Welcome to our agroforest page.

Picture - The access road to our property.

We Purchased a Mountain

On July 15, 2021, we purchased a mountain in the Northern section of Tanegashima island. We are now in the process of converting our forest into an agroforestry project.
A Bit About Our Mountain

We are already supplying close to 100% of our fresh food needs with our farms and now it was time for the next step, which in this case, meant buying a forested mountain. The mountain backs to a reservoir which supplies drinking and irrigation water to the northern section of the island. The total land area of the mountain is over 18,000 square meters, which is about 193,750 square feet for those of you still using the Imperial measuring system, or about 4.5 acres. The mountain is loaded with hinoki, sugi, and oak trees and has beautiful views of the reservoir. Public facilities are located directly across the reservoir and include a huge park, sports fields, a community center, and several bathrooms. A small cabin style bathroom is located a mere 4 minute walk from our property in a small park and includes flush toilets, a public source of drinking water, and picnic tables.
What is an Agroforest?

The Wikipedia definition is: An agroforest, or more specifically Agroforestry, is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. Although I agree with this definition to some extent, it seems like adding trees to existing farmland is nothing more than a glorified windbreak. For me, real agroforestry is more in the form of transforming an existing mountain forest into a productive, yet sustainable, ecosystem where the native trees are kept undisturbed with crops being the new introduction....not the trees.
Continue reading for a more detailed description of agroforestry....
Our Progress

The work on our agroforestry project seems slow, but after a year and a half of work, we were able to grow our first crops during the Summer of 2023. During that same Summer, a typhoon wiped out much of our crops but we were still able to salvage quite a bit. The project has been difficult from the beginning due to the many challenges we faced, and continue to face, along the way.
Continue reading to see our progress listed in reverse chronological order....

The work on our agroforest has been hampered by numerous challenges both personal and situational.

Personal Challenges

Probably the most difficult personal challenge has been working on our agroforest with three kids. As of 2023 they turned 14, 7, and 3 years old. Meeting their needs and still trying to be productive is a difficult balancing act. That said, They are very cooperative, they help a lot, especially our oldest son, and all of them enjoy our family time up in our mountain. On a more personal note, I am 63 years old as of 2023 and my wife is 43 years old. My physical condition has made the work on the agroforest painful but I still manage to put in full work days when we are up there. A few years a go I incurred an inguinal hernia, not long after a bicep injury to my right arm, and during the Summer of 2019 developed symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The hernia has become tolerable, the bicep injury is somewhat limiting my strength, and I am managing the arthritis through exercise and diet. The reasons for not getting dealing with these problems are many and will be discussed in a future post.

Situational Challenges