It has been 10 years since I quit my job at an electric power company and started Jam’s Garden on Suō-Ōshima, an island in Yamaguchi Prefecture, at the age of 35.
Jam’s Garden, now consisting of a farm, jam factory, cafe and shop, as well as 30 staff making 150,000 jars of jam every year, started out as nothing more than a small lab inside the Buddhist temple that my father-in-law runs on the island.
The business grew in collaboration with local farmers, photographers, web designers and many others in the community. The key to succeed in starting a business in rural areas is to network with people there and to use their ideas and knowledge for the benefit of all.
At the same time, it is equally important to connect to the world outside the community to make your business economically sustainable, especially in this era of rural depopulation and decline.
The situation has greatly changed since 10 years ago with municipalities offering extensive support for new residents in the countryside and more tools that shorten the distances between cities and rural areas such as the internet and improved transportation systems.
I believe that the Satoyama Consortium can provide additional support for regional revitalization.
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