world future food system.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

High Level Vision

100 farm villages create,,,

   100 food culture programs from 100 chefs and 100 corporations 

   100 healthy Diet from 100 researchers and 100 fermentation craftsmans

   100 nature regenerating activities from 100 artist and local government

In 2050, farmers, chefs, researchers, fermentation craftsman, artists,,,various food system participants work and live together because this place has 100 attractive farm villages where people feel the cycle of food system.

(The details will be described in the Full vision paragraph.)



Place of food system co-creation 

As our challenge progress, abandoned farm will be transformed into the fascinating farming area attracting people. Starting with One model for food system cycle as a proof of concept, we will establish attractive 100 farms in Shiga prefecture. As you know San Sebastian became famous gastronomy location as chefs generously shared their recipes. Likewise, each farm can work together to regenerate the area to underlie food system cycle.

From anxiety to pleasure

Interaction among the people who live in the farm will change mindset concerning food system from negative, which people feel declination, to positive one, which people can enjoy the process of regeneration. Each person lives in the farm utilize nature, engaged in activity to protect forest, and microbiotics nurtured in forest flow into the lake through the river and regenerate ecosystem, which leads to full-blown food cycle. Your experience at the farm residence will be filled with such nature.

When we make our vision a reality, our children and grandchildren will spend everyday life in the residences harmonized with nature like Hayao Miyazaki’s film where farmers, chefs, artists and researcher come together. You can actually feel that your life is indeed underlay by the food system cycle and fostering the consciousness concerning food cycle to next generation and to other local area.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

We rejuvenate the local farms by reorganizing 6 themes of food system into the 3 cycle models. Based on our past experience and activities we create the model to establish 100 farm villages which yields food system cycle by 2050.

1. Culture - Economics Cycle

Regenerate the farm with restaurant where you can experience food culture. The visitor’s experience will be supported by the farmers and chefs to bridge culture and economy. Attractive food culture experience, not the economy, will be stepping stone for the local agriculture.

1.1 Public Cooking Space called “Kamado”

The best way to foster food culture is memorable experience, not through educators or internet. There is a public cooking space called “Kamado” will be ideal place for interaction among farmers, chefs and customers. The customers who visit the restaurant will see field grown vegetables/fruits with farmers, draw water from the well and cook rice with Kamado by lighting firewood to join process of cooking. This will make meals more enjoyable and foster local food culture, which in turn increase the needs to the local agriculture.

1.2 Co-creation with large company and chefs

In cooperation with the listed company, we cultivated abandoned field to provide as a part of a health program for its employees, retired and family members. By using freshly picked blueberries, make ice creams and jams which are used as gift for employee’s families, shareholders’ meeting or customers. The cooking experience at Kamado received good reputation and now there are over 1000 visitors at the farm.

1.3 Vision: 100 food culture program from 100 chefs and 100 corporations   

Currently, a program is consist of 1 farm and 1 corporation, but it has potential to become interactive place between farmers and chefs. By establishing as a model, the area can be regenerated by having 100 farms with 100 corporations where 100 chefs reside and provide unique cultural program expecting 100,000 visitors.

2. Technology - Diet Cycle

Regenerate farm by turning farming into lab for healthy diet. Farmers and chefs provide agricultural data to researchers to bridge technology and diet. Inventing few fermenting technology at the farm, a new recipes to underlie health will be developed.

2.1 The Research Place called “Kuramoto”

To conserve the local healthy diet, it is inevitable to transform the traditional diet into those adopting modern taste. For this purpose, we present “Kuramoto” where traditional facility for fermentation. Kuramoto is a type of lab cultivating microbiotics and researchers and fermented food craftsman can actively communicate. By having a farm as a research field, researches can analyse number of data including soil, water quality, vegetables, fermentation or health condition of those who consume them. By sharing the results of data, which provide fresh point of view to chefs, there will be new recipes will be born from the local farm.

2.2 Co-creation with research institution and fermentation craftsmans

We have been providing farm land for Tokyo University of Agriculture, and as a result find a new yeast in blueberries. Using the yeast, new type of fermented foods are being developed. In addition, working with fermented food craftsman, developing highly nutritious soup for children or elderly, and provide soil data to grown vegetables.

2.3 Vision: 100 healthy Diet from 100 researchers and 100 fermentation craftsmans

The current research involves 1 farm and 1 research institute, our model include citizen science in which anyone can participate data collection and fermentation research. In year 2050, we envision that the 100 farms become 100 research labs, and children together with researchers can experience healthy diet research.

3.Policy - Environment Cycle

We rejuvenate farm into art studio regenerating nature. Farmers, artists and local government work together to fully utilize natural resources and land development. The artworks reflecting nature cycle will support activities to protect nature.

3.1 The Art Studio called “Hataori (weaving)”

To sustain the local food culture continue after 2050, it is important to not only restrain from using natural resources. And then, even more importantly, regeneration process needs to be rooted in the everyday life. For this, we propose an art studio with “Hataori (weaving)”. The artists come together at the studio to weave textile fabric using seasonal wood or plants for people to feel the mother nature. Sprinkling charcoal used at restaurant to forest, it will be natural fertilizer to helps environmental protection, which ultimately support artistic activities by continuously provide seasonal nature to appreciate. The process will be shared with local government and used for the policy planning. The plan will be supported by the matching fund with farms and local government to bridge environment and policy.

3.2 Co-creation with government and Kimono artists

We started growing organic cotton after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The cotton is sent to Fukushima to make uniform for our restaurant and partner company. This created employment opportunity in Fukushima, and using uniforms in our local area. Because of this cycle, we have become the biggest organic cotton farm in Japan. There also is an artist studio of one of the famous Kimono designer among others. The cotton or windbreak forest also can be materials to support artistic activities.

3.3 Vision: 100 nature regenerating activities from 100 artist and local government

For now, Hataori (weaving) and farm are usually located in the other area. We incorporate Hataori into a farm to attract local artists, then we define the well - balanced plan between art production and nature regenerating. In the year 2050, 100 farms produce 100 arts, and 100 art should incorporate 100 plan to regenerate nature. The plan will be executed with a local government.

4. To give form to the future

For a farm to yield 3 cycles, there is another function needed in addition to “Kamado”, “Kuramoto” and “Hataori”. That is, comfortable living space for those who work at a farm.

In Japan, there is traditional shrine carpenter called “Miyadaiku”. They are specialist to build or renovate temples and shrines. They produce magnificent building which last over a few hundred years using only wood without single nail. They live in area nearby temples and shrines and learns religion.

By working with Miyadaiku, we establish house in the farm which symbolize cycle. The attractive house unifies nature and art to transform a farm to where everybody comes together. The food system cycle will be passed on among the specialists of various fields, children and elderly. A single tree will be a part of farm residence and the farm residence will keep producing cycle. The repetition will entirely regenerate the local area filled with attractive farm village.

We can say that this is not future-oriented challenge, but this is the challenge to bring back local traditional lifestyle with nature cycle. It is the most important that people will be free from the depleting nature, feel the joy and pleasure through regeneration, enjoy new food culture every single day.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Facebook

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The SUANAE project

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Team

Hi 宏樹 岡 

Welcome to the Food Vision Prize community!

For the last hours before the deadline, make sure you have reviewed your final submission through the Pocket Guide to support you through the final hours of wrapping up your submission. This will give you the most important bullet points to keep in mind to successfully submit your Vision.
Here is the link to the pocket guide: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1o8WGMus6-V8GywWdlNwmCpk7I1fMVzcQ/view

Look forward to seeing your submission finalised by 31st January, 5:00 pm EST :)

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