Rice, wheat and soybean growers Mayumi and Osamu Urabe switched to organic, ecologically sustainable farming practices in 1990, spurred by Mayumi’s long illness. “I wanted rice and miso that would help my body heal,” she told us. “It was hard to find reliable sources, so we decided to grow these staples ourselves.” They then incorporated their 20-hectare farm to ensure that it would continue on after them.
As Mayumi’s strength returned, the Urabes received a few varieties of wild rice seeds. “They’re hard to grow,” she says. “The grasses reach shoulder height and are easily bent by storms. Yield is low. But the plant is resilient and its grains are loaded with minerals. It’s vitality itself.” That and food security are things we all need to be thinking about, she adds, noting that Japan’s population has soared 285 percent since 1950.
◎Kodaimai Urabe Noen
337 Ayugawa, Fujioka-shi, Gunma
Facebook : Kodaimai Urabe Noen
（The Cuisine Magazine /January 2019）