Brown’s Field farm – an alternative lifestyle in Chiba

When home is a fifty-something square meter Tokyo shoe box and the daily commute is shared with thousands in the same predicament, it’s easy to forget there are other ways of living.

But photojournalist Everett Brown and macrobiotic cookbook writer Deco Nakajima remembered and did something about it. Brown’s Field is their remarkable and inspirational home.

Everett Brown and Deco Nakajima

Ten years ago they were living right in the middle of Tokyo with their five children but decided to move out to rural Chiba. Their new home was a 1.6 acre plot of land complete with 100 year old farmhouse and rice paddy.

Goat and rice field

I made this trip out to deep deep Chiba (about 2 hours from Tokyo station) for a story on rice. The farm has two rice fields, as well as a macrobiotic cafe and accomodation for vistors. (The full set of Brown’s Field photos is here).

young rice

The rice is grown by a method called aigamo-nohou (duck-farming). There are normally 30 ducks in the paddy seeing to weeds. But this time of year they can’t resist the young rice so are locked up in the duck house (the ‘church’ above).

This is the main house:

Japanese farmhouse

Over the last decade Everett and Deco have turned Brown’s Field into a thriving organic farm. Right now there are seven young volunteers living with them through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program (WWOOF).

Visitors get to stay in treehouses!


This is one of those stories where I wish I had a LOT more time. It would have been great to live on the farm for a while and shoot the whole lifestyle. In fact it felt almost dishonest to rush in, shoot a few things, that disappear off back to the city.

This chap had only dropped in to say hi, but was soon mucking in.

Looks like organic farmers aren’t averse to powertools.

Photojournalist Everett, of course, has got Brown’s Field and a lot more covered. I really recommend having a look at Everett Brown‘s personal web page for some amazing stuff.

Brown’s Field organic farm, Aug 2009 – Images by Tony McNicol

7 Responses to “Brown’s Field farm – an alternative lifestyle in Chiba”

  1. Vanessa Mitchell says:

    Wow…. This photo is fantastic!! The colours are so vivid and goats are quite are rare sight so close to Tokyo

  2. Josh says:

    How does someone go about working there? is it only woofing?

  3. Joshua Brown says:

    organic farms could actually save us from carcinogens and toxins:~`

  4. Your photos are fantastic. I love the farms, goats, and the super green grass. The treehouses are especially cool. You also miraculously got PhotoShelter’s slideshow embedding code to work in Internet Explorer. I reviewed your code to see how you did so, and it was super helpful for me. I wanted to make sure to thank you!

    • tony says:

      Thanks Dennis. I can’t actually remember if I did anything special with the code, but I’ve had various problems too. Wish Photoshelter and Flash were better!

  5. […] Brown’s Field Farm | Tokyo photojournalistAug 24, 2009 … Brown’s Field Farm in Chiba near Tokyo. Self-sufficiency, organic agriculture, and alternative lifestyles in Japan. […]

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