Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 16, 2013.


A short documentary about how urban farming is changing the way Tokyo thinks about food.

What is it though?

Growing City is a short documentary born from two of my great loves: growing food and Tokyo. Agriculture in Japan shares the same problems with agriculture elsewhere in the world, as well as a few of its own. Surprisingly one of the best ideas for how we solve these problems is coming from its cities. Urban farming has the power to connect people back to their food and show that they have the power to feed themselves no matter where they live. I am making this film to document the progress of urban farming in Tokyo, and to introduce the people and projects that are working to bring real tangible change. These include local farmers from in and around Tokyo, farmer's market organizers, and others who are passionate about making urban agriculture a sustainable reality. I truly believe urban farming can alter the food system across the world and I want this film to show how.

Why are you doing it?

Two of the biggest problems facing agriculture these days are that it is too big and too far removed from people's lives. We have lost touch with what it means to feed ourselves; having chosen convenience over sustainability. But there isn't really anyone to blame for this other than our own human willingness to believe that something so easy can also be good for everyone. Watermelons and pineapples year-round is certainly nice, but there are ramifications for that which we are only just becoming aware of. The agricultural landscape is no longer the small family farms and quaint communities that have been ingrained into its cultural image; it's hundreds of acres of wheat and soy covered with pesticides and artificial growth hormone. My generation has been raised to believe that food comes from the grocery store.

The issue is what do we do about it? Have everyone move out of the city and back to the family farm that their grandparents or great-grandparents had? That's never going to happen. We live in a world governed by big metropolises, and who could fault anyone for not wanting to leave the cities where they were raised and love living? What urban farming has the ability to do is reconnect people with their food without taking them out of their environment. Small scale as many of the projects may be, the potential to raise awareness about agriculture and provide a truly sustainable food source is enormous.

I chose to embark on this project because I am one of the people who want it both ways. I grew up in a populous area with no agricultural experience, and it is only when I left for college that I began to get involved in growing food. I know that I want to do that for the rest of my life, but what I don't know is where. As one would expect, agriculture has its own special set of issues in Japan, especially since the Fukushima disaster, and as such urban farming has its own unique set of opportunities. Food is not a national issue, it's a global issue, but if problem solving can begin here in Tokyo, it will spread. I am doing this because I believe in the future of food, and I want to do something that I think will help.

What's the money for?

A great deal of the money will go towards transportation because in order to make a film about Tokyo, I want to see lots of Tokyo. The subways and trains here - like everything else - are expensive, so that adds up quick. The biggest chunk after that will be for equipment; I have the bare necessities but there are some small but expensive pieces that would go a long way towards making this thing the best it can be - specifically: a variable nd filter, a zacuto viewfinder, and a new lens.

The rest is sort of miscellaneous expenses: getting enough online storage space to work with Sam from across the Pacific, getting enough physical storage to have everything backed up etc.


This one is the most important, thank you so so much for your time (money) and money. This work is so important to me and I can't tell how much I appreciate any support you can give.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

A lot of what goes into a documentary depends on the generosity and willingness of other people, and with that there is an inherent danger that not everyone will be as willing or generous as you want them to. This fact is especially poignant when working in a foreign country, known among other things for its insularity. I know all this, and I want you to know that I know it too. I didn't go into this project expecting that everything would just slip together.

I will say this though, despite the challenges that shooting this film have and will continue to have, I am going to make it - and it's going to be the best thing I can do.


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    13 backers

    You're so great. You will receive a download of the song used in the video, made by the extremely talented Sam Smith. In addition you may receive a really nice email from me complimenting you on something you feel usually goes unnoticed.

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    9 backers

    You will receive the entire soundtrack from the film as well as a digital zine full of photos and stills taken during the process of creating Growing City. The aforementioned email is also a strong possibility.

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    5 backers

    Aside from everything already mentioned, you will receive a copy of Growing City (either digital or physical depending on your preference) as soon as it is finished.

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    You rule. Not more than any of the other donators, just in addition to them. But you have more money which is cool. For your financial success you deserve to have your name be known so you will be included in the credits as a Special Thanks. All the $50 stuff is yours too, and you will get a beautiful physical copy of the zine mailed to you.

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    If I could, I would kiss you. Along with your zine and DVD you will receive a limited edition piece of artwork inspired by the film. Also, if you ever feel sad, you can email me and I will email you back.

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    You will receive a handwritten letter (no less than 500 words) expressing my pure joy and gratitude accompanied by a limited run Growing City poster and all the other stuff.

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