In past years, the program had been conducted as three nights and four days actual program staying in the snowy village, Tochikubo, learning the reality of current Japanese society through volunteer works like snow shoveling. However, because of Covid-19, the program of this year was totally conducted on-line.
Students learned the situation of the village with video materials including footage of snow shoveling on the roof, interferes of the locals and introduction of the elementary school in the village with a total of 12 students from 1 to 6 grade. Then, online interactive session was held.
On 8 Feb., the interactive session with the elementary school was held. Kids presented what they learned during the school year with dance and play, then university and elementary students were communicated over the screen.
Also TAKANO Takako, an executive director of ECOPLUS and a visiting professor of Rikkyo university, visited community homes holding her laptop computer for the live interviews to offer the students the reality of the live and farming business in the snowy community.
Despite the hard situation by Covid-19, students looked like deepened understandings about the situation of Japanese society and acquired skills how to investigate current situation of the society and the prospect for the sustainable future.
Limited amount of sun-dried organic rice grown in our rice paddy and in next one is available.
No chemical materials, like pesticides and weed killer, were used. Fertilizer is 100% organic. Traditional sun drying process on the rack was taken. Because of so many hand works such totally organic rice is almost vanished even in this Minamiuonuma, the heart land of famous “Koshihikari Rice.”
Polished 1,300 yen/kg and unpolished 1,200 yen/kg plus shipping. Rice grown with 80% less chemical is also available; polished 800 yen/kg, unpolished 700 yen/kg. Contact tappo@ecoplus or use the form below.
ECOPLUS conducted workshops on weeding in our non-chemical rice paddy in the weekend of June 20 and 27-28 in Tochikubo village at Minamiuonuma, Niigata, Japan. In order to avoid the risks on COVID-19, the workshop, used to be conducted for two days staying in an inn in the village, was changed into one-day program. For the there days, in total 16 persons were gathered and enjoyed the work surrounded by the calls of Ruddy Kingfisher and Gray-faced buzzard.
In those rice paddies, farmers have not been using chemicals for over 15 years. So weeds are also very healthy. Specially “Inu-Bie” or Japanese millet, is so similar to rice that it was so difficult to identify which is which in the field.
Mr. FUEKI Akira, the chief of Tochikubo Panorama Farm taught us that rice has small fluffs surrounding the base of each leaf. So, we were concentrating our eyes very close to those plants before each weeding actions.
Some days before our works, farmers used special tool called “Taguruma,” which has metal rotating claws. So, weeds along the one side were already taken or less but another side was very congested with weeds.
Weeds are grown as same as rice, we need to use all fingers pushed deep into the mud then pull out the weeds with roots. Keeping the bottom very low in the paddy during the work for more than one hour was quite tough for all of us.
Many of participants from Tokyo area repeated that “I never imagined it needs such hard work to grow rice organiclally.” Some university students, once said “I was doing football fo long years so I am confident on my physical strangeness,” complained of back pain.
While weeding, we identified so many dragonflies were emerging on the leaves of young rice. Some are totally transparent like a glassworks. All of us recognized the richness of the nature in the organic environment.