Model project for Community Revitalisation and Reconstruction

In recent years, “the furusato hometown” (traditional rural) landscape of Japan is changing. Due to old aging in rural communities and various governmental policies such as the reduction of rice acreage policy, less and less young people are continuing in agriculture, and more and more farming land is becoming desolate. The once so common “furusato- hometowns” landscape of Japan, the green and golden paddy fields may now be no more than unused abandoned pieces of land.

After the disaster on March 11th, 2011, JOCV volunteer returnees went to Tohoku to volunteer in Sendai and Iwanuma, Miyagi and Tono, Iwate prefecture. Tono was chose as a base camp to dispatch volunteers to the coastal disaster areas of Kamaishi and Otsuchi. In addition to disaster relief, JOCA also collaborated with the local government of Tono city as they highly appreciated the former JOCV volunteer’s professionalism and ability to adapt to new environments.

project area in 2011
Unused land in Tono (2011)

From an early stage, Tono city did not only have a vision to be a logisitical support base for the sanriku coastal areas during times of disasters, but also had a community revitalization plan based on the agriculture, fishery and forestry industries. 

 


Rice planting, the first event of this project.( June 2012)

JOCA, impressed by this vision, met with the local government several times to develop a partnership between former JOCV volunteers and Tono city. JOCA also envisioned an international cultural exchange and global youth training program through the invitation of international volunteers and training of young Japanese people in agriculture.

In 2012, JOCA was able to cultivate 2.2 hectares of unused farming land with the help of Tono city agricultural revitalisation department and the Japan Agricultural Association (JA). JOCA plans to process the harvested rice into brown rice flour and send it to school children in Malawi as a supplementary food.   


In this field, rice was haevested the first time in these 40 years.


JOCA staff gathered in Tono to harvest the rice.


Not only JOCA staff, former members of JOCV, but also local people, displaced persons by disaster gatherd at the field.

 


Kagura, ceremonial dances of Shintoism was dedicated to cerebrate the harvest. Traditional culture is well preserved in Tono. 

 

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