Tenchijin FARM aims to solve problems in agriculture from a space perspective.
Japanese agriculture is facing problems such as the ageing and shortage of farmers and the resulting increase in abandoned land. It currently relies heavily on technical trainees from abroad to secure the workforce, and the period of travel ban from abroad due to infectious diseases has been a major blow.
Tenchijin takes these challenges seriously and is currently working on two projects at Tenchijin FARM.
- ① “Space Big Data Rice” to produce branded rice in response to climate change.
- ② “Lunar Asparagus” which aims to grow asparagus on the moon.
In both projects, we are involved from finding farmland to cultivation and harvesting so that we can solve issues from the same perspective as those involved in agriculture.
Social issues we want to solve.
Rice cultivation is concerned about the deterioration of the rice texture and taste due to global warming. Therefore, one objective of Space Big Data Rice is to "produce brand-name rice that is climate-responsive".
In addition, concerns about the future supply capacity of Japanese agriculture are being voiced due to the ageing and declining number of producers. According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the number of people employed in agriculture was 1,361,000 in 2020 - some 400,000 fewer than in 2015, and this decline is expected to continue.
Pursuing good taste too.
Using the Tenchijin Compass web-based GIS service, we searched all over Japan for the best locations to cultivate Shinmei's unique varieties in Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. The cultivation process is controlled automatically with awareness of how many hours of cold water taken in at night affects the temperature of the water. score that is comparable to top brands. Delicious rice was harvested. The project has been recognised for its future efficiency in rice production, and for its promising future use of space assets and technology as an agricultural measure to increase production, as well as for its groundbreaking smart cultivation methods that enable water management without the need for patrolling.
The challenge to the moon's surface
Cultivating lunar asparagus is a new challenge, drawing on our experience with 'space big data rice'. Tenchijin Farm wants to explore asparagus cultivation methods that will work in the harsh environment of the Moon, and apply the knowledge gained to agriculture on Earth, thereby helping to solve the problems currently faced by agriculture.
The cultivation of lunar asparagus began with current student interns aged 22-24 years old, who are enrolled in the Faculty of Agriculture. The cultivation process started with finding farmland, and from cultivation management to harvesting, with guidance from farmers in Kawasaki City. Currently, space food, which is nutritious and packaged for easy eating in space, is the mainstay of space food. However, space food requires regular replenishment and the nutrients degrade over time. Therefore, in order to compensate for the missing nutrients and increase the variety of the diet, we launched a project that aims to grow crops in space.
The results of the lunar asparagus
The harvested lunar asparagus is soft right down to the root end, and has been praised for its ability to be eaten without peeling, its freshness and its intense flavour. It was actually served as a grand menu item at the restaurant. In the future, the challenge will be to grow tasty asparagus in a restricted resource and environment in phases, such as abandoned fields where plants have not been grown for many years and the soil is thin and water is restricted.
- 【Phase 1】
- Growing tasty asparagus in normal fields
- 【Phase 2】
- Growing tasty asparagus in abandoned fields
- 【Phase 3】
- Growing tasty asparagus in harsh environments or with limited resources.
- 【Phase 4】
- Growing tasty asparagus on the moon