Sustainable Living at Brown’s Field Sustainable Living at Brown’s Field

Rice harvesting season at Brown’s Field

Sustainable Living at Brown’s Field


2022.08.02

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Sustainable Living at Brown’s Field

On the outskirts of Isumi City on Chiba’s bucolic Boso Peninsula, within earshot of the Pacific Ocean to the east, lies Brown’s Field—an organic farm complete with cafes and accommodation. It welcomes visitors of all sorts, from city-dwellers hoping to reconnect with nature for a day to dedicated seekers of a new and sustainable lifestyle.

  • 01

    From Family Refuge to Eco-Village

    Brown’s Field was founded in 1999 by Deko Nakajima, affectionately known to all as “Deko-san.” It began as a refuge for Deko-san and her family—a place to pursue the macrobiotic lifestyle that was so difficult to maintain in the metropolis of Tokyo to the west. As the years passed, however, others began to gather. Brown’s Field grew from field to farm, organically growing its own produce and sourcing other necessities locally wherever possible.

    Brown’s Field founder, Deko Nakajima

    Brown’s Field founder, Deko Nakajima

    Fresh produce, straight from the fields

    Fresh produce, straight from the fields

    Today, Brown’s Field is a miniature “eco-village” with a slowly rotating community of 10 or 20 residents who stay for periods ranging from a few months to a few years. With visitors from outside pitching in as well, the community lives together, farms together, and dines together, showing by example the rewards of a sustainable rural lifestyle—a modern take on the classic satoyama setting. Brown’s Field even hosts a local summer festival on the fourth Sunday each July, complete with bon-odori dancing and community-made decorations, and an autumn harvest festival in November.

    Happy scenes from the Brown’s Field annual summer festival

    Happy scenes from the Brown’s Field annual summer festival

  • 02

    Organic Food Straight from the Soil

    The Brown’s Field community operates several facilities that welcome short-term visitors. Housed in a renovated barn, the Rice Terrace Cafe, offers farm-to-table lunch and afternoon tea. The food here is free of meat, eggs, dairy, and processed sugar; instead, the kitchen uses the freshest produce newly taken from Brown’s Field and other local farmers, and home-made seasonings from soy sauce to persimmon vinegar. The menu gradually evolves with the seasons that can be seen, heard, and smelt right outside the windows, creating a feast for all five senses.

    From the field to the plate, lunch is served at the Brown’s Field café

    From the field to the plate, lunch is served at the Brown’s Field café

    Freshly baked goods from the bakery

    Freshly baked goods from the bakery

    In 2021, a new bakery and coffee shop at Brown’s Field called Acoustic was opened. The bread here is baked in wood-fired stoves, and the coffee beans are roasted at Brown’s Field. But if you plan to visit, don’t wait too long—Acoustic closes once the day’s wares are sold!

  • 03

    Staying Overnight—or Longer

    For those who dream of waking up to the sounds of nature (including goats bleating), Brown’s Field has several accommodation options. The Cottage is the smallest, ideal for families and couples and filled with charming rustic design touches. Groups of between 2 and 7 people can stay in Jiji no Ie, a traditional kominka renovated by a local architect with a subtle modern touch. Here guests can sleep on tatami mats, soak in a traditional Japanese-style bath, and make full use of the light and spacious kitchen.

    The largest accommodation option is Sagurada Kominka. This is another lovingly renovated kominka, originally built over 260 years ago. Since up to 10 people can stay here, it is popular for training camps and team-building getaways.

  • 04

    Learning from the Land

    Many visitors come to Brown’s Field specifically to learn more about organic farming and cooking. Even short-term visitors can pitch in with the farming if they want a more hands-on experience, but some visitors stay for up to three months, trading work on the farm and guest facilities for room and board.

    Brown’s Field is enjoyed by people of all ages

    Brown’s Field is enjoyed by people of all ages

    “Ideally, people would stay at least a year,” says staff member Sho with a laugh. “A full year lets you see the full cycle of seasons. Everything is connected—the seeds we plant one month become the soy beans we harvest later in the year, and the following year these are in the koji or soy sauce that we eat. But if an entire year is impractical, I would definitely recommend several short visits throughout the year, to really understand how things change throughout the year—the land and crops, but also the surrounding plants and animals and weather. And if you time your visits well, you can eat the vegetables you helped to nurture!”
    Currently, Brown’s Field runs study groups that meet monthly on weekends, and holds regular “working bees” where people gather to enjoy working alongside and learning from each other as they carry out tasks like transplanting soybean seedlings or harvesting berries. For many, an encounter with truly sustainable living off the land at Brown’s Field is a life-changing experience.

    Access: Brown’s Field is a 15-minute drive from Chojamachi Station on the JR Sotobo Line.
    Alternatively, Brown’s Field can be accessed by car, it takes roughly 90mins from Tokyo and is easily located through the usual map and car navi systems and apps.

    Address: 1501-1 Misakichokuwada, Isumi City, Chiba 299-4504

    Brown’s Field Rice Terrace Cafe
    rating

    4.5

    4 Reviews
    place
    Chiba Pref. Isumishi Misakichoukuwada 1501-1
    phone
    0470874501
    opening-hour
    [Friday-Sunday/Public holida…
    info

    https://brownsfield-jp.com/
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