Episode 28

Published on:

10th Apr 2023

Urban farming as a business in Tokyo with Jon Walsh

Jon Walsh never knew he was dreaming of becoming an urban farmer in Tokyo, until one day when he bought some seeds, a pot and some soil and started growing his own food. Now he inspires the next generation of kids to do the same at schools across Tokyo and has built a garden for a major hotel chain as well. Jon shares how he made his surprise passion for growing food into a business in Japan. 

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In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How the Tohoku and Christchurch earthquakes in 2011 were a catalyst for Jon becoming an urban farmer
  • What Jon did to get started in becoming an urban farmer in Tokyo and land his first client
  • Jon’s “3 Ps for success in Japan” in life and in business
  • Why you can’t simply “import” your reputation to Japan

About Jon

Jon Walsh is an urban farming consultant/instructor and a leading pioneer and innovator in Japan’s urban farming sector.

So far he has briefed and trained over 2,000 people on how to grow healthy food, taught urban farming to over 1,000 students at 17 international schools, set up 80+ gardens around Tokyo (including at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo).

Jon has run urban farming programs,  workshops,  seminars  and lectures  at schools,  universitiesclubs and private residences within Japan and around the world.

Jon is the only native English-speaking professional urban farming consultant/instructor in Japan for the last decade. 

Jon launched his urban farming business in 2012 as a direct result of the Tohoku and Christchurch earthquakes. He was featured in the Japan Times article telling how the deadly back-to-back earthquakes spurred him to begin urban farming in 2012.

Each growing season over the years (there are 2 seasons per year) Jon was teaching at one international school and he did that for approximately 8 years.

When Covid hit, many businesses suffered, but the pandemic spurred a global surge in interest in urban farming. 

In 2021 Jon started teaching at 3 international schools; he doubled that to 6 in 2022, and he already has 2 signed up and at least 2 more likely this year. So business is taking off for Jon.  

Connect with Jon

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jon-walsh-b282a5/ 

Website: https://japanurbanfarming.wordpress.com/ 


Article: https://japanurbanfarming.files.wordpress.com/2023/03/jandals-in-japan-podcast-notes-3.pdf 

Jandals in Japan is brought to you by Catherine O’Connell Law and PodLaunch with Jayne

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About the Podcast

Jandals in Japan
Bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
The best show about New Zealanders doing business in Japan, bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
How do you build a brand in Japan and nurture a loyal customer base?
What do you need to have in your tool belt if you are thinking of coming to Japan to launch a business here?
Japan is often considered to be in the "too hard" basket but we are here to open up the black box of doing business in Japan.
We will share stories from successful Kiwis selling their products and services here in Japan.
They'll tell you their tips for success and pitfalls to avoid.
They'll share their challenges and what they did to overcome them.
They will tell you things you can't find in textbooks or on the internet.
We will also be sharing the latest intel and insights on Japan from our on-the-ground presence
And you'll hear some super business culture and other tips from us sprinkled throughout.
Grab a glass of sake and let's get into it.
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About your hosts

Jayne Nakata

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Jayne Nakata is a Southland girl who arrived in Japan in 2002, planning to stay just two years. 20 years later she is still living in Fukushima Prefecture with her Japanese husband and two children. When the triple disaster hit in 2011, Jayne made the commitment to stay in Fukushima and contribute to rebuilding the area. She is the host of the award winning podcast Transformations with Jayne, which is a favourite with international women living in Japan. She is also the double award winning podcast producer and manager for PodLaunch with Jayne.

Catherine O’Connell

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Born and bred in Christchurch, Catherine O'Connell landed in Japan in 2002, on a one year contract, and 20 years later she's planted her feet firmly in Japan. She built a wealth of business and cultural experience working at the coal face of brand-name Japanese corporates as in house legal counsel. Catherine took a leap of faith down the entrepreneurial route launching her own multi award-winning boutique law firm in Tokyo in 2018, being the first Kiwi and first foreign female to do so. She is Vice Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and helps businesses thrive in the Japan market delivering business insights meshed with legal instincts. Catherine is also host of the award-winning Lawyer on Air Podcast.