I am an American writer living in Japan where my work focuses on food, farming, and farmers markets with the occasional travel piece. Over the course of the past eight years, it has been my great pleasure to meet and visit a number of small farmers and learn from them while sharing the bounty of their fields.
They, particularly those practicing organic methods, present a very real solution to much of what ails our world, from a lack of community and environmental degradation to obesity and climate change. Telling their stories – whether that of a Tohoku farmer still coping with the effects of the 2011 triple disaster, a brother and sister duo in Nara combining natural farming techniques with traditional practices, or the Tokyo organic farmers I worked with every day for five years – has been an honor.
My work is undoubtedly inspired by my ancestors: German and Irish immigrants who left behind friends and family to start new lives in the fields and furrows of the American Midwest. My life in Japan has, in many ways, brought me closer to them, and I am sure that I seek out the stories I do in order to better understand my family history as well as myself. It is something of a long way around, but I find that taking the scenic route in life often affords better views.
My current efforts are divided between articles and book reviews about permaculture, natural farming, and traditional food practices in Japan along with essays about my experiences here. Farming the same land season after season for literally thousands of years, I believe the Japanese farmers I meet and spend time with have much to share with the rest of the world, and I’d like to help facilitate that.