When it comes to the soothing, serene region of Setouchi, sustainability is top of mind in so many aspects, not the least of which is food production in a meaningful, more environmentally-conscious manner. Set on the Seto Inland Sea in Japan and blessed with a mild climate and rich fertile soil, locally grown products grown thoughtfully have proven to create a common movement amongst producers to make the most of local resources that the towns and the land are already blessed with.
Sustainability is Key
One notable company that is taking sustainability to a higher level is Setouchi Jam’s Garden which looks beyond just the agricultural aspect to fold in human resources to benefit the local economy, tourism, and beyond. This innovative project set on a remote island in Yamaguchi Prefecture was launched in 2007 and is a strong contributor to the local economy by selling its jams to tourists and also online for delivery to larger local cities.
This remote collaboration between farm and city creates positive economic benefits while closer to home, they ensure that the growth of their farm’s crops do not cross paths with the crops of other neighboring farmers. Purchasing elements needed from one another elevates one another instead of creating tough competition, and as a result, long term relationships are built as well.
However, the pathway was not always so smooth, thus prompting continual innovation. In 2018, a German freight boat crashed into the only bridge that connects the remote island with the main island of Honshu, thus halting water supply and traffic for several weeks. Tourism was devastated, so bringing the products to the web was the natural way forward and they were able to roll in the sale of other products from different local providers, thus creating name recognition not only for the products but for the region itself.
Setouchi Jam’s Garden produces over 180 flavors inspired by local seasonal fruits harvested at different times, so for instance, the autumn version of a particular varietal using a fruit tastes differently than its summer-harvested one. Challenged with a local aging population and a remote location, bringing the internet into the fold and expanding the distribution of the products has increased demand, and thus profits without having to alter proven methods and processes which in the end, still serve to benefit the local community.
More About Setouchi
In another vein, a revitalization effort for the island itself is also an area of focus, whereas the CEO offers opportunities to those that perhaps may want to relocate to the island, hosting visits, exchange events between locals and visitors, and fostering community connections. With values and traditional practices at the core, merged with the technology and distribution of current times, innovation continues at a sustainable pace and allows authenticity to shine through.
For more information on the Setouchi region of Japan, please visit www.setouchifinder.com/en