- On 2021/7/1
On Saturday, January 30, 2021, we held a fieldwork event at “Mori no Ouchi” and “Mori no Hanare,” the activity bases of Non-Profit Organization Mori no Oto in Aoba-ku, Yokohama.
The theme was “Circular Economy and Urban Development.” Ms.Madoka Kitahara, Chief Officer, and Ms.Akiko Umehara, Community Design Manager, gave an introduction about their community building projects through up-cycling.
Mori no Oto is where local citizen writers disseminate valuable information
Mori no Oto is a web platform that disseminates various local information to outside area. For more background on the establishment of Mori no Oto, please refer to our another article (Japanese.)
First of all, Ms. Umehara introduced their shared workspace and explained about the circular economy practices they are involved in.
Ms. Umehara said; When we write articles, the writers, interviewees, editors, and readers listen to each other’s activities and thoughts. That changes their sense of values, behavior, and eventually changes the environment as well.
Through the Mori no Oto media, they are providing an opportunity for people to reconsider the relationship between themselves and the community from the perspective of ecology and sustainability.
The activities of Mori no Oto are not only on the web media. They also create opportunities for people to come into the local community relationship. They held Mori no Hanare DIY projects which is the Harvest Festival stores and the organizations that have featured on Mori no Oto media bunch up.
The base of the local community, Mori no Ouchi and Mori-no-hanare
After Ms Umehara’s lecture, she had us walk around the property in which Mori no Oto supporters built with local construction companies and local landscapers.
In the Mochi Yori Hatake garden, they are growing various plants such as herbs, including white sage, lemons, chives, cilantro, and chrysanthemums, in a circular pattern, as recommended by permaculture. These plants are said to be full grown around spring to summer.
A Cloth up-cycling project “AppliQué”
“AppliQué“is another project that Mori no Oto has been focusing on. This is a circular business that sells donated cloth and handcraft materials to circulate them to next users.
At Mori no Hanare, there are many donated fabrics and handicraft materials that are gathered from all over Japan for the monthly charity market called “Meguru Nuno Ichi.” This charity market was originally derived from the media business of Mori no Oto. It creates a circulation of local consumption and protects Japanese handcraft culture. Additionally it leads people to be aware of the environmental issues.
The sample goods on display such as chopstick wrappers and reusable bags are the items that can be used many times and for a long time.
There are various sizes and patterns of cloths too. Some of them can be used for handkerchiefs and some of others can be as big as carpets.
The participants were all very curious that they were picking up and looking at the unique fabrics.
“I was surprised by these rich variety of cloths. I felt that crafting from these cloths by myself would be a step towards sustainable practice on a daily basis,” one of the participants shared their thought with us.
After the visit
At the end of the fieldwork, the participants shared their findings with each other.
“I learned a lot by seeing how they are making efforts to achieve what they want to do.”
“The interior and arrangement at Mori no Hanare was very impressive. I realized that the power of creativity is an important element of getting more and more people involved.”
“I felt that food, clothing, and housing are loosely connected to eachother within the Mori no Oto business.”
“Through today’s experience,I got to think that I would like more people to know Mori no Oto’s various wonderful activities.”
Mori no Oto’s mission is to “create opportunities to take the first step by editing the local community along with daily life.” Through their interview activities, Mori no Oto builds relationships between all the stakeholders, including citizen writers, interviewees, editors, readers, and shoppers, and creates diverse connections within the community.
When we asked for advice to people who want to work for their own community, Ms Umehara told us “People and the information will gather around you if you send out information about what you think is good and what you like. I think it’s good if you can create contents related to your interests and find people who can relate to you in the community.”
Ms. Kitahara added, “the origin of our business was when we started making miso with several people and it eventually led to our current business. It’s important to share the words that express the world you are aiming for and keep communicating with those people who you can relate to.
For those of you who want to take action, why don’t you start by gathering the information about what you like and send it out to the people around you?