Monday, March 11, 2013

The Earthquake: Now and Then

A favorite flowerbed spotted while volunteering in Ishinomaki. 
Two years ago today I sat in our living room nursing an injured Soleus and working on an article for Summer Tomato. The room started shaking, which was not unusual. It kept going, though, and seemed to get stronger. The light near our kitchen shelves swung wildly, and I decided I'd better get my crutches and dive under the desk. It kept going and got even stronger. I limped outside to join my frightened neighbors while utility poles rattled above us and the ground literally rolled under our feet. I've never been so frightened in my life. We all know rest of the story of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear disaster.

The story, however, isn't over. Disaster recovery and rebuilding takes a long time, longer than any one or any government or community or organization perhaps realizes. It also takes perseverance, cooperation, and a certain amount of energetic hope. While there are set-backs and missteps, there are also plenty of good things happening that move Japan forward from this triple disaster to a brighter future. As we think back on that day, I'd like to honor the people of an extraordinary region of a country I've come to love by remembering the good work underway.

Growing Solutions in Tohoku with Aquaponics discusses an innovative an on-going program to help people find a new way to grow food and plants a few entrepreneurial seeds along the way.

Rebuilding Faith: A Fukushima Farmer Finds Support at a Tokyo Farmers Market tells the story of how one farmer rebuilt her business with a little help from some new friends.

Growing New Life in Ishinomaki with Peace Boat shows how gardening feeds souls and communities as well as tummies.

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