the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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event: are rural communities doomed? changemakers say no!


credit: japan society

As you may be aware, Japanese society is contending with the combined societal challenges of an ageing population, low birthrate, and the decline of primary and local industries in a highly globalised world. This trend has also led to a significant and rising level of inequality between urban and rural areas in Japan. While Japan may be the first country to have to contend with these challenges on such a large scale, these same issues are in the pipeline for all developed and developing nations, the US included. We now know that the average age of the US rural farmer is about 57, and yet there are significant barriers for the next generation of young farmers who wish to access land. We here at Greenhorns know this as well as anybody else, our mission is to support and motivate the young farmers movement!

In response to these challenges, the Japan Society and the Japan NPO Center have joined forces for Resilient and Vibrant Rural Communities in Japan and the U.S., and are bringing together leaders from Japan and the U.S. dedicated to the revitalization of rural areas and small towns experiencing economic stagnation and declining population. Leaders from Japan will visit West Virginia, Ohio and Nebraska in the first stage of the project. Through the sharing of best practices that build back community resilience and vibrancy, the project contributes to leadership development through a unique international learning exchange and experience, and strengthens the work and impact of the participants’ organizations and their respective communities.

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the yamagata girls farm

if you can read japanese, here’s their website:

Young, Female, College Degree — Farmer
published January 9, 2011 in the Daily Yomiuri Online

YAMAGATA–With the job market for young graduates said to have entered an “ultra-ice age,” farming has cropped up as a potential option for some young women, with at least one farm celebrating the female aspect of its agribusiness.

The Yamagata Girls Farm in Murayama, Yamagata Prefecture, was founded by 29-year-old Nahoko Takahashi in 2009 and employs five other women. With three new members joining the farm this year, everyone was busy with the apple harvest on a day in late October. Continue reading