Friday we continued interviews, first meeting with a woman farmer that shared her views on the future of farming in the region, the affects of the nuclear fallout and her concerns for steep decline of youth population in Date City. A couple rather staggering statistics were the lack of new students entering kindergarten and no school age children in the primary school located in her district by 2018. Ms. Owada had a rather amusing nature as she described the fragile hands of today’s youth, quips on laziness and her hopes that the City would do more to promote gatherings for young people to ensure her son, a committed successor to run their farm would find a good wife.
We spent the afternoon with the JA Date Miria Farm Market store manager. Takahashi-san is an extremely resourceful and intelligent man that recognized what needed to be done in the wake of the disaster. He identified new sources for fresh produce, established testing procedures in his store and used all the resources at his disposal to calm the fears and emotions of his customers with “facts.” All indications are that he’s been successful and has some ideas that could help many others. He was also gracious and accepting of everything we had to offer. A good indicator of why he’s been successful.
With media coverage of the nuclear plants woes flooding the dialog, Mr. Takahashi recognized the need to leverage well defined easy to understand messaging he and his employees could use to explain and put the risk in perspective. The following leaflet draws comparisons between the levels of radiation contained in fruits and vegetables and the exposure we all receive from familiar activities like a chest x-ray or international flight. He further complements this with an store flier depicting the methods used to test produce with equipment purchased by the store for use by farmers and store personnel.
There’s no one element that will put the customers at ease, but Takashasi-san explained that his message is Safety, Freshness and products at the right price. http://www.jadatemirai.or.jp/