Restoring abandoned farmland in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan

Each day leading up to Giving Tuesday on November 27th, we will feature one case study showcasing our member companies’ social impact work. View the list to date here.

Hakuhodo + Hakuhodo DY Media Partners + Egao Tsunagete

What was our intention?

Abandoned farmland is a challenge facing Japan today. Due to an aging workforce, more and more arable land is being deserted. This represents not only a huge economic loss for the country but has also negative environmental impacts on neighboring farmland. We wanted to tackle this issue while offering a unique and fun farming experience for our people to share.

What did we do?
We partnered with Egao Tsunagete which translates to “Connecting the Smiles, a non-profit organization specialized in revitalizing local and rural economies. Together we identified  abandoned plots of land in the Yamanashi Prefecture (a 2 hour drive from Tokyo) and created a customized program to revive them. The program consisted of 4 to 8 farming trips a year that would invite about 20 people each time to work collectively the land. People would come together to Yamanashi, cultivate wasteland, pull up weeds, plant rice or harvest them depending on the time of the year.

How did this drive impact?
Since its inception in 2012, the program has organized 48 farming trips and attracted more than 900 participants. It has allowed members from different age groups and specialties to get to know each other and bond through a common physical experience. The surface of the rice paddy fields managed has tripled in size over the years and so has the amount of rice harvested. Freshly harvested rice is served at our cafeteria for 2 weeks in the spirit of sharing and with the aim to highlight the issue of abandoned farmland.

What do we aspire to do next?
We will continue to support the work we do with Egawo Tsunagete and encourage more of our people to take part in the farming journey.

Want to learn more? Contact:
Peihwa Lan