Wakaba Terrace’s Althorp Garden is a splendid representation of Satoyama; with cultivated fields for farming and rice terraces scattered throughout 3,300 square meters of natural woodlands. Connecting these fields is a grassy pathway of about 500 meters (700 meters if you include the south potage), where residents can stroll barefoot on the soft, soothing grass. Therapeutic activities such as walking barefoot on grass stimulates senses in the soles of the feet which helps improve balance and walking posture as well as inspiring passion and joy for walking. Combined with Horticulture therapy, this ‘walking therapy’ incorporates an important aspect of Satoyama therapy.
Observational research using corn is an annual study at Wakaba Terrace which takes place from May until the middle of the summer. The residents participate in the whole process which includes planting the seeds, watering them, thinning out the young corn plants after they sprout, adding more fertilizer and harvesting. Notes are taken throughout each step of the process, observing and recording how the corn grows as well as their impressions and how they feel about the experience on that day. Simultaneously, the staff gives them calculation questions and activities to stimulate brain training for numbers. For example, the residents are asked to count the leaves, measure the height of each stalk and calculate the sum. During the whole process MMSE scores are checked with most residents showing an improvement in their score.
|Prior to survey||After Harvest|
Every year a plan is made for the cultivation and harvest of rice and various seasonal vegetables at Althorp Garden. Until now we have not been perfect in our desired results for some harvests but we are always learning from our experiences and improving our techniques as time progresses.
Harvesting the vegetables of which they are growing and taking care of through great hardship gives a sense of achievement to everyone. Furthermore, cooking and eating that which you have grown yourself gives you an even further sense of accomplishment and enhances creativity. The goal and purpose of Satoyama therapy cooking is to stimulate our mental faculties and autonomous nerve function by growing our own food, cooking it, eating it and then discussing ways to improve our methods.