A pig farm generates pig manure every day. It is natural for animals to obtain nutrition from food, and discharge waste in the form of manure. Manure poses a problem for the farm, though. The farm could dispose of it as waste, or reuse it as a resource. Both incur costs.
From its beginnings, Tategamori Ark Farm has explored sustainable agricultural practices. Sustainable agriculture involves practices for ensuring that agriculture remains sustainable into the future, such as using livestock, agricultural and household waste as fertilizer, and finding uses for garbage generated by agriculture.
Tategamori Ark Farm collects pig manure from the pig farm and kitchen waste from the restaurant and charcuterie factory and makes them into fully mature compost. The compost is used on our own crop fields, and also by neighboring farmers.
Harvested wheat and vegetables are used to produce meals at the farm’s restaurant, as well as pork buns, bread products and desserts. They are also sold directly to customers at the farm’s shop or via online and mail order shopping. In this way the farm promotes the effective utilization of resources and sustainability of agriculture.
Agricultural chemical-free vegetables are wholesome
and full of flavor.
Wheat used for our bread, pork buns and other products is all grown in our own approx. 10 ha field (JAS Organic certified).
Tategamori Ark Farm was built on land cleared of trees by the national government for agricultural use in the 1980s. Nobody was willing to take on this land initially, which was when the founder of Tategamori Ark Farm chanced upon it. The roughly 100-hectare block was left to us by the farm’s founder, who aspired to revitalize Japanese agriculture and preserve it for future generations as an industry with promising prospects.
The land, which was devoid of the kinds of nutrients present in farm soil and was instead desert-like in its clay-rich, stony composition, initially posed a considerable challenge because it was not suited to growing crops as it was. However, with some lateral thinking we realized that the fact that it was “virgin land” free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers was a huge asset, and embarked on preparing the soil in order to do the kind of farming that makes good use of land not previously farmed. This was how our organic farming, which utilizes compost made from pig manure, began.
The first crop we grew was Nanbu komugi, a variety of wheat local to Iwate. We experimented with various types of soil preparation, and gradually expanded the range of crops to include assorted herbs and vegetables. We still adhere to agricultural chemical-free farming, which, as confirmed by a scientific research institution, has increased the quantity of active microorganisms present in our farm soil.
Agricultural chemical-free farming is very labor-intensive. The greatest challenge is weeding. For example, the weeding of our roughly 10-hectare wheat field, which takes place in the early mornings every year in the early summer, requires the help of our entire staff. Without complete weeding, fields become overgrown with weeds, something that has happened many times, necessitating us to cut the still-green wheat.
Agricultural chemical-free farming does not produce as big a yield as conventional farming. But we carry on day-by-day with a strong determination, imagining the smiles of customers who appreciate our safe and wholesome wheat, bread, pork buns, desserts, noodles and other food products.
The site of Tategamori Ark Farm initially looked barren, with its red soil exposed after trees had been removed to convert the formerly lush land to agricultural use. It was as if nature had been stripped bare. The sight made the founder of Ark Farm decide to plant on this site 210,000 trees by the 21st century. Today a great variety of flowering and other trees adorn the farm, including azaleas, kobushi magnolias, Japanese magnolias, cherries, plums, Korean dogwood, Cornus officinalis dogwood, momi fir, maple and Enkianthus perulatus.
The farm also has a garden named Kaoru Kaze no Garden (lit. Fragrant Breeze Garden), comprised of three areas planted respectively with lavender, rose and herbs. There is also the Yumemigaoka Garden (lit. Dreamy Hill Garden) and the Niji-no-oka Garden (lit. Rainbow Hill Garden) planted with tulips and salvias. The Kagayaki-no-oka (lit. Luminous Hill) Garden is planted with rapeseed, sunflower, buckwheat and other flowering annuals offering seasonal delights. All of these gardens offer relaxation and inspiration to visitors to Tategamori Ark Farm.
Vegetables are grown year-round at Tategamori Ark Farm.