New Zealander On A Mission To Turn Japan Green

In the aftermath of the devastating 2011 Christchurch earthquake and Japan’s Tohoku triple disaster Tokyo-based Kiwi Jon Walsh decided he needed to build a more sustainable and resource-independent lifestyle. Today he is sharing his skills with others, as reported in The Japan Times.

“I suddenly stopped assuming I would be able to obtain food from a shop every day. If a major quake struck, I figured most people’s emergency supplies would be exhausted within days to a week,” he said.

“Then what? People would be forced to ask, beg, assault and steal to secure food and water. In a city with a population the size of Tokyo, that would trigger mass chaos.”

People who knew and were able to collect rain water and grow food would have a clear advantage, explained Walsh.

Walsh started by building a rain collector by draping a large sheet of plastic over the verandah of his family’s house and converted “the small 6-by-1-meter strip of unused land behind the family home into a garden” to create “a self-sustaining supply of food resources for himself and his family.” He also rented a 3-by-5-meter allotment at the local community garden.

“Walsh wasn’t content with simply growing enough food to enable his family, friends and neighbors to be self-sufficient, and in 2012 — despite having no prior professional gardening experience — he launched an urban farming/sustainability venture and began sharing the skills he had learned with others,” reports the article.

After showing his 4 year-old daughter the basics of working in the garden patch he got the idea that he could teach kids how to garden as part of his project.

He discussed his idea of setting up a food-growing program with the founder and principal of Tokyo International School, “and by October that year he was hired to kick off the school’s first urban farming teaching program.”

“Students loved and were amazed to see little plants sprouting from the seeds they had hand sown themselves,” he said.

“Several students have gone on to create their own gardens on their balconies, applying the skills they had learned in the lessons,” according to TIS teacher Fiona Broadfoot.

Today the Kiwi’s student body has grown to include teachers, parents, PTA members and business people.

While the initial purpose of his program had been to help people become more self-sufficient, Walsh quickly discovered this training also helped people eat healthier, stay healthier, gain a greater appreciation of nature, live more sustainable lifestyles and protect the environment.”

“And when fresh food and good ideas are given and shared, it naturally brings people together in very positive ways. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of,” he said.

Article Source: The Japan Times, Simon Scott, March 8 ,2017
Image Source: Pixabay


Tags: Japan Times  Jon Walsh  Tokyo