While working as a teacher, Hayato Sugawara started growing vegetables and rice as a hobby in 2017. Activation is the word “intuition is right” from an acquaintance. It has been a few months since I started farming, and now it’s more fun than working hard, and in the future I want to rent a large field and do the mechanical farming challenge. We’ll convey the charms of agriculture that Mr. Sugawara experienced.
Hayato Sugawara’s biography
“Shared school” where you can have a school in your city
During my time as a teacher, I rented a neighborhood field and a rice field in Chiba Prefecture to do farming. It started in April 2017.
Field rental service “Split field” for those who want to grow without pesticides. The vegetables we make are corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, luccola and twenty-day turnips.
In the sharing field, there are always seeds available, users can choose and grow the vegetables they want to grow. Agricultural tools, cutlery and materials are available. As for the fertilizer, the ingredient and the recipe provided, so just sprinkle with it. You can play empty-handed.
Basically all the work is done by you on your own, but an experienced instructor is always on hand, so if you have any questions, you can ask them right away. The rental fee is 5,000 yen per block per month. The lot I rented is 1 lot and 2 lots. There are several areas shared in Tokyo, and they vary in size. The fields I rent are divided among about 100 households.
I go to the field once a week. It’s a 10-minute bike ride from my house to the fields, and I get there around 5 p.m. after school, watering and weeding until sunset. The harvest season takes place every three days.
We rented fields in Chiba Prefecture as well as fields. It takes about 2 hours to reach the paddy fields by connecting train and bus. I go once or twice a week and work all day. Since it is grown without pesticides, we mow the grass all day by machine and by hand in our daily weed fight.
My loan farmer taught me the basics of growing rice and supported me, so I’m enjoying it comfortably.
Do what you want to do rather than worry about what you could do
From a young age, I was interested in major industries like agriculture and hunting. I feel the power to live like a human being in the face of nature. However, I didn’t have the courage to jump in, thinking I couldn’t do it. Even so, my own desire to accomplish something increased day by day, and when someone said, “Intuition is right”, my thinking changed. Instead of worrying about what I could do, I decided to trust my intuition and do what I wanted to do.
Around the same time, I got to know about the existence of a shared school on my blog. If you are in an area in Tokyo, you can easily get started. When I searched, I found a field near my house and decided to rent it immediately.
On the first day, we rented farm tools and tilled the soil to make the fields. It was harder than I expected due to the hard work, and for the first time, I didn’t know how to make the exact edges. I don’t have much knowledge of agriculture, but I think there is something I can do about it, and I really enjoyed the job with the support of the instructors.
I will never forget the first time I ate a 20-day turnip grown from hand-picked seeds. I felt like a grandson, saying, “He grew up well”, and the taste was satisfying. However, it can fail. Even with the same 20-day turnip, when I plant it without a net, the fruit is cracked and I cannot eat. In addition, when making cucumbers, I am too busy going to the fields during the harvest season, after being left for 5 days, I am overcooked, unable to eat. I realize that the condition of the vegetables changes rapidly and it is important to monitor them without disturbing the speed.
If you rent a field, you will be closer to your dream
About a month after I rented the field, I was invited by an acquaintance to join a rice planting tour as part of an “agricultural retreat”. Agricultural retreat is a program to regain autonomy through agriculture. The rice growing experience there was fun but also made me uncomfortable.
After planting rice, I go to the fields again at the time of harvest and experience farming, but I feel that planting crops is not a temporary task but has to stick for a long time. I think that point is the same as education.
While talking to the farmers who accepted the tour, I heard that there were surplus rice fields and hunters acquainted with the farmers. I dreamed that renting could bring me closer to self-sufficiency, and I put it into practice.
Work allows you to work with passion when your surroundings are resting
Sowing seeds is the most exciting part of agriculture. Since it is cultivated without pesticides, weeds are easy to grow, and when the insects come together with the weeds, the vegetables and rice are eaten up in a flash. To avoid that, I cut the grass every time. However, after a week, it was back full of weeds.
When it is full of weeds, burning it, “pull it out until it’s straight back.” It’s like fighting nature. To improve efficiency, we always think of ways to draw. It’s interesting because what I think about and try is the results.
In the near future, we plan to rent a larger field to grow potatoes and sweet potatoes. In the end, I wanted to rent a large plot of land and do the agricultural challenge with machines.
Once upon a time, an acquaintance asked me like Bon Tet, “Are you doing a job where you can work with your passion even when those around you are absent? Looking back at this question now, I find myself wiping out my time in farming. The attraction of farming to me is that I work outside and work while sweating, and I choose all the steps myself and get the results.