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 very much welcome direct sales as well. We also sell veggies directly to chefs, local restaurants, and a local roadside farm market.

About The Growers

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Ava has been growing organic vegetables for over 17 years, starting as an apprentice in Ontario Canada, co-owning a small CSA (Community Shared Agriculture), and now farming in Kyoto. Zenryu has grown organic vegetables as a hobby for over 20 years in California, and recently worked as a farm worker on a large-scale organic farm in Ibaraki Prefecture, specializing in baby salad mix. We both moved away from Ibaraki to Kyoto out of concern for the health and safety of food grown in the Tohoku area after the 2011 nuclear radiation disaster. Because we were evacuees, we qualified for a relocation grant through Sakanotochu, whom found our land, home, and initial buyers. We are forever grateful for their support during that difficult time.

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 covers, 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! Our current projects include saving as much of our own seeds as possible (45 varieties and counting), building soil microbial flora, and growing only heritage varieties of veggies (never F1 strands).

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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