The convening power of food! A field trip in Tokyo.

Tokyo was a revelation. During a field trip of 8 days, as a guest of Nerima City’s Mayor, most of my time was spent visiting an impressive and largely unknown, in the Anglo Saxon world, array of urban agriculture projects. Nerima City is a ward of Tokyo and was until the middle of the last century farm land feeding Tokyo and its former incarnation, Edo. Today over 15% of its land area is agricultural, sitting right in the middle of built up areas. My task along with two other guests from New York and one from London was to give feedback on Nerima’s urban agriculture and plans for next year’s World Urban Agriculture Summit, which will be hosted in Nerima. The practices we found were innovative, sophisticated and highly productive. The city has a defined “productive green zone” that includes spaces for urban agriculture, and this zone shares similarities with Katrin and my design concept for “Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes (CPULs)”. As exciting as seeing all of this, was the openness of framers, many of whom have been farming the area for over 300 years, to innovations such as the CPUL concept and I am looking forward to seeing how ideas are advanced over the next year. This blog’s images are dedicated to food and eating!

Professor Andre Viljoen.

In addition to attending events hosted by Nerima City in preparation for the 2019 World Urban Agriculture Summit, Andre is conducting primary field work with the assistance of colleagues from Prof. Makoto Yokohari’s team at the University of Tokyo. Farmer Ogawa entertained him and students Jack Lichten and Yutong Wang and Prof. Toru Terada during a visit to his farm in Kashiwa.