Genetic resources in traditional vegetables Grow, eat and save lives

Edo Tokyo vegetables (traditional vegetables) and first generation hybrid (hybrid) vegetables

Edo Tokyo vegetables

What are vegetables in Edo Tokyo?

The so-called “fixed seed” vegetables date from the Edo period until 1965 (1970), inheriting Tokyo’s vegetable culture that dates back to the Edo period and is guaranteed by self-grown or neighboring seedling dealers. . Was. As of January 2018, 48 varieties including the above 10 have been certified by the Tokyo JA Central Association.

Fixed species and first generation hybrids (hybrid species)

The term “fixed species” may sound difficult, but it is used to distinguish it from “first generation hybrids (also known as F1 or hybrids)” which are widely available in the market.
In 1965, when Japan achieved high economic growth, there was a need to steadily supply a large amount of agricultural products from production areas to consumption areas to feed the urban population. is growing fast.
Diverse innovation and breeding techniques have been developed to meet the needs. The first hybrid generation developed from here is an era-setting innovation allowing for mass production and stable supply.

One-generation hybrid has a high commercial value

The characteristic of first generation hybrids is that all vegetables are less likely to change in flavor, flavor, shape, size, color … and uniformity. Also, for producers, growing up is a good thing. The farming season is not too limited. It is resistant to diseases and pests. In other words, it is a highly economical vegetable that can be grown with less time and effort.
And for the consumer, it is a convenient vegetable that can be obtained quite cheaply anytime, anywhere, not just in season. In other words, in terms of value at that time, the commercial value brought about was extremely high for both sides.

Going back to the traditional vegetables that connect life

Agribusiness has changed dramatically

The emergence of such new commercially viable vegetables significantly changed Japanese agriculture.
First generation hybrids are those created by multiplying two fixed species and inheriting the good points of both parents. As the name suggests, it is limited to one generation, and even if these single-generation hybrids are crossed, seeds cannot be produced.
The producers buy and plant seeds annually from the so-called “seed shops”, which are the seed dealers that collect and manage the seeds permanently. Some of the seed dealers have grown into large-scale companies. In the past half century, such a business system has been built up in Japanese agriculture.

The number of traditional vegetable farmers fell sharply

Until the 1960s (early 1960s), Japanese vegetables were all fixed species. The so-called Edo Tokyo vegetable still doesn’t exist, and of course everyone eats the region’s seasonal vegetables.
However, as high-yielding first generation hybrids (hybrids) began to spread, producers gradually moved to that area. If not, it is difficult to continue farming.
In the second half of the 1980s, when the Showa era ended following this trend, the number of traditional vegetable farmers in Tokyo and other parts of the country plummeted.

Growing vegetables = connecting life

Fixed species, or traditional vegetables, have valuable genetic resources.
In the old days, the act of growing vegetables meant a cycle of sowing seeds, harvesting and eating the already planted plants, then sowing, replanting and replanting. It was so natural that most people wouldn’t notice, but it was a life-threatening activity later on.

Birth Name of “Edo Tokyo Vegetables”

Over time, economic growth has stopped and the population begins to decline in an aging society with declining fertility rates. In such circumstances, human values ​​are changing dramatically.
In an age where the population is expanding and mass-consuming and mass-consuming enterprises are encouraged, the practice of “connecting life” has been eroded in the pursuit of material affluence. . Traditional vegetables in ancient times are well worth a feeling of such an activity. In recent years, there has been increasing momentum across Tokyo to rediscover this and revive traditional vegetables in very food-sensitive people. Therefore, the name “Edo Tokyo Vegetables” was born and began to be used as a general term for the fixed species that nourish the culinary culture in each region of Tokyo.

Edo Tokyo vegetables are a local Tokyo specialty for local production and consumption.

The reason for the decline of traditional vegetables is due to the lack of circulation due to the inconsistent product. Although not suitable for mass production and steady supply, this is a delicious vegetable that can be used entirely for local lakes and ponds, and Tokyo Edo vegetables can be enjoyed as a specialty. of Tokyo.
For those who have lost their nurtured values ​​for the past half-century and are looking for a future lifestyle, traditional vegetables such as Edo Tokyo provide a rich source of nutrients not only for the body. but also for the spirit. Will it give you?

Reference: Edo Tokyo Vegetables / Story (Michishige Otake / Written by Institute of Agricultural Research)