About

What We Do

Hello Farm Organics is a small, organic market garden run by Zenryu Owatari and Ava Richardson in the beautiful hills of Keihoku, Kyoto, Japan. The farm started in March, 2012 as a farm-start initiative and offers over 100 varieties of organic vegetables such as baby salad mix, heirloom tomatoes, beans, Asian greens, root crops, Western veggies, fruits and herbs. Currently, most sales are arranged through Sakanotochu (On-The-Slope) www.on-the-slope.com, an organic retailer, distributor and NPO based in downtown Kyoto. However, we welcome direct sales as well. We have been developing our own veggie box program for a few years now, offering mixed organic vegetables directly to families via refrigerated delivery service. Most of our clients are in the Kansai area, notably Kyoto. We have also been and will continue supporting communities effected by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster by donating a percentage of our crops to orphanages, kindergartens, and small parent groups concerned about food safety in Fukushima Prefecture and the Tohoku area.

About The Growers

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Ava completed 3 seed-to-seed farm apprenticeships in Canada, and co-owned her own CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) and market garden in Ontario for 4 years prior to coming to Japan. Zenryu has grown organic vegetables for over 20 years as a hobby in California, and recently worked as a professional farm worker on a large-scale organic farm in Ibaraki Prefecture, specializing in baby salad mix. Both Ava and Zenryu moved away from Ibaraki to Kyoto out of concern for the health and safety of food grown in the Tohoku area after the nuclear radiation disaster.

Philosophy and Practices

We believe strongly in growing and eating wholesome, healthy, local, and safe organic food. Although our farm is not certified organic, we follow Ontario’s Organic Crop Producers and Processors regulations http://www.pro-cert.org/ , which is also recognized by the Japan Ministry of Agriculture. We predominantly use preventative pest control methods such as row cover, crop rotation, crop biodiversity, some permaculture techniques, and composting for whole-farm soil fertility. Under absolutely no circumstances would we use chemical fertilizers, GMO’s, or chemical pesticides, even when the cutworms decided to eat our entire lettuce crop!

We are annoyed at the over packaging epidemic here in Japan, and aspire to ween our customers off of plastic as much as possible. We are not opposed to leaving a bit of dirt on our potatoes or giving our customers delicious, but fun-shaped carrots. Taste and health trumps all, and we trust that our customers will understand that a few holes in their kale leaves is testimony to how delicious the wildlife find the crops, as well as proof of our organic practices. Come see for yourself! We welcome visitors and volunteers to the farm any time.

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2 Responses to “About”

  1. haleakala October 25, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Hello! My daughter and I will be staying in Kyoto for three months (Jan. 15- Apr. 15). Will you be offering veggie boxes during these months, and if so, do you deliver to the Heian Shrine area?
    Thanks so much!
    Tammy Staats

    • hellofarmorganics October 25, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

      Hello. Thank you so much for your interest in our veggie box progam, but unfortunately we close the farm for the snowy winter and our box program starts in June.
      You could try http://www.on-the-slope.com. They have a year-round box program and source organic veggies from all over Kansai, including us.
      Hope that helps.
      Ava

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