For those who are interested I thought I might expand a little on this concept. I first came across it in the Resurgence magazine in a Letter from Japan. The author was reporting on a change in attitude by a number of young Japanese who were moving away from consumerism.
Now I am not so young now (middle aged I suppose but it is only my knees and my children that tell me this) and I am not Japanese but the whole concept of half-farmer, half-x appealed to me. I suppose part of me has always wanted to live a sort of “Good Life” and the children have sometimes referred to my wife and I as Barbara and Tom! But either it has seemed impractical or I haven’t been brave enough to make such a huge change. The change in my employment situation has given us the opportunity to re-think how we are living and a lot of the reading I am doing at present challenges me to make a change.
So what is “half-farmer, half-x”?
It is a concept, or perhaps I should say lifestyle, that came from Naoki Shiomi in Japan about 1995. There is a good article by him on the “Japan for Sustainability” website. The main idea is that you spend some of your time growing some or all of your own food and some of your time working at something that you are passionate about to earn some money for your other needs. It doesn’t have to be half and half, and it’s unlikely to lead to self-sufficiency in food unless you are very fortunate but it does lead to a different style of life. In the short time that we have been trying to live this lifestyle I have found that I am more relaxed, less stressed, that I read more, I have more creative thoughts, I feel more in touch with nature around me and, hopefully, I am a nicer person to be with!
It has been suggested that people joining in the movement should be referred to as TransFarmers ….. transforming themselves, the earth and the world. This could be an interesting way to introduce it to pupils in schools!