Japanese Commuters Tending Train Station Rooftop Gardens
March 27, 2014 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Oh how dreadful that morning commute can be. Even with the help of podcasts, books, game apps, 16 gigs of music– it can still be a soul draining bore. Good news! Japan may have come up with a cure to Common Commuter Dread.
Japan’s Soradofarm scheme places garden allotments on top of train stations so commuters can fit vegetable growing into their busy lifestyles. Forget to pack a lunch? No problem, just grab some of your harvest on the roof of the train station for a farm-to-cubicle meal.
Photo from FastCoExist
Here’s how it works. For one, no experience necessary. The rooftop garden plots aren’t only for the pros. Anyone can have one for JPY 100,440 a year, which buys a 3 meters squared plot along with garden tool and equipment usage. For an extra fee, arrangements can be made to have plots weeded. There are experts available for an extra fee as well.
There are currently five Soradofarms located across the country’s rail network. They were developed in collaboration with Ekipara and JR East trains. The largest is 161 meters squared, and is part of the Ebisu Green Garden space on top of the JR Ebisu station in Tokyo. JR East plans to continue growing the rooftop gardens, hoping to encompass all of its stations in Japan in the coming years.
Besides saving us from the monotony of a morning commute, rooftop gardens cropping up all over the world offer huge benefits. City spaces are small and the time of city dwellers is stretched. We can’t let that stop us! Creatively incorporating gardening into city culture like Sorafarm did will provide large amounts of the population access to health, beauty and very importantly, sanity.