Report on the 15th International Conference of the East-Asian Agricultural History in South Korea (Fumi Iwashima, Project Research Associate)

FEAST HQ Report, WG2

The 15th of International Conference of the East-Asian Agricultural History (hereinafter ICEAAH) was held at Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea from September 12th to 14th, 2018, of which I had a privilege to be part and present my research. ICEAAH is organized in order to comparatively look at agricultural production, rural communities, and agricultural/rural policies in East Asia and catalyze a broader and deeper understanding. Three East Asian countries of Japan, the Republic of Korea, and People’s Republic of China take turns to host conferences every one to two years. This round of ICEAAH happened to be comparatively small-scale with approximately twenty participants due to some circumstances. …

RIHN Open House 2018: Narrative, Taste, and Identity: What is your dish of 100 years? (Masahiro Terada, RIHN Visiting Associate Professor)

FEAST HQ Events, Report

Every mid-summer, the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) welcomes the public for the Open House event. This year’s RIHN Open House, which was held on the 27th of July, drew more than 900 visitors.  FEAST organized five event booths for the Open House: “Food tent of Bhutan,” a visual installation of fieldwork record in Bhutan; “Let’s go cycling to look for paddy field in Kyoto city,” an interactive experience of fieldwork using a go-pro camera; “What is the food which you cannot buy in the supermarket?,” a word cloud on white board; “Food Policy Council Game” at RIHN Game Café,” a simulation board game; and finally “What is …

Visiting an Organic Farm in Keihoku, Kyoto (Sittidaj Pongkijvorasin, RIHN Visiting Research Fellow/Chulalongkorn University)

FEAST HQ From the Field, Report

From June 15 to 16, FEAST project researcher (Mai Kobayashi) and I (visiting researcher from Chulalongkorn University) visited an organic farm located in Keihoku district in northern Kyoto. The farm we visited is named “Tagayashi-uta Farm,” which literally means “plowing song farm.” There, I was given a great opportunity to experience working on a small scale family farm in an up-land mountainous village of Japan. As a researcher interested in sustainable upland agriculture economies in Thailand, this visit was particularly significant as I was able to exchange knowledge based on each other’s experiences, and compare the different challenges and strategies seen between Japan and Thailand. Nami and Naoya, the farm …

Learning beehive experience in Kameoka (Sittidaj Pongkijvorasin, RIHN Visiting Research Fellow/Chulalongkorn University)

FEAST HQ From the Field, Report

On June 12th, FEAST’s researcher Max Spiegelberg, RIHN guest researcher Rika Shinkai and I joined a small international session on the Asian Honeybee Apis cerana and the beekeeping practices organized by Professor Fumio Sakamoto at Kyoto Gakuen University in Kameoka, who is also the founder of Kyoto apis cerana japonica Lab.  Besides us, also Tai Ezumi from NPO Terra Rennaissance, promoting beekeeping within a project on community development in a landmine contaminated area in Cambodia as well as Ikumi and Yuichi Shiga from the Japanese Bee Weekend Beekeepers Club among others attended. We learned that different types of honeybees have different habitats. The Asian bee (Apis cerana) has 4 sub-species …

FEAST at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting 2018 in New Orleans (Christoph Rupprecht, Project Senior Researcher)

FEAST HQ Conference and Symposium, Report, WG1, WG2, WG3

After our five sessions on food system transitions at the AAG 2017, another team of FEAST and friends of the project made their way to the AAG Annual Meeting 2018 in New Orleans. The chance to meet, listen to and present to 9,000 researchers from a variety of fields is an experience that we didn’t want to miss! Mapping urban food production Localizing food systems is one way to bring sites of production and consumption back together again. From urban agriculture and gardening to local food systems of bread, the two sessions (Mapping Urban Production I, II) provided a chance to hear about stories from Kyoto, Manila, Detroit, Calgary, the …

Kyoto Organic Action: impressions of the project after the "Peasants’ revolution" gathering (Guilherme Raj, Wageningen University)

FEAST HQ Report, WG3

“Kyoto Organic Action” (KOA) was created in the beginning of 2017 during a gathering of organic producers in the Nantan area, northwest of Kyoto City. Kentaro Suzuki, owner of the “369 local & organic yaoya” veggie delivery company, organized the event aiming to boost the dynamics and interactions between farmers, distributors and vendors – something that he didn’t see happening when he moved in to Nantan. During the event, the idea of sharing the transportation costs and logistic system of organic products with buyers in Kyoto City led to what is, today, called “Kyoto Organic Action” (KOA): an organization aimed to decrease the distribution costs of agriculture goods produced by …

Web Seminar: “Why the local economy is a big deal — and what the ‘Totness & District: Local Economic Blueprint’ tells us about it” (Kazuhiko Ota, Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ Report, Seminar & Workshop, WG2

I organized a web seminar (or webinar) entitled “Why the local economy is a big deal — and what the ‘Totness & District: Local Economic Blueprint’ tells us about it” in the evening of the 27th of June. At this webinar, I summarized some of the interesting and important points from “Totnes & District: Local Economic Blueprint,” a summary report by the REconomy Centre Totness, a citizens’ group in Transition Town of Totness, following “the leaky bucket theory”. The leaky bucket theory compares a local economy as a bucket and money as the water in the bucket. Water is poured into a bucket, which represents sales of items and/or services …

Kyoto Kodawari Marché 29: “Kodomo-Shokudo x Organic: Creating ‘Good’ Food Together” (Fumi Iwashima, Project Research Associate)

FEAST HQ Events, Report, WG2, WG3

The 29th of Kyoto Kodawari Marché was held at Kyoto Prefectural Office on the 10th of June and FEAST Project organized an event there entitled “Kodomo-Shokudo x Organic: Creating ‘Good’ Food Together” together with the Working Committee for Council for Future of Food and Agriculture, Kyoto. As one out of six children in Japan now lives in poverty and more and more children are eating alone, citizen and volunteer groups are reacting by creating kodomo-shokudo (children’s cafeteria or canteens), places where children are able to eat for free or a very reduced price together with someone within their own community. In Kyoto, there are several kodomo-shokudos including our collaborators for …

Kyoto Kodawari Marché 29: Mapping the Future of Food in Kyoto (Norie Tamura, Senior Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ Events, Report, WG2

At Kyoto Kodawari Marché 29 held at the Kyoto Prefectural Hall on June 10th, FEAST Project collaborated with NPO Tsukaisutejidai wo Kangaeru Kai (The Association for Ethical Waste Disposal Awareness) and its affiliated company limited, Anzennousan Kyokyu Center (Safe Produce Supply Center Ltd.) to organize an event “Painting delicious Kyoto: Let’s map out the future of food in Kyoto!”. What kind of “future of food in Kyoto” do the participants of such a marché event envision as ideal? The particular objective of this event was to visualize and understand these ideal visions. Four posters with different background sketches were prepared for the participants to add “their ideal future of food in …

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

FEAST HQ Report, WG3

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 for the organizer for taking us in, despite there being …

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

FEAST HQ Report, WG3

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 called Sokshing, and he thought I would be interested. It …

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

FEAST HQ Report, WG2, WG3

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 better futures of agriculture and food, employing various methods such as …

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

FEAST HQ Report, WG2, 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, nutrition education to food processing etc in Kameoka City. The …

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

FEAST HQ Report, WG1

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 were organized based on the following four themes. (1) Health, …

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) 

FEAST HQ Report, Seminar & Workshop

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 agriculture and scale: balancing environmental and consumer demands,” and “food …

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 …

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 …

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 …