What is Ainou?Ainou is a Public Interest Incorporated Foundation that carries out activities such as fostering the development of farmers, who are the protectors of our land and life, introducing and educating people about organic farming, and certifying organic produce. With a mission of fostering future and present farmers’ development, “Ainou University” courses and seminars which focus on thinking about agriculture, food and energy are held. The organization also founded and continues to provide support to the only private agricultural high school in Japan, “Ainou-gakuen Agricultural High School,” which was established in 1963.
The activities of Ainou stretch beyond the borders of Japan to include engaging in projects with other farmers in Asia, and undertaking the role as President of the AFA (Asian Farmers’ Association), an organization which is working to achieve the development of sustainable farming in Asian farming villages.
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Principles of AinouFor farmers to…
Protect and nurture life
Not be bound by money
Live among the blessings of the earth
Be the spirit that unites the world
Philosophy of Ainou1. We affirm that the farming is the fundamental element of human life, and through the blessings of nature strive to produce the essential human needs of food, clothing and shelter. 2. We affirm that the ultimate meaning of human life is the practice of love, thus we are devoted to the love of agriculture and the love of others. 3. We are aware of the true mission of agriculture, and with bountiful Ainou spirit we turn toils into joy. 4. We affirm that the fundamental enrichment of farming communities can be achieved by educating youth in Ainou practices and setting an example. 5. We bring forth a strongly bonded sense of unity and work toward the establishment of agricultural communities based on the ideals of love and cooperation, which will eventually be the foundation of a new Japan.
Education Department ProjectsSince the establishment of the organization, efforts have been put into fostering the development of present and future farmers. In particular, intensive courses known as “Ainou University” courses aimed at students and adults have been carried out since 1955, with many people all over the country having completed the course.
Ainou was the main founder of the Ainou-gakuen Agricultural High School which was established in 1963, and the organization also carries out various movements to demonstrate their love for agriculture and protect our land and livelihoods.
Management Technique/Management and Technology Department ProjectsAinou sustainable agricultural management techniques for the past 40 years. Various courses are held, including organic agricultural technique courses for beginners, intensive courses for the training and development of current and future farmers, and an annual intensive course where production and processing techniques of agricultural produce are taught.
Outline of the International DepartmentThe activities of Ainou’s International Department can be divided into four main areas. They are listed in chronological order of their commencement, starting with the longest-running.
1.Exchanges with the Seinou-kai in Korea
Ainou’s connection with Korea began long ago, and can be traced back to the 1970’s. A visit to Korea in 1975 by Junichi Kotani was the motivation of the “Seinou-kai,” which was formed the following year in 1976 and is the first association of organic farmers in Korea.
2.Exchanges with the School of Continuing and Non-Formal Education at the Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences in Northern India
Back in the 1980’s when terms like “international cooperation” and “NGO” weren’t commonly heard, Ichiho Makino, who worked at Allahabad Agricultural University (presently Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences) located in northern India, put out a call for organic agricultural specialists. In 1983 a specialist was sent from Ainou. From there on Ainou members joined study tours and taught about agriculture and food processing on both a long and short-term basis, and students from the Continuing and Non-Formal Education School are hosted in Japan.
3.Members of the Philippines-based Asian Farmers Association (AFA)
With the purpose of promoting alliance between farmers from Asian countries, the first assembly of the Asian Farmers Association (AFA) was held in 2004.
Ainou participated in the assemblies as an observer since the initial establishment of the AFA, and became an official member in 2010.
In addition to the various activities and exchanges with Korea, India and the AFA (Asian Farmers Association), Ainou also carries out exchanges with Asia DHRRA (Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia), who were the main body that established the AFA. Through the connection with Asia DHRRA,Ainou has hosted internship students from the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology in Taiwan, as well as visitors from other regions and countries.