“I wanted to help those who are starving by growing crops,” she said of her passion for agriculture that has led her to run a vegetable field. “There are many people in Japan, too, who struggle to put food on the table.”
By Magdalena Osumi
Apr 9, 2018
Ojima, 39, engages homeless and other people on social assistance in work in the field, in the city of Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. “Our main goal is to help these people regain confidence … so they can eventually get back on their feet,” she said in a recent interview with The Japan Times.
Every April about 10 people, men and women ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s, come to Ojima’s 10,000-square-meter field to sow seeds, cut weeds, water plants and harvest crops.
In the period of about six months, the apprentices will learn to improve their communication skills and the ability to work in groups, and search out their life goals, while growing carrots and other vegetables.
Though they are unpaid workers, they can also get support from her nonprofit school in preparation for future employment.
Raised by teachers, Ojima grew up surrounded by grasslands and paddy fields in the city of Koshi in Kumamoto Prefecture.