New Year Post 2022

This year marks 10 years in Japan, and 10 years growing food on our hillside orchard in the Seto Inland Sea. Originally, I intended to stay here for a few years as a local public school teacher, possibly traveling to other countries after my contract expired. When I worked on the land initially I often had dreams or visions of living in the citrus storage shed on the property. At the time "tiny homes" were becoming popular and living a more minimal lifestyle with less "impact" was something I had wanted to do after completing my studies in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University. When I was growing food, it really was my first experience to plant anything from seed. I was so excited about the chance to live a more self sufficient life devoting many weekdays after school and weekends commuting by bike to the land. A big concern was also coming here months after the Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown. I couldn't read Japanese kanji very well so my concern for where my food came from became an important issue, something that I also believed in from my SD courses.

10 years later and I get a lot of time in winter to reflect on this, maybe less time than some other farmers in much colder harsher climates. I think about these things when I work. At the beginning of the year I made a list detailing what I want to accomplish this month. And day by day it allows me to check in and see where I am heading and what I can do to make life just a little better on the farm. I also am able to reflect on the last year and what we did well and what we could do better. We had our best sales last year on the farm which I credit to more help from my wife and friend, Tom who came many days throughout the busy season to work and lend a hand. Kaori diligently helped harvest and pack boxes despite dealing with ongoing knee pain. We added online sales via Tabechoku to help increase our customer outreach to cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Last year we also acquired a new property that my father-in-law purchased and includes an older Japanese storage shed with a lot of potential and a Japanese house that can be used to host guests in the future and a possible site for AirBnB and workshops.

In all it was a year of growth for the farm and I am really happy with how everything turned out. This year however, will be one I hope of more personal growth. I have decided not to sell vegetables at many markets and we will reduce the number of days we harvest. I am still pursuing my degree at Hiroshima University, and will need to devote a considerable amount of time to authoring my first publication on hemp production as seen in previous blog entries. Hope everyone has had a good start to the new year. If you are wanting to get something done I suggest making a list and sticking to it. Reviewing it each day will let you check in with yourself.