Hide this

Chisan-Chishou: Fresh, Local Produce the Norm in Japan

September 21, 2006 | 7,570 views
Share This Article Share

Even in supermarkets in the heart of urban Japan, it is not uncommon for vegetables on the shelves to have been harvested the day before from local farms.

In the suburbs, produce served in the evenings was often picked the very same morning.

Chisan-chishou means "produce local, consume local", and is a widespread practice in Japan. With the exception of Hokkaido, the most rural Japanese island, farms in Japan are most small-scale and run by a few family members. 

The result is food which is not only fresh and local, but lovingly tended.

Most of the work is done by hand. Caring for each fruit or vegetable individually is impossible on large-scale farms which are more typical in the United State.

There has been a slight decline in Japanese local farms in recent years, but the Japanese government has been encouraging chisan-chishou. For example, selling farmland for commercial use incurs a high tax, but passing on farmland to children does not.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Unfortunately using small local farms is quickly disappearing here in America. Did you know a few years ago the number of people in prisons in the US actually surpassed the number of farmers?

Sad but true, multi-national corporations are forcing small farmers out of business. This is one of the prime stories of The Great Bird Flu Hoax which went on sale earlier this week and is rapidly on its way to becoming a NY Times best seller.

Small organic family farms, fresh-picked vegetables even in urban supermarkets, and produce so flavorful that even children are happy to eat their vegetables are quite common in Japan, but not so much in the U.S.

Eating organic food is a wonderful way to optimize your health.

  • Conventional farmers apply chemical fertilizers to the soil, but organic farmers feed and build soil with natural fertilizer, which is far more environmentally friendly.
  • Conventional farmers use insecticides, while organic farmers use natural methods such as insect predators and barriers.
  • Conventional farmers control weed growth by applying synthetic herbicides, but organic farmers use crop rotation, tillage, hand weeding, cover crops and mulches.

The result? Conventionally grown food is often tainted with chemical residues. Pesticides can have many negative influences on your health, including neurotoxicity, disruption of your endocrine system, carcinogenicity and immune system suppression.

Pesticide exposure may also affect male reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women.

Additionally, conventional produce tends to have fewer nutrients than organic produce. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce.

Studies have found significantly higher levels of nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and significantly less nitrates (a toxin) in organic crops.

Certainly makes you wonder if this access to fresh, local produce is one of the reasons why Japanese people are known for their long life expectancy. But such a diet is also possible in the U.S.

A diet based on whole organic foods does not have to be cost-prohibitive for the average family or single consumer. One way to keep costs down is to visit farmers' markets and use Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

Here are some great resources to obtain wholesome food that supports not only you but also the environment:

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Community  Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Farmers' Markets -- A national listing of farmers' markets.

Weston A. Price Foundation -- The goal of the Weston A. Price Foundation is to restore nutrient-dense traditional foods to the human diet through education, research, and activism.

Local Harvest -- This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.

Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals -- The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) -- CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.

[+] Sources and References

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico