Opening Address at the 4th Community Supported Agriculture International Conference, Kobe 2010 by President Satou Kisaku, from the Japan Organic Agriculture Association
Thank you for coming all the way from overseas and around the country for this Kobe Conference on Community Supported Agriculture and Food. It is my pleasure and honor to host the conference here in Japan, Welcome to you all and I see dear friends I have met at the 3rd conference in France, to whom I owe many thanks. Welcome to the country of the cherry blossom.
I would like to extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to those victims and sufferings of people in Haiti by the great earthquake.
The Doomsday clock on the cover of the “Bulletin of Atomic Scientists” of January 14th has gained one minute back to 6 minutes till midnight in the hope of good will of the leaders of the nuclear nations. Let’s think how many minutes we have if we had doomsday clock of the life on earth with its polluted hazardous environment?
Despite the skyrocketing number of starving people and jobless in the present economic depression, growers of food, farmers are giving up or chased out of their land and rural villages are disappearing all over the world.
Agribusiness of the world is after the profit seeking ever greater operations and driving out small family farms, and is trying to take grip on farmland and food. There is no hope of safe food or security of food in such agriculture for profit. The food is the absolute need for all people and it must come from self-sufficiency of a family.
Cooperation between producers and consumers in such a movement as Tekei, CSA and AMAP represents the grit of creating the circle of farmers’ self-sufficiency extended to consumers in each region.
30 years ago, this practice of self-sufficiency and Teikei gave birth to the “Ten Principles of Teikei”. The essence of Teikei is the “warm relationship between and among people”, which means to share and cooperate, and not to compete. This is the ideal we need most today.
Our founder, Mr Teruo Ichiraku foresaw the crises today and was alarmed and decided to form Japan Organic Agriculture Association (JOAA) 39 years ago and the Tekei movement began spreading throughout Japan. Leaders of Teikei brought experiences together of their years of practice for discussion which culminated as the “Ten principles of Teikei” in 1978.
The first principle strikes out the spirit of cooperation. The characteristic aspect of Mr Ichiraku’s cooperative spirit is the “self-reliance and mutual aid” in reconnecting diet with organic agriculture. His determination and foresight come vividly alive in the reprint of his biography “Sawing Seed in the Darkness”.
Mr. Ichiraku was a staff member of the Agricultural and Forestry Central Bank “the Norincukin Bank” during the Showa economic crises (1929-1931). Being posted in the battered rural village, he spectacularly revived agriculture and cooperation through the cooperativist movement he initiated. The core of the movement was the ideal of “self-reliance and mutual aid”.
JOAA was loaded with multiple difficulties when starting. These difficulties were overcome in the course of 40 years of activities, to see the Teikei movement spreading throughout the country and the world, thanks to the spirit and practice of both co-existence and symbiosis, as well as co-existence and shared poverty.
The tenth article in the “Ten Principles of Teikei” gives practical guidance “to keep on keeping on” even if the conditions are unfavorable. Organic agriculture is not just about growing and consuming of organic produce. It is an everlasting pursuit to be self-sufficient so that a life in harmony with the laws of universe can be realized.
At this 4th world conference of Urgenci, those who gathered here from various regions of the world will share and learn from each other the wisdom of producing, consuming, distributing and living brought together from each region and country.
I hope the wisdoms and experiences shared will help enhance self-sufficiency and cooperative spirit in every region and country and all creatures to live in harmony instead of isolation in a dry and dusty world if we strive to realize organic society. A society that will secure lives in peace without ever thinking about the environment doomsday clock.
May you all be self-sufficient and live contented in peace with all lives of the earth.