Shizuoka City is very active with the welfare of mentally and physically impaired children, and consequently adults, because it is the location of one of the only two “Children Hospitals” in Japan.
It is also very much used as research center or “test case” to find ways to make life easier for such patients.
The fact that Shizuoka City has a mild climate all year through was played an important role in choosing and equipping such a location. But children eventually have to leave hospitals and be looked after in special institutions.
One such institution is Workshop Leaf in Kita, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City.
They came up with the idea of creating a garden under the leadership of young Ryoji Takeda/武田良治さん to grow organic and natural vegetables in 2009.
JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard/日本農林規格) gave them recognition as an organic agriculture farm in September 2014.
I finally visited the for the first time thanks to the help of my friend Nahoko Imai今井奈保子さん who runs a Fair Trade associated shop called Teebom in Sumpu Cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City (report coming soon!) where she sells some of their products
Organic herb tea.
Black and brown rice recognised as Eco farm products by the Shizuoka Prefecture Government.
Workshop Leaf does not only .produce agricultural products but also Japanese paper/Washi/和紙 and some reaaly cute dye cloths (another report coming soon!)!
Adult patients living in Workshop Leaf are severely mentally impaired and need constant care.
Among their occupations is farming under constant supervision. They seemed very calm and attentive to me in spite of their obvious impairments. I’m convinced such a natural outdoors occupation contributes to their well-being.
The farming is divided into two distinct projects, one organic and the other”natural”, that is done with no fertilizer, pesticides or even water.
The fertilizers used for the organic cultivation are basically organic matter matter including chicken manure, other animal manure and kurosekkai/黒石灰/black Calcium cyanamide.
Nahoko Imai and Ryoji Imai inspecting the “natural” fields.
As for the natural farming, fields are only covered with rice husks to protect them.
The original soil has been mixed with fine bamboo chips to help the natural breakdown of soil into a rich bed for vegetables. Interestingly enough insects hate such a soil thus making the use of pesticide obsolete.
I do recognize I need to explain in more detail such a cultivation but I don’t want to write mistakes and in any case this article is the first one of a monthly visit, therefore expect more details in the near future not only about the life in Workshop Leaf but also about their cultivation!
Natural cultivation carrots!
Appetizing natural carrots!
Actually I talked at length about the marketing of such agricultural products. Some local restaurants are already buying them and I plan not only to suggest other plant species but also introduce the farm to more local restaurants and chefs!
Natural farming turnips.
Natural farming fennel.
Natural farming artichokes.
Natural farming Swiss chard.
They do need to expand and already have another small field and a green house.
Inside view of the green house especially used for herbs!
Violet daikon in the field nearby.
Big red radishes in the field nearby.
More coming next month!
420-0961 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Kita, 3-18-37
Opening hours: 08:30~17:30
Closed on week ends
E-mail address: email@example.com
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