Japanese Volunteers Grow Oranges

An interesting story from the Japan Times reports how a Tokyo based ENGO (Environmental NGO) has organised volunteers to run abandoned orange farms in Kanagawa Prefecture. These orange farms are becoming unprofitable in the current economic climate:

Many fruit farms are abandoned every year, mainly because of a lack of successors to the country’s rapidly aging farmers.

The ENGO charges its volunteers a small fee to turn into seasonal orange farmers. ‘Mikan’ oranges are apparently a traditional crop in Kanagawa and the ENGO concerned is especially concerned with ethical produce, in particular oranges (see their Orange Day). This is an interesting story that links volunteering with the important global trends of ageing, modernisation and globalisation. It also lends an important angle to study the effects of all three on a nations heritage and culture and suggests one way in which volunteer organisations could deal with the perceived problems.

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