Spring gifts to disaster areas - first-pick tea to be sent from Oku in Kunigami

Spring gifts to disaster areas - first-pick tea to be sent from Oku in Kunigami

On April 1, at the Oku Community Center in Kunigami, people packed the first-pick tea in order to support the disaster-affected areas.

April 4, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 1, at Oku in Kunigami, tea picking and bagging was held for a project to present the first-picked tea, the earliest tea picking in Japan, to areas stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake as spring gifts. The Fan Club of the Local Community-based Cooperative Stores in Okinawa organized the project and 25 people participated from around Okinawa hoping to support the affected areas.

The project made use of donations of about 200000 yen collected by members. Cooperating with Oku Ward, the Oku Cooperative Store and the Oku Tea Industry Association the club prepared 26-kilograms of first-pick tea. People bagged 50 grams of tea in each pack by hand, and 600 packs in total. The tea will be sent to an evacuation center in Saitama where residents from Futaba in Fukushima have been evacuated because of the situation at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Units Five and Six.
Unlike the Oku-midori, the first-pick tea that the cooperative store sells in 100-gram packs, the club created their original product blending two types of leaf and attaching a label with the message “Support for disaster areas” to the package.

The first-pick tea, the Oku-midori, was sent to the affected areas.

Professor of the Okinawa University Yoshihiko Miyagi who has carried out research related to cooperative stores and has worked with the club, said, “This project aims to encourage disaster victims, generate income for the cooperative stores, and to make Oku better known. It’s designed to bring benefits to all three parties.” He hopes to support the afflicted areas and to work to help revitalize the cooperative stores. Isamu Makishi, the president of the club encourages people to drop by the cooperative stores.

This first-pick tea, the earliest-picked in Japan, will be available for shipment by the middle of April, and if the number of supporters grows the club will run a second and third round of projects. There is a donation system through which supporters can buy tea for the devastated areas and for their own use from 1000 yen a set.

For further information, please refer to the official blog of the Fan Club of Local Community-based Cooperative Stores in Okinawa.

Website: http://kyoudoubaiten.ti-da.net/

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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