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Food Supply Sources

Last modified April 15, 2009 09:27

Food Supply Sources. An example of urban agriculture for disaster preparedness.

Food Supply Sources

Copyright Seki City

Source: Japan for Sustainability

The city of Seki in Gifu Prefecture started a project in June 2008 to convert fallowed fields around city hall into vegetable farms in an attempt to assure food security in times of disaster. Expecting a large number of citizens to gather there in the event of a disaster, the city designated the area as the project site.

During the first season, pumpkins, daikon radishes, winter melons, taro roots, carrots, and other items were grown without the use of pesticides. In response to the city's call, local farmers donated their surplus nursery vegetable seedlings. Meanwhile, about 40 members of the "Seki Volunteer Group for Disaster Preparation," a volunteer group established under the municipal social welfare council, provided watering and weeding services. The members, mostly in their 60s and 70s, enjoy both the farming activities and the social contact, so the number of volunteers has gradually increased.

With a large amount of vegetables being harvested, including pumpkins weighing 150 kilograms each and enough daikon radishes to fill five pick-up trucks, the city held a drill of preparing hot meals outside using those vegetables in December 2008. Two huge cooking pots -- each serves 300 persons and is usually stored in the municipal storehouse for emergencies -- were used to cook vegetable soup for all the participants. Some vegetables were processed to be preserved, such as dried daikon radish strips and pickles, and other vegetables were kept to be stocked.

The city plans to continue the project in 2009 and onwards, hoping to raise citizens' awareness of disaster preparedness and also of the safety and reliability of locally grown vegetables. It also intends to offer the farm harvests to other areas in need when disasters occur.


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