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無数の命を見つめながら無農薬田んぼで田植え

Planting rice in the non-chemical pure organic terraced rice paddy.

 休日農業講座「田んぼのイロハ」の今季第1回の田植え編は、2019年5月25-26日の週末に、新潟県南魚沼市の栃窪集落で開かれました。首都圏からの参加者たちは、見事な青空のもとで、1反4畝(約1400平方メートル)の田んぼを植え切りました。カエルやオタマジャクシ、トンボ、ヤゴ、ケラなど、完全無農薬の田んぼならではの無数の命に包まれた作業となりました。

ECOPLUS conducted the first workshop on rice farming, called “ABC in a rice paddy” on May 25-26, 2019 at Tochikubo village, Niigata Japan. Under the beautiful summer sky, participants from metropolitan area enjoyed works in a rice paddy with songs of birds, cool breeze and lunch next to the paddy.

View from Mt. Teruyama, 736m. 樽山山頂からの絶景。

 25日は、まさに雲一つない晴天。せっかくの機会なので、集落のさらに上の稜線部にある観音様まで車で上がり、さらに徒歩で30分ほどの樽山(736m)まで登ってみました。八海山(1,778m)から巻機山(1,967m)、苗場山(2,145m)までの雪が残る山々と、魚沼盆地に水が入った田んぼが広がる様子を観察しました。

On 25th, the sky was totally blue with any pieces of clouds. So we went up above the village by car and walked an half hour to the top of Mt. Teruyama, which has elevation of 736 meters. We could oversee the ridge of mountains reaching to 2,000 m elevation and the Uonuma basin which is the heartland of the most sought after rice, “Uonuma Koshi-Hikari.”

Snow was still remained under the branches of cider tree. 杉の枝の下は雪がびっしり。

 登山の途中には、ゼンマイやわらびなど山菜類があちこちに顔を出しているのにもびっくり。頂上付近では、無数のチョウが互いを追いかけ合って乱舞する様子にも息を飲みました。
 後半は雪が残る戦国時代からの古道をたどり、林の中に森のアスパラと呼ばれる山菜のシオデが出ているのも観察できました。

During the walk to the top of Teruyama, we identified several edible plants just next to the path. We also surprised by so many butterflies circling around us. On the way back, we took the over four century old road used by worriers in the battle age in Japan. On that road, snow was still remained and another edible plants can be identified near the road.

For human hands, it is big! 手で植えてみると田んぼはとっても広い。

 26日は朝から農作業。無農薬で栽培を始めて13年になる「イロハ田んぼ」は、すでに代かきを終え、水を抜いて田植えをするばかりに用意してもらいました。六角形の木枠を転がして田んぼに筋を付け、線が交わる場所に苗を植えていきます。始めはどのくらいの深さに植えるのかが分からなかった参加者も、水に流されず、無理に深植えせず、という地元のベテランの指導で、次第にコツを覚え、一気に作業が進みました。

On 26th, we concentrated our time for rice planting. The paddy which has been growing rice for 13 years without any chemicals was smoothed prepared by the locals. Rolling a wooden frame of hexagon shape, we set marks on the surface then we planted seedlings in line. At the beginning it was difficult to set the seedlings but with the support from locals, saying set the seedlings not to be floated away and not to push in too deep, participants learned the way shortly.

Many dishes were set on the deck of a small track. 軽トラ食堂。

 田植えを終えた後のお昼ご飯は、田んぼの隣の木陰に軽トラを止めて、その荷台におにぎりや料理が並べた「軽トラ食堂」。ウドやわらびがたっぷり入ったみそ汁、おにぎり、トマトやきゅうり、ウドの天ぷらなど地元の素材を活かした豪華な内容。「おいしい」が連発されました。自然と農と食について深く考える週末となりました。

The planting work was finished in 3 and hard hours and the lunch started. So many dishes like, miso-soup with wild edible plants, rice balls, tempura of another edible plant, called “Yamaudo,” we deeply understood the richness and happiness to live close to the nature. Participants discussed a lot about the relation between nature, food and agriculture during the weekend.

20 people enjoyed the culture and life in Tochikubo at the “ABC in a rice paddy” program.

A total of 20 people, including company workers, students, and families from various countries,visited Tochikubo, Niigata Prefecture from Tokyo metropolitan area. They enjoyed walking around the area and rice planting over the weekend.
The holiday agricultural project, ABC in a rice paddy, was held on 21 and 22 of May. It is a series of programs throughout the year, and this time, the first occasion of the year, was about rice planting.
On the first day, participants went for a walk in Tochikubo area with a villager, FUEKI Akira. From the centre of village to the top of Mt Taru, 736m, they enjoyed encounters with varieties of mountain vegetables and some rare wildlife. Although it was summer-like hot, they managed to reach the peak and one participant said \”When I stood at the top and saw how far we have come, I felt that I had achieved something\”.
After coming back from the mountain, they had a lecture and learned about the different types of rice seedlings, process of rice farming without any chemicals and pesticides, history and current challenges of rice farming in Tochikubo.

 

A snap from bird watching session in the early morning. Local children also joined it and enjoyed together.
A snap from bird watching session in the early morning. Local children also joined it and enjoyed together.

On the second day, early in the morning, most participants and some locals joined a bird watching session by FUKASAWA Kazuki. Despite of poor visibility due to mist and rain, his knowledge helped participants have a great time. At the very moment he talked about the sound of rare bird species, Akashobin (ruddy kingfisher), participants actually heard it. Whenever someone or Fukasawa found wildlife such as frogs, salamanders, and insects in the water, he provided an instant lecture about the features and ecosystem of them.
Rice planting began, having waited for the rain to calm down. It was well-supported by locals as participants learned a traditional way to band rice plants with straws, and planted them. They went into a rice paddy together with baskets filled with bunches of rice seedlings.

 

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After rice planting. People from various countries participated in the program.

At lunch time, a group formed by local women called \”Kaachanz\” (Team-mothers) served miso soup with lots of local vegetables and dried fish. Everyone appreciated the soup as it warmed up their cold body from inside. Many people went into the kitchen to have the second of the miso soup.
Participants continued planting rice in the afternoon, and managed to finish the whole paddy around 2:30. They got a compliment from a local person on how straight they could plant.
Thanks to the knowledge and skills of local people, ABC in a rice paddy in 2011 has been kicked off!