Welcome to part 3 of a series on Fujino, Kanagawa, Japan. If you’re smitten with what Fujino has to offer and would like to work for board and lodging as part of a WWOOF (WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms) arrangement, here are four places you can WWOOF at, and if you’re adventurous enough, you can do them all!:
1. Fujino Club
I have written an extensive post on Fujino Club here, it’s a great first-time WWOOFing location, and ideal for those who enjoy farm as well as kitchen work. Fujino Club uses natural farming methods, and from what I understand, they will also be employing permaculture methods from 2017.
To WWOOF with Fujino Club, find them on the WWOOF Japan network under Kanagawa in the Kanto region.
2. Permaculture Centre of Japan
Kiyokazu Shidara, a former rice farmer, started the Permaculture Center Japan (PCCJ) in 1996. In my previous post, I shared about my experience of PCCJ’s permaculture demonstration site featured below. PCCJ uses natural farming as well as permaculture methods – of course.
To WWOOF with Mr Shidara, contact him using the contact form at the PCCJ website – best read with the Google translate function if you are not able to read Japanese.
3. Byron Nagy’s farm
Regrettably, I did not take more photos of Byron Nagy’s farm, as my hands were muddy from weeding. Stacey, one of the WWOOFers kindly helped me take a couple of photos of his farm space. Why was I weeding? It was my off day and I really wanted to see his farm, and did some work in the process.
Byron is a problem hacker and comes up with creative solutions to issues, and there are permaculture principles at play everywhere. He’s a very hands-on permaculture practitioner, and it looks like he has been very busy setting the foundation for his farm.
His farm features aspects of Jean-Martin Fortier’s bio-intensive growing methods and permaculture methods. For example, he is trialling the stale seedbed method to manage weeds, this is detailed in The Market Gardener, by Jean-Martin Fortier, and a permaculture example is a guild, as seen below with his mushroom-innoculated logs under the mulberry trees.
In this photo, Byron and his WWOOFers are working on a rocket stove. He also allows time for his WWOOFers to work on personal projects, which is pretty cool.
This plot is a work-in-progress for Byron. To circumvent weeds on the narrow path, he is growing clover as groundcover. My memory is a bit slippery, I think he said that this plot has been cleared for the purpose of building a house.
His chickens are fed kitchen scraps and grain. He and his wife started an initiative where 4-5 families can rear chickens as part of a community, with the help of a a government grant. So families can feed the chooks food scraps instead of relying on commercial chicken feed, and the households can share the responsibilities too, so chickens won’t seem like such a daunting task for first time owners.
To WWOOF with Byron, find him on the WWOOF Japan network under Kanagawa in the Kanto region. He prefers WWOOFers who can stay for at least 3 weeks.
4. Bryan Whitehead’s residence
According to a recent blogpost, Shibori craftsman Bryan Whitehead mentions that he is open to receiving WWOOFers. Shibori is a traditional Japanese dyeing technique, and Bryan grows his own indigo plants for use on fabrics. See here for Conde Nast’s amazing photos of Bryan’s property, which overlooks Fujino Club’s tea plantation, and the collection of photos feature highlights from his course.
I recall seeing his property on the way to one of Fujino Club’s tea plantations, also I was informally introduced to him when he dropped by Fujino Club for lunch with his students.
Here’s a video I found of Bryan and the process of Shibori dyeing. To WWOOF with him, message him directly at the contact details provided on his website.
Have you WWOOFed at any of these places? If you have, please leave your comments below!