Japanese Grandmas maintain local varieties

Fri, 08/11/2009 – Jude Fanton

While we can admire a market gardener who takes the initiative to save seeds of local varieties, it is home gardeners that maintain much more biodiversity, especially grandmothers.

We were really keen to visit the Chiba Prefectural Museum’s Grandmas’ Garden project with one of our former interns, Mariko Hamiguchi.

Arriving along the road in the exquisite landscape, they were so chatty, cheery and vital.

 

IMAGE While each of the grandmothers has a magnificent mixed garden, the project is located in a community plot in Kimemitsu area.

We met with seven of the grandmas involved who were there to prepare the soil for sowing wheat and harvest seeds of summer crops. They picked okra seeds and pumpkins and cleaned daikon seeds. Afterwards, just like with our Local Seed Networks in Australia, they shared food they had prepared from their own crops:- sweet potato (whole and as chips), peanuts (boiled and dry-fried with savoury flavours) and yacon (pickled).

IMAGE We say goodbye to the petites grandmothers.