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Think you're a good seller? Could you sell a leaf off a tree?

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V8Bill

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Feb 9, 2012
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Ok, so I'm speed switching from channel to channel as I do when the night's nearing it's end and I stop on a cooking show. They start telling a story of a small town in Japan who's main business (growing mandarins) was wiped out after a nasty frost. Farms closed, supporting businesses failed and the young people moved into the big cities to look for work leaving the town with a mostly elderly population.

So what did they do? They started selling the beautiful local leaves to restaurants as garnish and flourished! In one scene there were all these super energetic, super cool, never-fail-attitude Japanese old folks climbing up and down steep hillsides with extended poles clipping the most perfect leaves off (carefully in order to sustain the resource) and bargaining and selling them on the spot using tablets (iPads...etc) and smart phones to take pictures and sell them to the best Japanese restaurants all over the country. They've since branched off (fairly obviously) into seasonal flowers grown specifically for garnish.

The young people came back and started working for them. I think that's cool and they could certainly teach us a thing or two about making "lemonade". I would never have thought of that.

One lesson is to "look around, opportunity is everywhere!"

“For me, leaves were something you found in your backyard, not something worthy of interest,” he said. “If people find value in pretty leaves, I thought I may be able to make a business out of it.”

...Irodori, which has contracts with 190 farmers, many of them in their 70s, now posts ¥260 million in annual sales.
Leaf-selling business helps small town rake in cash, find pride | The Japan Times

The project turned regular leaves into a valuable resource and turned its elderly into a workforce, Yokoishi explained.

“The vivid colors of the mountain leaves and the local people’s experience with nature are irreplaceable,” he added.
Elderly-run 'leaf business' in Shikoku town drawing interest from abroad | The Japan Times

Thought I'd share with the only community I know who'd nod and wink at the story.

 

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