Minori (実り) Harvest at Oppenheimer Park

An annual PSFS event to celebrate the harvest season and honour the history of Japanese Canadian farmers in BC

On November 28, we held Minori (実り) Harvest at Oppenheimer Park, an annual event to celebrate the harvest season and honour the history of Japanese Canadian farmers in BC. Many of the first generation of Japanese, the Issei, came to Canada in the early 20th century, and settled along the BC coastline and Fraser Valley. Denied citizenship rights and jobs in prominent occupations, the Issei worked for themselves, purchasing and cultivating land which was considered unprofitable and unfavourable in the Fraser Valley, Mission and Abbotsford. The farmers in the area started a farming co-op, a Nokkai, which provided a communal space for meetings and social gatherings. The Nokkai became an important part of life for the Issei, functioning as not just an agricultural hub, but also a community and learning centre.⁠

The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941, changed everything. Canada declared war on Japan, and soon after, all Japanese Canadians were declared enemy aliens, forced to relinquish all financial assets, and relocated to camps in Canada’s interior. ⁠

Farmers were told their land would be held in safekeeping until after the war, but less than a year later, all confiscated possessions and property were auctioned off. This included at least 90 Japanese Canadian farms (over 1,400 acres of land) and over 100 vehicles. ⁠

Many years later, second generation Japanese Canadians, the Nisei, chose to return to the Fraser Valley and continue the tradition of farming. This time of year, you will see in the fields an abundance of squash and pumpkins. ⁠

This Harvest season, please join us in honouring the dedicated farmers who transformed the Fraser Valley into the fertile land we know today. Click here to learn how to make an origami pumpkin. Share this origami as a gift or share in the folding process together with your friends and family!⁠

Special thanks to Yakashiro Farm & Gardens for providing the fresh produce for the delicious Squash Miso Soup, WePress, Vancouver Japanese Language School, and our Advocacy and Outreach Committee for organizing the event and preparing the soup! We were able to distribute over 160 meals.