The local network has been evolving each year. In the first few years we had had monthly gatherings and they were the core of our activity as the network. In the last few years, however, people have started individual activities and some of us haven’t been able to attend the monthly gatherings. Some started a playground in the forest for children to get in touch with nature. Some began running an organic café and space. Some started growing rice, others began renovating their houses. It has become difficult for all of us to get together regularly.
An organic cafe and space da-na.
I think it is a good change though, because each person has started practicing his or her own sustainable way of living.
The playground in the forest.
The number of people who lead a sustainable lifestyle has grown, too. Probably there are over 40 people like that now and many of them are not necessarily part of the network.
A cafeteria for children.
And yet, we do interact with one another at parties or some other events. Some of them go to the playground in the forest or the organic café. Yes, we do communicate with one another in individual basis.
A bartering event for used children’s clothes.
Come to think of it, it is almost impossible for 40 people to assemble at the same time on a regular basis, so it is a natural transition as a network of this kind.
Sunday lunch at someone’s house.
Kids are playing after the rice harvest.
Strangely enough, this is exactly what I envisioned when I began the network. I modeled an area called Kamogawa in Chiba prefecture, which one can define as an organically transitioning town, and Hino is becoming like it: New comers are increasing and leading organic lifestyles. We are not necessarily connected deeply as a community, but we are lightly related as a network, and we often bump into one another wherever we go.