Many residents in the Tohoku region were engaged in small-scale farming prior to the disaster of 3/11. Rice farming in particular has not just been a source of income, but an integral part of the region’s culture and history. The tsunami had a devastating impact on these farms, both by depositing enormous amounts of sediment and debris and by contaminating the ground with sea water. Cleaning up these fields is therefore a key part of reviving the local economy, culture, and community.
For that reason, NICCO is conducting a project in various areas of Miyagi Prefecture to repair damaged fields by adopting the “fuyu mizu tambo” system of keeping water in the rice fields over the winter to desalinate the fields. Working with another local NPO, Tambo, they have been cleaning debris, conducting biological surveys, measuring radiation levels, and holding lectures and training sessions for local farmers. From the spring, they will assist in planting the rice and then help with the harvest after that.