Back to Basics
Pesticides and the like were developed to protect crops from diseases and pests that liked to eat them. Farmers relied on this new science for their livelihood- no crops to sell meant no money. As the population of the world has grown, agriculture has become a truly massive industry that struggles to keep up with demand.
Many of us live far, far away from our food’s birthplace, buying our groceries at the supermarket, picking the juiciest-looking apple from what’s on offer. The food industry has come to rely so heavily on protective chemicals that when word got out- mainly through research- that pesticides might be having an adverse affect on our health, our land and the plants themselves, people started to panic.
Thankfully, something positive came from this; Organic farming. Once an expensive luxury reserved for those few who could afford it, organic produce has descended into the mainstream, cosying up next to ‘fair-trade’ and ‘no hydrogenated fats’. It’s hard to refute the fact that fruits and vegetables grown in natural, untreated conditions are, naturally, better for us.
Here in Hokkaido, Organic Farming is becoming popular. The cities may advertise their organic smoothies, organic calorie bars and snacks but this trend has long since reached the suppliers. Here, people buy local, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, wheats and grains. Organic farms are open to the public, for visitors to learn about the processes, sample the produce and note the differences. Biei Senka rests at the foot of Biei Hills and supplies daily, fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, rice and dairy products. A French restaurant and wheat factory lie either side of the market, letting you fully immerse yourself in an organic experience.
During my time in Hokkaido, I found myself in a small, European cafe in Biei. The Land Mann farm has been featured in several publications and TV shows across Japan. An organic farm, German Cafe and walking spot, this peaceful place is run by Stefan Koester-Hirose and his family. As many who start organic farming explain, the first few years are very tough- the insects and diseases come in droves. However nature has a way of balancing herself out, and with fields of potatoes, onions and other crops stretching out in front of me, I believe that.
To learn even more about Organic farms, take a trip to Dokoka Farm in Nakafurano. With a focus on berry-growing, you are welcome to pick-your-own whilst appreciating the natural farming methods that we used to rely on.
By Emma Price
July 28, 2016
Organic Farming information
2-chome, Oomachi, Biei, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido
Land Mann Farm
Aza Mita Dai2, Biei-Cho, Kamikawa-Gun, Hokkaido
10-East, 13-North, Nakafurano-town, Hokkaido