Work your own plot of land at Oak Village
On a bright sunny day in October ground was broken on a new type of organic farming venture where regular members of the public can rent a plot of land, receive agriculture lessons and sell their own vegetables in a specially constructed organic restaurant and farmers market.
Oak Village is a new agro-tourism concept that is attempting to bring the public closer to food production in a totally new way.
Located at Kashiwanoha, Chiba, just a one minute walk from the station of the high speed Tsukuba express line, Oak Village is easily accessible from Tokyo and packed with modern comforts you would never expect on a traditional farm.
A newly constructed “farmer’s house” acts as a clubhouse for visitors and is equipped with lockers, showers and a communal area. Next door, an organic restaurant and wedding hall that will complete the site are both under construction.
When the village is finished, it will act as a beacon to draw in the growing number of Tokyoites interested in organic food as well as those keen to learn a new hobby in the great outdoors.
What makes Oak Village special is that unlike other farms and allotments, families and individuals with little or no gardening experience can rent a plot of land and get their hands dirty, with minimal effort in a relaxed, friendly environment.
A trained agricultural teacher is on site most days and offers classes in gardening and nutrition. The immaculate farm site is perfect for children and makes for an unusual yet extremely valuable learning experience.
Every month the farm hosts cultural events centered on locally grown produce, such as the recent O-tsukimi (moon viewing) festival. More than just a way to connect with fellow “farmers” and customers, these events seek to create a rare sense of community that is often lacking in big cities.
For as little as ¥15,000 per month green fingered customers can rent a plot of fertile farm land to plant their own herbs, fruit and vegetables. And as well as learning how vegetables are grown, Oak farmers can sell their produce to the restaurant or at the market and of course are welcome to take home what they grow.
“Organic” was once a buzzword in foodie circles, and is now becoming more and more mainstream, especially as food security and ecology are making world news headlines.
The Japan Times recently reported that “Food self-sufficiency rate [in Japan] fell below 40%”. This issue is another reason that Oak Village special. If Japan is to thrive, as a country people must rediscover both nature and sustainability and organic food ventures such as Oak Village offer that chance in spades.
For Tokyoites concerned about their food, Oak Village offers learning and practical hands-on experiences that will become even more valuable in the future. By combining community, education and business, Oak Village has set a new precedent in Japan on how food is grown and consumed.
For families, Oak Village offers a new lifestyle concept; a place to go out of the city that offers healthy, active, hands-on learning opportunities and a community of like minded individuals waiting to share growing tips (and recipes!).
The idea behind Oak Village is so innovative in a country lacking in gardens and arable land, it makes you wonder: why didn’t someone think of it sooner?
Plots are still available from ¥15,000 per month, book now: www.oakvillagemgt.jp
Address: Oak Village Management, 185 Wakashiba, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba-ken, 1 Kashiwanoha Campus 149 block 1.
Nearest station: Kashiwanoha campus