2018 Apr 24

Report:Witnessing the birth of a new concept “Community Supported Trade” (Mai Kobayashi and Maximilian Spiegelberg, Project Researchers)

smoothjapan Report, WG1

We spent the weekend of March 3rd and 4th at the 『百姓一喜』(Hyakusho-ikki). The title for this event can be translated as the peasant revolution, but they used the character for “happiness(喜)”, rather than “riot(揆),” which had the same pronunciation. It was a second gathering of its kind that took place in Nantan, Kyoto. The event by the same name that took place one year ago was what created the group that calls itself Kyoto Organic Action (KOA), the core members of this group was the organizers for this event. Having decided relatively late to join the event, we are grateful...

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2018 Mar 14

Model, Prizes, and Leaf litter: Challenges of personality rights (Mai Kobayashi, FEAST Project Researcher)

smoothjapan Report, WG2

I’d helped him with a reference letter for a scholarship for his studies at the College of Natural Resources (CNR). Sonam Phuntsho was a student of one of our research collaborators at the college. We soon found out that he had received the scholarship and since then, we had kept in touch over facebook messenger. It was one regular work day when Sonam sent me a photograph. It was a lady carrying a pile of leaves to use as bedding for her cattle. I had written a paper on the practice of using a plot of forest for this practice...

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2018 Mar 02

A forum “Towards the future of organic farming: Thinking about good life and society with young farmers” (Yuko Kobayashi, Project Research Associate)

smoothjapan Report, WG3

A forum “Towards the future of organic farming: Thinking about good life and society with young farmers” was organized by NPO Tsukaisutejidai wo Kangaerukai (The Association for Ethical Waste & Disposal Awareness) and its associated organization, Anzen Nousan Kyokyu Center (Center for safe agricultural products) at Coop-in Kyoto on February 18th, and FEAST Project was invited to conduct visioning and gaming workshops as a part of the forum. A total of 70 people joined this event, which made the event very lively with enthusiastic discussions and kids’ chuckles and laughs. FEAST Project has been organizing a number of workshops to explore...

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2018 Jan 15

Workshop “The future of local food and agriculture in Kameoka City” (Hiraku Kumagai, Kyoto University)

smoothjapan Report, WG4

FEAST-WG 2 has organized a series of three workshops “The future of local food and agriculture in Kameoka City” in Kameoka City, Kyoto Prefecture on Sep 27th, Oct 16th and Nov 20th, 2017. Seven of us were part of the organizing committee: WG2 chair and members, Prof. Motoki Akitsu from Kyoto University, Prof. Mari Nakamura from Nagoya Bunri University, Norie Tamura, FEAST Sub-leader and RIHN Senior Researcher, as well as Steven McGreevy, FEAST Project leader, Yuko Matsuoka, FEAST Research Associate, Ryo Iwahashi and myself from Kyoto University. The 13 participants were those engaged in various agrifood-related issues ranging from agriculture,...

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2017 Dec 25

Reporting of my participation at the XXII International Conference of the Society for Human Ecology (Ayako Kawai, The Australian National University)

smoothjapan Report, WG5

I joined the XXII International Conference of the Society for Human Ecology held from 28 Nov 2017 to 1 Dec at the University in the Philippines, Baños. I am currently a PhD student at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, focusing on seed saving practices in Japan. I am also a project member of FEAST. This conference has been held since 1985, and promotes ecological perspectives for research, education and practices. The conference title this year was ‘Envisioning Pathways to Just and Sustainable Futures: Celebrating diversity, pursuing integration, and developing livable communities’. Presentation and paper sessions...

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2017 Dec 13

Visiting Berkeley for the 1st RIHN/UCB International Workshop “Food, Agriculture, and Human Impacts on the Environment: Japan, Asia and Beyond” (Steven R. McGreevy, Project Leader) 

smoothjapan Report

On November 6-7th, five of us from FEAST (Norie Tamura, Mai Kobayashi, Christoph Rupprecht, Daniel Niles, and myself) attended the first Research Institute for Humanity and Nature / University of California, Berkeley International Workshop to commemorate the signing of a memorandum of understanding. The workshop was entitled “Food, Agriculture, and Human Impacts on the Environment: Japan, Asia and Beyond” and was composed of eight sessions spanning two beautiful days at different venues on the Berkeley campus. FEAST was partly responsible for organizing Part I of the workshops, the first three sessions on “urban biocultural food production and food security,” “organic...

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2017 Dec 05

FEAST Seminar “Future of Food and Agriculture in Nagano: The Role of Citizens in Transition to a Sustainable Society” (Yuko Kobayashi, Project Research Associate)

smoothjapan Report

Following the FEAST Symposium “Living with farmers’ markets: Transitioning to a sustainable society” in collaboration with Peace Flag Project at RIHN, Kyoto on November 23rd (Blog post is progress!), my next stop was Nagano. On the 24th, FEAST organized a seminar “Future of food and agriculture in Nagano: the role of citizens in transition to a sustainable society” at Gondou East Plaza in Nagano City. Currently, FEAST’s field sites in Japan are located in Kyoto City and Kameoka City, Kyoto Prefecture and Noshiro City, Akita Prefecture. From the next project year, activities in Nagano City will be also off and...

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2017 Sep 21

FEAST Project Research Retreat: Deep reflections on the shores of the Mother Lake (Steven McGreevy, Project Leader)

smoothjapan Report

On August 28~29th, we held the 4th FEAST Project research retreat, this time in Shiga Prefecture, overlooking the Mother Lake, Biwako. The retreat is a precious opportunity to gather working group chairs, executive committee members, and those working at FEAST HQ in RIHN to discuss our progress, plans, and goals.  For a project leader, the retreat is essential for seeing how the various pieces of the project are developing, how they come together to create a “story,” and whether they adhere to (or evolve away from) the original research framework. Interdisciplinary projects can be difficult because of the intermixing of...

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2017 Sep 15

New research takes off with bees (Maximilian Spiegelberg, Project Researcher)

smoothjapan Report

In summer the whir of the cicada dominates the Japanese soundscape. To me and my colleagues Christoph Rupprecht (FEAST Project Researcher), Rika Shinkai and Kan Seicyou (RIHN Visiting Researchers) came this summer additionally also the buzz of the bees. With the globally recognized importance of bees as pollinators in the agricultural production (IPBES 2017)bees play their part when talking about transitioning to agroecology, and regional food systems. However, the number of managed bees and professional beekeepers has decreased also in Japan over the past years due to pests, landscape and agricultural changes, insecticide and pesticide use, as well as some...

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2017 Sep 11

Road to LCA App (1) – FY2017-2nd WG5 Meeting (Yuko Matsuoka, Project Research Associate)

smoothjapan Report

Climate change, pollutions, loss of diversity, lack of successors, unfair trade, obesity… though we have heard various issues surrounding sustainability, we barely get to know how these issues are linked to our daily lives. We might be aware that these problems are caused by our modern, convenient and comfortable lifestyles, but how and to what extent are they linked? Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique developed for assessing the potential environmental impacts associated with a product/service throughout its life cycle (from extraction of raw material to final disposal). Through this analytical technique, now we can know what impact a...

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