Re-energizing Japan's teikei movement

Understanding intergenerational transitions of diverse economies


  • Chika Kondo Kyoto University



Diverse Economy, Teikei, Alternative Food Network, Organic Agriculture, Everyday Activism, Direct-to-Consumer, Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, Social Change


In the 1960s-70s, Japan’s teikei movement, also referred to as Japanese community supported agriculture (CSA), emerged as a response to a period marred with multiple food scandals and environmental injustices and resulted in direct partnerships between consumers and organic farmers. Although this movement peaked in the 1990s just as the concept of alternative food networks (AFNs) gained popularity in western countries, little is known about what has happened to teikei today. This paper analyzes how teikei exemplifies diverse economies and explores how the possibilities of noncapitalist economic practice currently exist compared to the founding movement principles. Through case studies of two teikei groups in the Kansai region of Japan that transitioned their leadership to younger generations, I assess how changes made by current generations allow teikei to adapt to challenges that have long plagued the movement, such as the decline of volunteer labor provided by housewives. Drawing on a diverse economies approach, I argue that, despite current members’ detachment from strong activist identities, they sustain their organizations through part-time work, community building, and institutionalizing volunteer labor. The successes and struggles of current teikei groups provide insight into how AFNs seeking to build alternative economies can overcome difficulties that emerge from actualizing diverse economies.


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Author Biography

Chika Kondo, Kyoto University

Department of Natural Resource Economics, Graduate School of Agriculture

Food as a Tool for Social Change, sponsored by Falk College, Syracuse University



How to Cite

Kondo, C. (2021). Re-energizing Japan’s teikei movement: Understanding intergenerational transitions of diverse economies. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 10(4), 103–121.