In Fujino, the most advanced transition town in Japan, where I’m currently volunteering for Permaculture center of Japan, local community has realized some great collaborative initiatives in catering that I would like to share with you.
1. Social restaurant (Yamato-Ya)
On one of the community meetings people shared a desired idea of having a place to gather and eat. They asked if there is someone who would like to create such a pace with the support of the community. One person said that he would like to do so. People have financed and helped him to find a land and provide their skills to build the place. They get free meals in exchange. Here is a nice example of crowd funding based on common decision of creating a business that is satisfying community needs. It also shares the construction process and best practices on their Facebook page.
2. Restaurant founded by volunteers and friends (Mana Harree)
There is one person, that wanted to renovate one of the buildings on her land into the restaurant. This idea came to her mind during the course of permaculture. Permaculture is such an activity that you come by the passion and will of positive change into the society. It reunions peaceful and open-minded people that become friends and are willing to help each other. This is why it was possible to find volunteers among students that helped to build this restaurant. It uses only decomposable materials. Nowadays it’s not only a restaurant, but an art place that promotes local craftsmanship and cultural mixture (it proposes Arabic cuisine and beer), organizes events and concerts, offers dog run.
3. Handicap center and restauration employment
Handicap center in addition to its main activity in facilitating social adaptation, has founded a restaurant and bakery to propose an economic integration of handicapped people. They produce bread and pastry, meals with rice, meat and vegetables, pizzas, and some simple handmade goods like slippers, postcards, wallets or keychains. All the positions are occupied by handicap people. It’s beneficial for the local economy and for handicap people as they are socially active, valued and recognized.