The Muscat Fund has so far developed the following domestic activities.
Firefly Development Activities in Takanabe Town
The Environmental Conservation and Restoration Forum, a specified non-profit organization, is carrying out environmental beautification projects necessary for fireflies to live in Takanabe Town, Miyazaki Prefecture. At the same time, they are working to protect the historical heritage of Takanabe Town. The Muscat Fund has decided to provide a portion of the activity funds to support the "Takanabe Town Firefly Development Activity" implemented by this forum. However, we wanted to share our experiences through joint work rather than simply providing funding, so we decided to share an action plan so that interested parties could participate and explore opportunities for joint work. Furthermore, we will cooperate to the extent possible in the projects for regional exchange and information exchange promoted by the forum, and we are also considering support for obtaining other public subsidies. Since the start of support in 2019, progress reports have been created regularly, and the main contents are shown in the pictures below.
Reference: Home page of the Environmental Conservation and Restoration Forum
Water level measurement
Water quality survey
Organic Farming in Ushimado, Okayama Prefecture
Ushimado Town, Okayama Prefecture, right in front of Shodoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. There was a friend who was working hard as an organic farmer, aiming for food self-sufficiency and food safety. In Ushimado, there are organic farmers who are serious about food security and safety, and there is an organization that implements activities related to natural food as a coalition, and researchers who are trying to strongly back up such activities. In November 2008, the Ushimado Group and Okayama University sponsored the "Symposium on Serious Agriculture" and the "Local Production for Local Consumption Forum". Through opinion exchanges with the Ushimado Group and participation in such symposiums, AAI has become acutely aware of the importance of "securing successors" "inheritance of technology" and "land conservation" as elements that support agriculture in the future. The Muscat Fund has decided to establish a training institute "Ayn" jointly with the Ushimado Group. "Ayn" was intended to be used as a place for local farmers to hold meetings and get-togethers, as well as a lodging facility for those participating in farmer training, as well as to serve as a base for our domestic activities. Although it was used for accommodation and lectures during agricultural training for some university students, it was not actively used after that. However, we strongly believe that it is important to establish these bases on-site to get in touch with the reality of agriculture, and to continue to use them as a place for our own training, exchanges with farmers, and for thinking about the issues that Japanese agriculture is facing.
Reference 1: AAI News 63: Japan’s agriculture and AAI (3)
Reference 2: AAI News 63: Visiting a project of a Former Colleague (2)
Landscape in Ushimado
Field for organic agriculture
Shipping of products
Training institute "Ayn"
Organic farming in Satomi, Ibaraki Prefecture
In the Satomi district of Hitachiota City, which is located in a mountainous area in Ibaraki Prefecture, our colleague was engaged in organic farming. There is a group of organic farmers around him, and AAI had an opportunity to exchange opinions with that group. The exchange venue was an old private house that has become vacant and managed by a local NPO. It was also used as a place for interaction between urban and local people through soba making, concerts, and other events. We were able to have a friendly exchange meeting in the hall, on the dirt floor, and in front of the fireplace. At the exchange meeting, we were able to introduce the activities of AAI so far and discuss various problems and issues in carrying out agriculture in the region. The recent abandonment of cultivated land was introduced as a major problem by participants from agricultural cooperatives and administrative side. They introduce these farmlands to farmers and provide support to cultivators, but they have not come to a point where they can put a brake on the non-cultivation of farmlands. In addition, as activities to support farmers, support for marketing, enhancement of sales channels, and efforts for local production for local consumption were reported. This exchange meeting was a very good opportunity to think about what the Muscat Fund can do in the future in the fields of regional agricultural promotion, environmental conservation, and agriculture-livestock cooperation.
Reference: AAI News 62: Visiting a project of a Former Colleague (1)
Landscape of Satomi
Preparation for meeting