News from the Farm | July 14, 2014

Meet Hideo “Tommy” Tomitaka!  

We are so lucky to have amazing groups of youthful interns come to our farm each year. They spend their time learning about all aspects of the farm, from animal care and rotational grazing techniques, to planting, to harvesting, and even a little bit of marketing. We have been participating in a program called the Japanese Agricultural Training Program for several years now. Our interns from Japan stay with us for just over a year, and we miss them so much when they leave! This week we will say goodbye to Hideo “Tommy” Tomitaka, who has been an excellent part of the team for the past year. The following is a short interview with him about his experience:

Jenna: What were your expectations about Full Belly Farm before you arrived? 

Tomi: I didn’t have very much information about Full Belly before I arrived, but I did know that it has been doing a great job in organic farming and its CSA program for many years. I expected to learn lots about how to successfully farm organically and how to manage a farm.

J: Was your experience what you expected?

T: It was very much better than I expected. This farm is managed well and we have a great connection with our CSA members.

J: What is the most important thing you learned this year?

T: How important it is to connect people with the farm. We have good connections with not only our CSA customers, but also our wholesale and restaurant buyers, who often come to the farm for lunch. We visit the restaurants who buy from us and ask for feedback. I learned that it is also important to connect the next generation to the farm.

J: How is agriculture in Japan different than in the United States?

T: The climate is very different. In the summer, it is hot and humid in Japan, and here in the U.S. it is very dry. We have typhoons in Japan that often do much damage to crops. This makes it hard to manage farms in Japan. The scale is also different. Farms in America are huge compared to farms in Japan. When I first saw an American farm I was so surprised about the scale. It makes it easier to manage farms efficiently. 

J: What did you enjoy most about your time here at Full Belly?

T: I really enjoyed how busy it is in the summer! The food is also great, especially the melons and tomatoes.

J: What is one thing you would like people to know about the farm?

T: I would like people to know that we have a great festival here in the fall called the Hoes Down Harvest Festival!

J: What do you plan on doing after you return to Japan? 

T: I plan to work as a distributor to connect local farms to restaurants and customers directly. 

J: What will you miss the most about the farm? 

T: The people and the dogs! 

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 Thank you for a great year, Tommy! We will miss you!