Weeding and Planting Workshop surrounded by beautiful tweets


ECOPLUS conducted rice weeding and planting workshop on 10-11 June 2023 in Kabanoswa Village, Minamiuonuma, Niigata. Participants were so active that in addition to the weeding works, they also planted seedlings in another organic rice paddy. From the forest, tweets of a ruddy kingfisher were identified and in the evening, we observed several fireflies. Gorgeous weekend in the pristine environment!


On Saturday, we started the workshop with four participants at the beginning. Walking around the village and hiking up to the old fort of “Kabasawa-Zyo” which has the more than 450-year-history to understand the background of the area.

Weeding in the rice paddy 田んぼの草取り


In the weeding workshop, participants put their bear feet carefully into the rice paddy. Thanks to the sun shine, the water was warmed up as if it would be a warm bath tub water and mud was very smooth. Seedlings were grown to about 20 cm tall and those were surrounded by tiny green leaves of weeds underwater. With five fingers strongly open, we were rubbing the mud to remove the roots of weeds out of mud. Some of weeds were trapped in the hand and we through away those outside of the paddy.



On day 2, with five more persons, we tried to plant seedlings in a rice paddy which had not been used for over 10 years. With the help of a tractor, the paddy was reshaped as a rice paddy, however the too much plants grown in the area were buried in the ground and those biodegrading process generated much of gas which is harmful for rice seedlings. After several tilling and drying processes, the condition looked like suitable for planting.



Making marks by a hexagon frames is the traditional way of rice planting in “Minami-Uonuma” area. It was not easy to roll the frame straight for participants. Some of young participants experienced the action. Others followed the frame to plant seedlings by their hands. At the end of the session, we identified three Japanese fire belly newt which is classified as the near threatened(NT) category in Red Data book of Japan.

Japanese fire berry newt. 田んぼに出てきたアカハライモリ3匹



Thought the weekend, we felt the richness of the nature surround the organic non-chemical rice paddies with tweets of ruddy kingfishes, dancing fireflies and others. Participants confirmed that the history of the village for over 500 years was fostered by the nature of the area and knowledge of ancestors who had been using the environment wisely.