25 Aug 2009

A new lifestyle trend of part-time farming while pursuing other ventures is becoming popular in Japan. The lifestyle choice, known as ‘Half farmer Half X’ involves people growing food for their family while being involved in realizing their own personal passion – known as the ‘X’ factor.

The global economic crisis saw Japan suffer number of business failures and job losses, adding to a number of other issues already facing the country – youth unemployment, low self-sufficiency in energy and food, a rapidly aging society as well as an aging farming population with more than two thirds of farmers aged over 65. It is hoped that this new lifestyle choice will help to improve some of these issues, and provide a diverse future for an eco-friendly 21st century.

The concept, originally proposed by Naoki Shiomi in the mid 1990s, is based on the premise that by determining their ‘X factor’, people can abandon the twentieth-century style of mass production, mass consumption, mass transportation, and mass disposal, while moving towards happier lives and a sustainable planet. Not only country-dwellers are embracing the lifestyle, with many people growing food on balconies, rooftops, weekend farm plots and community gardens.

Shiomi explains that in the act of growing things, people can have a direct experience with nature and begin to harmonize with it. In the modern world, places of production and consumption are almost completely separate – being involved with growing food can help people regain sensibility and sensitivity to the natural world.

Source: Japan for Sustainability

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