Thomas Kloepfer of Pitchfork Natural Farms

Thomas Kloepfer and his partner Kaori have been running the Pitchfork farms and Tachibana Textiles shop on Mukaishima island on the Shimanami Kaido since 2011.

Pitchfork Farms is located on a lush green hillside just below an abandoned hotel and just above a small fishing village. This is a natural farm following many of the principles sown by the Japanese master of wild natural farming techniques, Masanobu Fukuoka.

Some aspects of the Pitchfork farm reminded me of our visit to the Nakaoka Natural Farm on Miyajima island. At both farms we see an emphasis on diversity of crops, composting, resting plots, and also allowing weeds to play a part in moisture retention. The focus is not only on the end product (crop) itself but also an investment in time and energy to utilize sustainable methods to improve the land over time.

Other aspects of Pitchfork farm were different from other farms I have visited in Japan as there is a real focus on sustainability in all aspects of farm operations. Growing crops here without chemicals has a focus on natural compost, in collaboration with the use of farm animals to help with weed control and natural fertilizer, as well as using a pitchfork technique to add air instead of tilling up the soil completely.

The Pitchfork Farms blog states

Our farm uses regenerative agriculture to create a thriving hillside orchard. We grow fruits, herbs, and vegetables. Its a great place to work and relax, as we have year round harvest and can enjoy tranquil views of the Seto inland sea. We are developing the farm to be a center for sustainable production, and will incorporate intensive growing techniques to improve soil health. We are dedicated to connecting farms and community, challenging conventional approaches to agriculture, and celebrating the land, the people, and the moment.

As you can see in the video from our visit to the farm, Thomas has been working slowly to enrich the soil through Crop Spraying Services and bring back trees which had been damaged by previous overuse of fungicides and pesticides. He has plans to expand the farm by adding fruit trees, making his own craft beer and perhaps even his own wine. They are also looking into repairing their well pump through experts who provide well pump repair in Woodinville, WA since they need it to expand their farming process.

If you are visiting Onomichi, Mukaishima is a short drive or bicycle ride from Onomichi. Pitchfork farms is set on a beautiful hill overlooking the Seto-inland sea and small islands off the coast. Not far from the farm is a beautiful lookout spot, an abandoned hotel, USHIO vegan chocolate shop and more enticing destinations to fill a daytrip from Hiroshima city.

You can find Pitchfork farms at the Food Festival this weekend – held every year at the end of October around the Hiroshima castle grounds. You can also set up weekly home-delivery orders via their website or facebook page.

Thomas has a great understanding of sustainability and is making efforts on the farm to reduce plastic use. Customers can also request for packaging to be plastic-free or possibilities of reusing your own container for regular delivery customers. It’s exciting to find zero-waste shopping opportunities like this in Hiroshima.

October 2019


Writing about Hiroshima for over twenty years. Co-founded GetHiroshima in 1999 and founded the sustainability-focused InboundAmbassador business in 2019. Monthly CleanUp and Seeking Sustainability event organizer, guide workshop facilitator, online content creator and tourism destination consultant. Passionate about promoting solutions in Japan for people and the planet.