WHAT’S FARM LOCAL, EAT LOCAL? The FOOD HUB PROJECT in KAMIYAMA, JAPAN
The Food Hub Project all started from our current Chief Farm Officer’s love for Kamiyama. The project originally started as a working group for Kamiyama’s regional revitalization program in July 2015 in hopes of resurrecting the local community. The township and locals got together for half a year to discuss the future of Kamiyama, which further developed in building the foundation for what is now the Food Hub Project, established in April 2016, run by the Kamiyama township, Kamiyama TSUNAGU Corporation and monosus inc. (Tokyo).
Lack of next generation farmers and the aging of the current local farmers is one of the largest threats that is occurring in many of the farming communities in the mountain regions of Japan. This lead to the abandoning of vast farm lands which were further damaged by wildlife, resulting in this social issue of modern day Japan.
Currently, the average age of a Kamiyama farmer is 71 years old. This is just another story heard too often in many rural areas of Japan. The township of Kamiyama decided to tackle this issue together with the local community by “producing and consuming locally in sustainable quantities”, leading to the birth of the Food Hub Project.
Creating Small Scale Food System
With our “farm local, eat local” spirit as our core value, we aim to nurture relationships and pass down the diverse agricultural and culinary culture of Kamiyama to the next generation.
The ideology of a “food hub” was originally endorsed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
A regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand. (from Regional Food Hub Resource Guide)
With this in mind, we aim to expand Kamiyama’s future agricultural population and make Kamiyama a “farm local, eat local” hub. Along with farming, we manage a restaurant, bakery and store to distribute and market the local goods.
Cultivate, Create, Eat, Nurture with “The Tastes of Kamiyama”
Implementing social agriculture
Our project centers around social agriculture where we aim to foster the next generation of farmers along with the agricultural and culinary traditions of Kamiyama while protecting the beautiful landscapes and the surrounding environment. We are in the step-by-step process of implementing pesticide-free farming using organic fertilizers with the cooperation of local farmers, chefs and educators.
Working together with a group in Kamiyama which, for many years, has been focusing on preserving local culinary traditions, the Food Hub Project serves to create and preserve the local culture, both old and new. An inspiring book, “Kamiyama no Aji (The Tastes of Kamiyama)”, published in 1978, has become the root of our project.
Cook together, eat together
The safety of our food is of utmost concern, but at the same time, we revere the importance of the flavorful-ness of each vegetable. In recent years, it seems people believe a vegetable’s high sugar content = good taste. However, we aim to focus on bringing out the enriching flavor of each vegetable, and will continue to work with our chefs and bakers to create dishes which brings out the best of each food.
Continue to learn, educate, create
Farm local, eat local. This is our message to our future generation and we will continue to spread and educate this idea to the citizens of tomorrow. Together we will sow seeds, cook, eat and pass on the seeds we have harvested to the next generation. Working together with local farmers, producers, creators and schools, we aim to establish a dietary education for a continuing, sustainable future.
NURTURING FUTURE FARM LEADERS
5 elements we strive to nurture Kamiyama’s future farm leaders
1. SOCIAL AGRICULTURE
Farming which helps to preserve local agriculture, culinary traditions and environment of Kamiyama – farming by and for the community
2. RESTAURANT & BAKERY
Offering menus brimming with local ingredients which promote local foods
3. GROCERY STORE
Kamiyama-original products which enrich the culinary experience in each household
4. PROCESSED FOODS
Original products created with the local community
5. TEST KITCHEN
Community space used for education and developing new, local foods
THE RESTAURANT AND STORES
Eating and supporting Kamiyama’s agriculture
The restaurant, bakery and store run by the Food Hub Project aims to pass down the lush agricultural history of Kamiyama to the next generation. The rice and vegetables of the Food Hub Project were carefully grown in a pesticide-free, organic environment either by the Food Hub Agricultural Team or Kamiyama’s “Satoyama no Kai” local farmers. Because we want everyone to enjoy the benefits of Kamiyama’s diverse agriculture daily, we’ve got a promotional deal for Kamiyama residents throughout the year.
The restaurant, Kamaya, offers an abundant variety of seasonal dishes using Kamiyama’s local fare. The rice grown on the Food Hub Project Farm is exceptional, thanks to Kamiyama’s climate with its drastic temperature differences. This rice is cooked with spring water from the local mountains on our kamado (traditional Japanese-style earthen stove), the centerpiece of the Kamaya. We aim to serve the community as their local respite.
□ Breakfast – Coffee and home-baked bread from our bakery
□ Lunch – Seasonal menus using various local fare in a plate lunch style
□ Dinner – Pub & restaurant in obanzai style serving a variety of seasonal dishes
The Kama-pan & Store is an annex of Kamaya, selling home-baked bread and Kamiyama goods. The store offers carefully selected organic vegetables from all over Tokushima Prefecture, where Kamiyama resides, further extending to the entire island of Shikoku, with hand-crafted miso, soy sauce, and other culinary ingredients which are also used at Kamaya. Bread made from homegrown ferment along with sandwiches using seasonal ingredients can be found here as well. We hope to make the tables of homes a fun experience with many of the local fare.
□ Home-baked bread using homegrown ferment
□ Local Kamiyama products (spices, sauces, etc.)
□ Carefully selected culinary utensils
Our challenge has just started. We hope to report furthermore through our website.
If you have any question about the project, please e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org