What do you do if you live in a cramped, workaholic country like Japan and still want to grow veggies in your precious, quality leisure time? This desire to be a weekend urban farmer is relevant for other locations too. Hydroponic farming projects are fast becoming popular everywhere, including Egypt and other parts of the Middle East.
Japan, in particular, has an acute land availability problem for people who cannot afford traditional weekend countryside retreats for gardening due to being confined to high-rise urban environments.
To help make gardening a reality for more city dwellers, a Japanese company Tanabatake Sukusuku now offers rental hydroponic growing containers on a monthly basis.
Opened in 2014 by Kajima Tatemono Sogo Kanri Co., a Tokyo based building and maintenance company, individuals and families can rent small hydroponic growing containers or “beds” and choose from 51 kinds of vegetable seeds; or bring their own.
“A cityscape becomes dark when the number of vacant buildings increases. Lights for gardening can illuminate the city, and I hope the greenery of the vegetables is like a downtown oasis and refreshes passers-by,” says Tsuneaki Ihana, who works in the company’s technical information section.
The rental space idea appears to be gaining popularity as more people are becoming involved. Staff advisors are on hand to assist with various aspects of hydroponic gardening, including humidity and temperature control and measuring the correct amount of fertilizer required.
American companies like flux are building the “brains” for hydroponic gardens and farms, to make it easy and hassle-free, and tell Green Prophet that multi-billion companies from Japan have contacted them to see how urban farming can go wide in Japan: Hydroponics can green city rooftops and grow high quality food for the discerning Japanese, but it’s also is a great hobby for Japan’s growing senior population. The government wants them engaged but they can’t bend over to tend to regular soil gardens. Hydroponic gardens can be raised on tables or built on walls on solve this problem.
One part-time gardener in Japan growing food this way said that it would be much harder to look after such a project if done from home and enjoys the flexibility community-style farming allows: “Here, I can casually enjoy farming when I have time,” she says.
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Photo of hydroponic lettuce farms by Pengertian Hodroponik