Introducing Dr. Aki Imaizumi, a new FEAST Project Researcher: Sustainable agri-food system: from seed to table (Aki Imaizumi, Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ HQ News

Three months have already passed since I joined FEAST Project as a researcher. Having spent two and half a year in the Netherlands and Luxembourg, I was stunned by the bustling city of Kyoto filled with tourists. I did my Ph.D. study on seed systems at Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University. Various social systems co-exist in different phases, from development to production and sales of seeds, technoscience including genetic engineering, intellectual property rights that protects those outputs, legal systems that guarantee the quality of seeds and subsequently secure markets. These systems are well intertwined to secure a stable supply of seeds, but they could sometime prevent farmers from handling …

Norie Tamura gave a lecture at NPO Senior Shizan Daigakkou lecture series (2017/08/26)

FEAST HQ WG3_Publications

NPO Senior Shizen Daigakkou based in Osaka promotes environmental education and sociocultural activities. As a part of these activities, Professor Emeritus Masaru Tanaka at Kyoto University coordinates a lecture series of “Shizengaku (nature studies)” regarding the global environment. The 9th of its series in 2017 was held on August 26th at which Norie Tamura, WG3 Chair, gave a lecture entitled “Shoku wo meguru shohi to seisan no arubeki sugata (how food consumption and production should be)”. As many as 164 pax, mainly the members of NPO, participated this time. The lecture started off with what kind of environmental impacts are caused by food production, distribution and consumption, how the current …

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

FEAST HQ 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 backgrounds and expectations for research, especially in the early stages—it …

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

FEAST HQ Report, WG5

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 product/service may have on the environment in its life cycle …

GIAHS fieldwork report on Humanity&Nature Newsletter No. 67

FEAST HQ WG3_Publications

The report on fieldwork that Norie Tamura, WG3 Chair conducted at GIAHS site – Takachihogo-Shiibayama Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry System – in Miyazaki Prefecture was published on Humanity&Nature Newsletter No. 67. The GIAHS designation recognizes the value of what local residents see as a part of their everyday life at the international level. Yet, the great significance of GIAHS lies in its potential to link more recent knowledge and technologies to local/traditional livelihood and explore the brighter future, says Tamura. Please check the article (p.5~6) from the following link (Japanese only). Humanity&Nature Newsletter No. 67  

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

FEAST HQ Report, WG3

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 damages to the bee colonies by wild-life and predators  (bee-happy.jp; …

RIHN Open House 2017 “Share ? and ! this summer” (Yuko Kobayashi and Yuko Matsuoka, Project Research Associates)

FEAST HQ HQ News, Report

For this annual event, the institution-wide efforts are made to organize a wide variety of events so that the local communities can feel more familiarity with RIHN. The activities of FEAST Project included card game and video game to explore the ideal future of Kyoto food, voting for “what is important for the future of food in Kyoto?” and word cloud for “what is bad food to you?.” Two games were originally developed for FEAST gaming workshops “Future visions of food in Kyoto” (Please see the details of workshops from here!). Two rounds of card game were carried out for 4th grade elementary school students and over. Each participant chose …

Informal Urban Green Space: Residents’ Perception, Use, and Management Preferences across Four Major Japanese Shrinking Cities

FEAST HQ WG1_Publications

Abstract: Urban residents’ health depends on green infrastructure to cope with climate change. Shrinking cities could utilize vacant land to provide more green space, but declining tax revenues preclude new park development—a situation pronounced in Japan, where some cities are projected to shrink by over ten percent, but lack green space. Could informal urban green spaces (IGS; vacant lots, street verges, brownfields etc.) supplement parks in shrinking cities? This study analyzes residents’ perception, use, and management preferences (management goals, approaches to participatory management, willingness to participate) for IGS using a large, representative online survey (n = 1000) across four major shrinking Japanese cities: Sapporo, Nagano, Kyoto and Kitakyushu. Results show …

Two consumers’ focus group discussions were conducted for the research on future vision of Thai consumers on sustainable food consumption practice (Kanang Kantamaturapoj, Mahidol University/WG2)

FEAST HQ Report, WG2

Two workshops were set up in Bangkok on 15 July 2017 with Thai consumers to investigate consumer perspectives on future sustainable food purchasing and eating out. Transition theory is used as a framework of this study. The development  of  novel  solutions  for  more  sustainable  food consumption  practices need the  involvement across a range of spheres, tiers and disciplines. Therefore, we intendeded to recruit a spectrum of attendees. The participants of focus group included consumers from three clusters; 1) green consumers (regular organic food consumers), 2) non-green consumers and 3) innovative consumers. Different consumer groups were exposed to different types of activities, different social perceptions norms, and different lifestyle.  Various consumer …

XVI Biennial IASC-Conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands

FEAST HQ WG3_Publications

Norie Tamura, Senior Project Researcher and Mai Kobayashi, Project Researcher took part in XVI Biennial International Association for the Study of the Commons-Conference held in Utrecht, the Netherlands from July 10th to 14th, 2017, at which they presented on the following topics. Norie Tamura and Mikitaro Shobayashi “Analyzing differences in how small-scale farming and local commons are viewed between central and local governments: A case study in Japan” Mai Kobayashi “Bhutan’s fertility transition: organic agriculture and the adaptation of peasant farmers in the Himalayan Kingdom” Abstract: Efforts towards agricultural modernization in Bhutan officially started in the 1960s after the opening of its borders to the outside world. Since then, national …

Joining a nest of Activist Scholars (Mai Kobayashi, Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ Report, WG3

A belated update on my trip to participate in Elikadura21 — The Future of Food and Challenges for Agriculture in the 21st century. The gathering took place in Vitoria Gasteiz in the Basque Country from April 24th to 26th 2017, and it was the seventh of its kind. The main organizers were the   the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS), the Transnational Institute (TNI), and the Journal of Peasant Studies, as well as local peasant organizations from the Basque Country (EHNE Bizkaia and Etxalde among others) and members of La Via Campesina, the largest international association of small farmers and farm workers.Various local and …

Invited Lecture in Obihiro City, Hokkaido (Norie Tamura, Senior Project Researcher/WG3 Chair)

FEAST HQ Report, WG3

I was invited to the General Meeting of Higashi Hokkaido Mokuzai Kyokai (East Hokkaido Logging Association)  in Obihiro City, Hokkaido on June 2nd, 2017, at which I gave a lecture entitled “Thinking about the Future of Forestry: Policy, Resources, Distribution and Society.” The invitation was made as a continuation of my work prior to joining FEAST involving forest and forestry. And, you might be wondering how forestry and logging industry are relevant to FEAST project focusing on food and agriculture. They might appear out of context of FEAST project, but it is not the case. Food production, the main focus of WG3, is linked in many ways to sustainable rural …

WG4 Meeting with Stakeholders in Tsukuba (Takeshi Osawa, Shigeto Sudo, Ayaka Kishimoto-Mo, Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences-NARO/WG4)

FEAST HQ Report, WG4

On June 19th, 2017, WG4 organized a meeting with stakeholders working on environmentally sustainable agriculture at Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture. The participants included those from agricultural corporations, private farmers, public agricultural experiment facilities, private consulting firms and also students. WG4 explores sustainable and place-based tools such as food labeling, corporate-social responsibility and carbon valuation. One of key intervention strategies is scientifically verified eco-branding – Cool Vege® (Cool Rice for rice). This label is granted only to vegetables (or rice) produced with a farming method that can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. GHG emissions are a contributor to global …

Playing with food in FEAST's gaming workshops (Astrid Mangnus, Utrecht University)

FEAST HQ Report, WG2

On the 11th and 28th of May, FEAST hosted two gaming workshops in a series of activities around the future of food in collaboration with Prof. Joost Vervoort and myself, visiting researchers form Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Earlier activities include three backcasting focus groups for the food future of Kyoto prefecture and a series of workshops in Noshiro, Akita prefecture. The use of games is a new and fun way of exploring possible futures. In both workshops the participants played two games: a video game and a card game. We were interested in both the effect that the method of gaming had on the participants, as well as the plans …

Visiting Kushiro City, Hokkaido (Norie Tamura, Senior Project Researcher/WG3 Chair)

FEAST HQ Report, WG3

I visited Kushiro City, Hokkaido from May 31st to June 2nd, 2017 with a specific objective to learn about how local people try to make the best use of Yezo shika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis). Working Group 3 of FEAST Project works around the theme of sustainable food production that is also in harmony with nature. When we think about the correlation between humanity and nature, one of the challenges that Japan face today is the increasing human-wildlife conflicts. Wild animals such as deer (including Yezo shika beer), boars, bears, Japanese raccoons, crows, Japanese minks and Japanese cormorants are growing in number excessively, resulting in damage in the agricultural sector, …

Introducing Dr. Max Spiegelberg, a new FEAST Project Researcher: -Study-Work-Study-Work- (Maximilian Spiegelberg, Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ HQ News

In 2013 I returned to university as a student again following 5 years of work in development cooperation and education for sustainable development. After my thirst for knowledge had brought me already to the far east of Germany (B.Sc. at Brandenburg Technical Uni Cottbus), to the middle-east for my Master thesis’ field research, my decision fell for Japan’s top-notch university in ancient Kyoto for the PhD. With my background in Environmental Management and Peacebuilding, I chose to research with the Lab of Sustainable Rural Development the emerging concept Water-Energy-Food Nexus. The WEF-Nexus focuses on the connections and dynamics between activities around water, energy and food. It asks for crossing boundaries …

JpGU-AGU Joint Meeting 2017 (Christoph Rupprecht and Kazuhiko Ota, Project Researchers)

FEAST HQ Report, WG1, WG2

This year, JpGU-AGU (Japan Geoscience Union – American Geophysical Union) Joint Meeting was held again at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture from May 20th to 25th, in which Christoph Rupprecht and Kazuhiko Ota from FEAST HQ participated. The members of JpGU mainly come from the field of geoscience including astronomy, geology, climate change study as such, but JpGU also provides a platform for dialogue, information dissemination, review and input on a variety of social challenges related to the environment. On 22nd, Kazuhiko gave a presentation titled “Integrating a participatory back-casting methodology into research on sustainable social transition: Case study from the workshops on the ideal future of food” at the …

Exploring better food futures for Kyoto prefecture through visioning and back-casting (Astrid Mangnus, Utrecht University)

FEAST HQ Report, WG2

At the center of FEAST’s research are the complex sustainability issues faced by modern-day agrifood systems. One of the ways in which the project aims to address these challenges is by envisioning plausible futures and initiating democracy-oriented food experiments and actions. Visioning is a method that can be used to paint a clear picture of such a plausible future. Back-casting is a method in which a pathway to the envisioned future is made, working back from the future to the present. On the 25th and the 26th of April, FEAST put these methods to work for Kyoto prefecture. In collaboration with visiting researchers from Utrecht University, three visioning and back-casting …

FEAST at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting 2017 in Boston (Christoph Rupprecht, Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ HQ News, Report

In early April, almost everyone from the FEAST HQ went on a long trip all the way from Kyoto to Boston. There we attended the AAG Annual Meeting 2017, the biggest geography conference in the world where over 9,000 researchers meet to present and discuss their latest work. It was an exciting and intense week, where we all learned a lot, made new friends and had a chance to explore Boston’s bustling food scene. Food system transitions, degrowth and the growing world of food and agriculture geography For most of the conference, one thing was in the back of our minds: the session on food system transitions Christoph and Steven …