Photo: The Who Farm
Japan's Imperial Household is the institution that takes care of the Emperor and his responsibilities as head of state; they also run seven organic farms around Japan. Young Japanese organic farmers are blogging about the Imperial farms, and participating in organic conferences together with his royal highness' very down-to-earth, mud-under-your-fingernails farmers.
In a similar vein, it makes sense to mention Prince Charles' two decades of supporting the no-pesticide, no-GMO way of farming in the United Kingdom. So I was encouraged to learn about the White House Organic Farm Project: a good idea always sounds silly first, and then it suddenly becomes reality. Why should the president of the United States not be encouraging sustainable food production? Do have a look at TheWhoFarm website and blog, and why not sign their petition!Here in Japan, there are several books about the Imperial farms, but it is not a huge issue, as none of the current members of the Imperial family seem to want to make waves or getting into potentially controversial debates. From the Imperial Household Agency website, Imperial Stock Farm:
The Imperial Stock Farm is situated approximately 13km north-east of central Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture. At the farm, the main activities are arable farmings and stock breedings, which includes rearing of riding horses and carriage horses for the Imperial Family and for the Court functions, raising other livestocks and poultry, and producing such as milk, meat and eggs for the use of the Imperial Family and domestic and foreign guests. The farm is also used for the reception for the diplomatic missions resident in Japan.
As noted over at The Ecologist blog, Prince Charles didn't always have an easy time explaining how he felt about natural, pure food production:
When all of this started in the 1980s, the British press ground His Royal Highness down to a nub, branding him the prince who talked to plants. (Granted, he did say things like, "To get the best results, you must talk to your vegetables.")
He's still a little sensitive about it. "One of the great difficulties" of converting to organic farming, he wrote in his book, "turned out to be convincing others that you had not taken complete leave of your senses."
Which brings me to the main point of this entry: why should the president of the United States not be having an organic farm at the White House? The White House Organic Farm Project is a non-partisan, petition-based initiative to respectfully request that the 44th President oversee the planting of an organic farm on the grounds of The White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC.
Detractors of chemical-free food will tell you that this ignorance about "modern" farming has impeded consumers' decision-making and, worse, that only the rich consumers flourish.
TheWhoFarmMobile is two school buses fused together with an organic edible garden on the roof. It was originally designed by Stefan Sagmeister and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's, built by Tom Kennedy, and named Topsy Turvy. TheWhoFarm aquired the bus, ripped off the roof and planted an organic edible garden. TheWhoFarmMobile is now traveling across the big country to visit schools, food pantries, farmers' markets, festivals in an effort to inform the nation of TheWhoFarm and their petition.
More organic farms:
A Visit to Prince Charles' Highgrove Garden
Genetically Modified Foods "Biggest Environmental Disaster of All Time": Prince Charles
Prince Albert of Monaco is European Champion of the Earth
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp