Green Farmers’ Association
June 10, 2012
This project purchased essential farming equipment and created a website and marketable brand for the Green Farmers’ Association (GFA) in Minami Sanriku. The GFA revitalised the agricultural industry by turning fallow land into viable farmland. This helped the local community by providing cheap, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as creating opportunities for employment.
The earthquake and tsunami that struck Tohoku, Japan on March 11, 2011 devastated the city of Minamisanriku and left the entire coast line strewn with debris and rubble. The infrastructure was so heavily devastated that residents had to drive 45 minutes to the closest supermarket. In addition, there were few personal vehicles and little money to purchase supplies, making it extremely difficult to rebuild lives and livelihoods with so little personal financial and physical Independence.
This project provided equipment such as a tractor, a pest repellant sprayer and crates for storing, transporting and selling the produce. A website and blog developed an online profile for GFA as well as the development of logos, branded key chains and lunch boxes, catalogues and pamphlets to help boost sales. This enabled the GFA to step up and into the next level of development and begin to manage as a business in its own right.
The tsunami shattered the primary fishing industry and at one point drove the unemployment rate as high as 90%. The businesses and former industries of Minamisanriku are struggling to rebuild as although there are jobs available to local residents, the very low salaries, dwindling young adult population, and lack of variety and options are all contributing factors in the declination of the city. This means that there are few incentives for those with ambition to remain and invest in Minamisanriku and the town in general is likely to struggle.
With this project, REI took a step outside the usual framework for support. This was reasoned with the need to do what REI does best, support people to rebuild their community.
The OGA for Aid cleared and levelled land for building a Green Farmers Association factory and began construction as well as electricity work, plumbing and cementing.
OGA for Aid completed maintenance of greenhouses, farms and equipment, and also invested in new equipment for future harvesting.