Space comes at a premium in Japan, and hardly anyone has room to grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables - which is why rooftops on train stations are being converted into community gardens. These Soradofarms were started by the East Japan Railway Company, and so far there are at least five with more in the works in Tokyo and other Japanese cities. Although it's pricey to rent a plot, many families are taking advantage of the opportunity to grow their own produce and even use the community garden as a park for picnics and recreation.
The first Soradofarm, also known as a Machinaka Vegetable Garden, was built on top of the Ebisu station in Tokyo over four years ago. Now there are thirteen stations around the country with operating gardens or gardens in the works that are soon to be rented out. The East Japan Railway Company has plans to build community gardens on top of or near each one of its stations in Japan soon. The railway is also working in conjunction with entertainment company, Ekipara to create these rooftop gardens.
Each plot is three meters in size and cost about $980 (JPY 100,440) a year, which includes the use of tools and equipment. Renters need not know how to garden at all and newbies can seek advice from other gardeners. They can also pay extra to have someone weed their plot, check for bugs or even harvest their produce if they are too busy.
Plots are in high demand and when not gardening, families often visit the farms to enjoy the open space, have a picnic and let their kids run around. “We’re promoting the greening of the city,” says Makoto Kawada to FastCoExist. A spokesperson for East Japan Railway Company, which runs train lines throughout Japan, Kawada adds, “We started this vegetable garden business out of a desire to contribute to the environmental maintenance and the revitalization of the area along the train line.”
Images via Soradofarm