Reinvigorating the Region with Nambu Futonegi (Thick Green Onions from the Nambu Region)
This initiative has united the region to revive the traditional vegetable, “Nambu Futonegi (thick green onions from the Nambu Region),” which are on the brink of extinction. By creating different menus and organizing various events, the team shares information about what makes these vegetables so amazing and help reinvigorates the local community.
In Nambucho, Aomori Prefecture, there is a traditional vegetable called Nambu Futonegi (thick green onions from the Nambu region). It is sweet, soft, can withstand the cold, and offers high yields. In the past, these green onions were widely cultivated in and around Aomori Prefecture, but they are currently on the brink of extinction. That is why the team made efforts to revive the Nambu Futonegi and reenergize the local community.
Since Nambu Futonegi cannot be cultivated by ridging, the team tested cultivation methods that did not require ridging such as using vertical holes or sideboards.
The test cultivation found that the vertical hole method was superior both in terms of the weight per green onion and the yield per 10a. Furthermore, it was also found that the vertical hole method saved labor by 30 hours in comparison to the ridging method. And to learn to efficiently harvest green onion seeds, the team paid a visit to Watanabe Seed Co., Ltd. Semine Research Farm located in Miyagi Prefecture.
The results of the food composition analysis showed that Nambu Futonegi have far more nutrients than ordinary onions, for example, they have 1.6 times more carbohydrates. They shared these results and the green onions’ morphological character, points to keep in mind during cultivation, benefits or talking points during sales etc. at round-table conferences and sought new producers. From 1 farm in 2011, the number of producers grew to 11 farms by 2014, and the yield has multiplied from 0.5t in 2011 to 35t in 2014. And in order to ensure the safe production of Nambu Futonegi, the team regularly organizes sessions where people can talk about techniques and technology and exchange views.
They also regularly hold lectures for farmers who are cultivating green onions for the first time and also provided 5,800 seedlings cultivated at the school.
Being recognized for activities, these green onions were sold at department stores like Shinjuku Isetan and Takashimaya. Many people purchased the green onions, and the team was able to share the allure of the Nambu Futonegi as well as Nambucho with a great many people.