FEATURE 17FARM CLUB
At DESCENDANT, we hold an annual event called “FARM CLUB.” We started this event at our flagship store in 2018, with the intent of providing healthy food choices to our customers by selling produce harvested from our friends’ farms. Organizing FARM CLUB’s 3rd-year event will be Daichi Yanagida, who previously held the position of store manager at DESCENDANT and has since chosen to pursue his dream of becoming a farmer. Asked Mr. Yanagida, with such has a unique career about how he changed his path and the way grow his vegetables. We asked Mr. Yanagida, with such a background, what prompted his strange commitment to farming.
“It’s not like my parents are farmers, nor did I grow up in the farm fields but for the decision to become a farmer… I believe it’s rooted in my experiences of being raised by food that was consciously chosen, such as organic vegetables and home-cooked meals. I remember my mom going to a grocery store that was not near to purchase organic vegetables, which were not as common as they are now. Also, in my vague recollection, “The One-Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka and “Combined Pollution” by Sawako Ariyoshi showed me the way. There is no doubt that not only natural farming but also the use of dangerous pesticides and chemical fertilizers’ spread within society significantly impacted my ideas of agriculture.”
While working as a store manager at DESCENDANT, on his days off, Mr. Yanagida participated and experienced farming in Saitama prefecture, where he grew up and eventually made the decision to move to Ogawa-machi in Saitama where organic agriculture was thriving. “At the interview before joining the company, I noted to TET that I’d like to pursue my dream of farming in the future, so he sent me out supportively. Ogawa-machi has a training system for those who are interested and new to farming and work under a master to learn the vegetable farming know-how. During those years, I worked five days a week at my master’s farm and, in my spare time, pursued my ideal organic farming without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. I tried to grow my vegetables as natural as possible, such as not using vinyl sheets that prevent weeds from growing, which in turn, reduce the intense labor of weed pulling. The use of vinyl sheets may lessen the extra labor, but the moisture in the soil will not be as balanced and may affect the number of beneficial insects. Also, after harvesting the vegetables and fruits, pulling the roots out and leaving them in the field so they can rest and dissolve naturally. It may not be the most efficient way, but I’d like to do things this way as much as I can now. Without the use of typical large tractors, my theme is using what’s available around me for sustainable farming.”
Mr. Yanagida will finish his training in May and will be an independent farmer. From his experiences, there are no differences between farming and parenting. “Like we try to create the best environment for children to be themselves freely, the essential thing for agriculture is having fertile soil, then to properly seed and cultivate, vegetables will respond to it. I think farming and parenting are the same in the way of trying what’s best and repeating trials and errors. Especially for the crops that you have never grown, it is tough to maintain, and you need to figure out why and try different things. It is essential to be patient when you farm. The motivation to keep farming, realizing the tiny little changes seen and touched every day. The results will be witnessed with your own eyes.”
On February 8th, 2020, we will have a panel exhibition of Mr. Yanagida’s farm work as well as his organic vegetable sale at DESCENDANT in Nakameguro, Tokyo. “I will bring carrots, radishes, beets, rutabagas, and spinaches as well as about 20 different kinds of vegetables from my master’s farm. We will also hand out ZINE about how our family cultivates the vegetables. I believe FARM CLUB is a valuable opportunity for me to reach out to people who are not particularly interested in growing vegetables and farming through DESCENDANT and maybe give them an insight. I want to encourage and educate people about organic vegetable farming. After I became an independent farmer, I would like to have opportunities for people to experience a farm and create a farming theme park is my dream.”
Also, those who make a purchase over 1,000 yen on the day of the event can participate in the baby leaf seeding workshop on a first-come, first-served basis. Bring the seeded pot home and enjoy the petit farming experience at home or work. The venue will also sell ales of KAMIKATZ beer, original to DESCENDANT, brewed in Kamikatsu-Cho, Tokushima Prefecture. Why not toast with a craft beer while reviewing delicious recipes of organic vegetables? DESCENDANT presents FARM CLUB 2020 Date: Saturday, February 8th, 2020 11AM – 5PM
Place: DESCENDANT (Aobadai 1-6-52, Meguro-ku, Tokyo)
*Event lasts while the vegetables and beer last Daichi Yanagida Born in Saitama in 1988. From working as a Model, store staff, and store manager, joining agricultural training in 2018, then the family moving to Ogawa-machi, Saitama. Currently giving his best to be an independent farmer after he completes his training in May, 2020. A family of four, his wife and two daughters. KAMIKATZ KAMIKATZ is one of the craft beers’ names from RISE & WIN Brewing Co., which is a microbrewery in Kamikatsu-Cho, Tokushima where is well known for their zero-waste town. Developed DESCENDANT original ale and sold at events.