This video, capturing the diverse views of four Fukushima activist farmers, screens beginning June 16 in the Rio+20 United Nations Sustainable Development Conference, where one of our main subjects, Seiji Sugeno, director of the Fukushima Organic Farmers Network, is presenting.
Thanks to macrobiotic educator Phiya Kushi of SOS Earth for connecting us with Ionia. We are working with Phiya and web designer Pavel Dolezel to build an online community fostering international dialogue on food safety, sustainable agriculture, alternative energy, and disaster response. The site is in development, but it’s not too early to become a member and join the conversation.
Tens of thousands of people evacuated due to radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are living in shelters and storage unit-style temporary housing. Nearly 100 have committed suicide. Many relocation centers are in highly radioactive areas—sometimes higher than the towns that were evacuated.
On July 12, the evacuees held their first protest in Tokyo, marching from Hibiya Park to parliament, calling for their land to be decontaminated, and for better resettlement conditions. “Don’t forget us” was their rallying cry.
Uncanny Terrain filmmakers Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski spent five months inside Japan’s nuclear contamination zone, living and working with the farmers, researchers and volunteers who have committed themselves to take the nuclear crisis as an opportunity to build a better society.
We’re going beyond disaster reporting, to show what it is really like for these people who refuse to bow to devastating odds. Now we need your help to return to Japan and revisit those working on the front lines of the nuclear crisis, as they mark the one-year anniversary and the farmers prepare to plant again.
The organic farmers of Fukushima prefecture toiled for 40 years to grow safe, nutritious and delicious crops on their ancestral land while two nuclear power plants in the prefecture helped feed Tokyo’s increasingly voracious energy appetite. Since the March 2011 tsunami triggered the meltdown that spread radioactive contamination on much of the lush farmland of Fukushima and eastern Japan, the farmers have been caught between a government in constant denial of the risks of radiation, and outraged citizens who brand the farmers “child murderers” for continuing to cultivate irradiated land.But the farmers, researchers and volunteers are committed to building a comprehensive monitoring and reporting network to inform citizens about contamination levels in food, air, water and land, so families can make their own informed decisions; and advancing experimental methods to decontaminate soil or prevent crops grown on contaminated soil from absorbing radiation.
Fukushima has demonstrated the need for greater public vigilance to keep all our food and energy producers honest, not just about radiation but about all the potential contaminants that our collective appetites introduce into our bodies and our communities.