About Me

Me all giddy at the Kamakura Farmers Market
My name is Joan Lambert Bailey, and I write about food, farming and farmers markets in Japan. I believe small farms are a very real answer to all that ails our world from a lack of community to environmental degradation as well as climate change and obesity. Farming the same land season after season for literally thousands of years makes me think Japanese farmers have much to share with the rest of the world (and probably to learn, too), and I'd like to help facilitate that.

But I'm biased. I worked on a local, organic farm in Tokyo nearly every day for five years. Keeping my hands dirty there was a continuation of a farming adventure that started eons ago on a little farm in rural Michigan (or my mothers garden, depending on how you look at it), and thankfully continues to shape my life and thinking. I'm lucky enough to have worked alongside two of the nicest people in the world who share the fruits of their fields, their thoughts on farming and life, and recipes galore. There was hardly a meal made in my house that didn't include something from that green square of earth five minutes from my apartment and the train station both by bicycle.

Here in Kanagawa, the tradition continues. I've started preparing the soil in a community garden plot and chatting with my fellow gardeners about growing techniques, seeds, and you guessed it, recipes. While I'm working on a smaller scale, it is no less exciting and satisfying.

Needless to say then, I take every opportunity I can to sample Japanese food, try out traditional recipes and then put my own twist on them. I talk to farmers and producers wherever I am in my ever-so-slowly-improving Japanese, and then share what I find here. With a bit of initiative, map-reading, a phrasebook, and time, it's more than possible to find good, locally grown food anywhere – from Tokyo to Osaka to Hokkaido and beyond – in Japan. I can help you get out there to find it, learn how to make it, and maybe even to grow it yourself.

If you'd like to contact me about guided visits to farmers markets, supermarkets, or about food and farming in general, feel free to send a note to joandbailey (at) gmail dot com. I'd be glad to hear from you.


D. Lisa said...

Hello Joan,

I'm Lisa and I'll be moving to Kyoto with a vegan friend for an exchange year.
Do you have any knowledge of organic farms/markets in the Kansai area?

Thank you for what you are doing.

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

Hi Lisa, Yes, I do! I wrote an article for Kansai Scene not too long ago about a few different options. Here is a link to the article. https://www.kansaiscene.com/2014/01/growing-momentum/

I think what you might find the most useful will be the list of places to buy these products near the end. Good luck and let me know what you find!

Kunjika said...

Hello Joan,
Could you tell me of some organic/non organic farms in Japan?
ones in country side.
I need a list of some family run, independent run farms in rural Japan.
Similar to the list one sees on workaway and WWOOF websites.
your help will be appericiated
thank you :)

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

Hi Kunjika,

Such a list is pretty hard to compile. I think the ones you see on WWOOF are a good start. You could also look at some of the websites of the farmers markets I list here and go to each farm's site. Good luck!