Report from Seed Savers’ Tour of Japan

Wed, 28/10/2009 – Jude Fanton

Seed Savers Japan tour, 22nd October to 8th November. Kanazawa city, Kyushu island, Nagoya city and Chiba Prefecture. Biodiversity Japan invited us to give the keynote speech at Biodiversity Symposium in Kanazawa city.

Concept of seed saving is known but we hear not practised except by very few. We’ll meet the seed keepers in the next two weeks!

IMAGE Meeting with Domoto-san centre front with Michel and Jude Fanton and then our former intern, Megumu Ogata, on her left.

Saturday: Sunset Temple near Kanazawa Meeting of farmers and others interested in biodiversity and Mrs Domoto, former parliamentarian and Chiba Governor, now spokeswoman for Biodiversity Japan – concept of satoyama: landscape of the village farm and adjoining forest with Domoto-san.

IMAGE Typical satoyama.

Sunday, Jude and Michel Fanton keynote speakers Biodiversity Symposium. Promoting traditional varieties of food plants as crucial to environment and health.

Monday. Travel by express and bullet train from Kanazawa to Kyushu. Graciously hosted at shoeless Ryokan by the sea, island of Kyushu. Dinner miniature dishes of 47 ingredients.

Tuesday. Ryokan by sea specialising in local vegetables, wild foods and seafood courses such as cod’s sperm sac. Delish! Cheap as chips. Cycling around farms to film them.

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Kanazawa. Contrast galore: all modernity, but access to internet eludes us even though we have Meg with us, our interpreter friend.

Technology: Amenities controlled by sensors, but overemployment like a man holding a small sign on the footpath

Food: Automated food dispensers, but the finest artistic hand-made food dominates.

Seeds: Hybrids massive in commercial ag, but urban gardeners maintain food plant biodiversity in multifarious containers.

Landscape: 400 km of urban sprawl Kyoto to Fukuoka, interspersed with bonsai, mountains and sea backdrop.

Apparel: Mini-stepping kimono-wearing women, with punk spiky anime characters.