Flathead Valley Community College’s Multicultural Affairs Office will welcome local resident Robert Seymour to present his story of organic farming in northern Japan on March 6. Free and open to the public, the event will feature a photo presentation of the five years Seymour and his family worked the soil in Hokkaido, Japan, for a faith-based learning center for the handicapped in Tokyo.
Seymour will discuss the vegetable varieties they grew and the possibility of expanding the agricultural base in the Flathead by growing some of those same varieties locally.
“The Japanese are great at growing things,” said Seymour. “I was a student while I was there, and organic gardening got into my blood. I hope to pass along some of that knowledge to the Flathead Valley.”
Seymour and his family lived in the Flathead for 10 years before relocating to Japan. Growing up with a love of the outdoors, Seymour was attracted to the organic farming opportunities Japan offered. While there, he put his gardening skills and a degree in natural science biology to the test on 15 acres of rich volcanic soil.
“It was challenging at first,” he admits, “but we learned from the locals and from trial and error what grew well and what didn’t.”
In time, Seymour and his family produced a large variety of organic vegetables for the Tokyo market. Returning to Montana in 2008, Seymour began to explore local food production opportunities.
“I was struck by the incredible amount of land still available in the Flathead Valley for food production,” he said.
Seymour’s goal is to see the same farming techniques they used in Japan widely implemented in the Flathead Valley.
The presentation will take place at 6 p.m. in room 144 inside the Arts and Technology Building on the FVCC campus. For more information, contact Seymour at 270-3395.