Urban Agriculture Craze Boon to Farmers in Japan

Japan's yard-less city dwellers are increasingly drawn to "weekend farming" plots rented from commercial farmers on the urban fringe. Could it help the country's struggling agriculture sector? Kenji Hall reports.

Though there is no comprehensive data on the subject, anecdotal evidence suggests a growth in the number of urban families are trying their hand at farming, says Hall. In Tokyo, where residents can rent 150 square feet patches of public land, applicants exceed the number of plots 3-to-1.

Families are also renting plots from farmers at city edges--a small step towards strengthening Japan's agricultural industry, which has long been in decline, according to Hall. The nation's farmers are disadvantaged against global competitors due to outdated distribution systems and small scale. Japanese farms average 4.7 acres compared to 490 acres for American farms.

Hall writes:

"As of February, 979,000 acres, or 10% of Japan's farmland, sat empty, according to Agriculture Ministry data. Dormant fields are a lost opportunity in a country where only about a third of the land is arable...Eager to put unused farmland to use, the government has offered subsidies to farmers who avail their fields and expertise to couples, families and schoolchildren."

Full Story: Some Japanese take up weekend farming


Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month