International Symposium on Sustainable Agriculture in Nagano: Transitioning to Agroecology (Steven McGreevy, Project Leader)

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

I have been working closely with members of the Nagano Agriculture and Food Association (NAGANO農と食の会) and Food Policy Council Obuse (OBUSE食と農の未来会議) for almost a year now, discussing ways to envision sustainable food futures and enact food policy toward their realization. One refreshing aspect of working with these groups is that the concept of agroecology widely understood and the need to enact agroecological food systems is a given. However, even though Nagano Prefecture is one of the leading agricultural prefectures in Japan, organic agriculture and agroecology are not widely practiced or recognized. When we learned of the possibility of bringing Miguel Altieri and Clara Nicholls (University of California-Berkeley) to Nagano to …

BitSummit Game Jam 2019 at RIHN! (Kazuhiko Ota, Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ Report, Seminar & Workshop

Two-day long BitSummit Game Jam 2019 was held at RIHN on May 11th and 12th in collaboration with Skelton Crew Studio Co., Ltd, a game development company based in Kyoto. “Game Jam” is an event where participants are grouped into different teams on the spot to develop a game within a limited timeframe. About 50 students who are currently studying game creation in and around Kyoto joined this event, and spent 17hrs plus (some stayed up overnight) making a total of eight digital games with the theme of “konzen ittai (to form a complete whole)”. This was the second game jam event held at RIHN, but the first to develop …

Envisioning ideal future school lunches (Steven McGreevy, Project Leader)

FEAST HQ Events, Report, Seminar & Workshop

On March 24th, 2019 a group of around 50 people of all ages gathered in Obuse Town, Nagano Pref., to envision the ideal school lunch thirty years in the future. The event represented one of the first steps for a new civic food network, the Obuse Food Policy Council (Shoku to Nou no Mirai Kaigi), to develop food policy together. FEAST has been working in Northern Nagano Prefecture for some time and partnered with Obuse Food Policy Council in the development of the event. FEAST also partnered with  the NAGANO Nou to Shoku no Kai NPO (NAGANO農と食の会), the Seikatsu Club Obuse Branch (生活クラブ小布施支部), and the Food Literacy and Experiential Education …

Discussing policies for the Kyoto bee-scape at the 38 Café (Maximilian Spiegelberg & Rika Shinkai, Project Researchers & Christoph Rupprecht, Senior Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ Report, Seminar & Workshop, WG3

On February 27th, we invited the bee-stakeholders of Kyoto to the event 38 Café (Mitsubachi Café) “Let’s make a bee-friendly Kyoto City”. Bee-stakeholders are not just beekeepers taking directly care of honeybees, but include all the people affected directly or indirectly by the existence of bees. That can be the farmer needing pollination, or the bird lover interested in a healthy habitat, the city officer called-up regularly by citizens to remove beehives or the educator teaching about food or the environment. The goal of the workshop was to have this diverse group of actors exchange over possible bee-supporting policies and activities in Kyoto and ideally building a more coherent and …

School lunch session of Japan Organic Agriculture Association (Fumi Iwashima, Doshisha University/then-Project Research Associate)

FEAST HQ Events, Report, Seminar & Workshop, WG2

On February 23rd, the General Meeting of Japan Organic Agriculture Association was held at Ayaha Lakeside Hotel in Shiga Prefecture, at which Prof. Motoki Akitsu from Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, FEAST WG2 Chair, and I organized a session “Making school lunch organic” in the afternoon. To our great surprise, more than 30 people joined, which exceeded the fixed number and contributed to a lively session. The session started off with a presentation by Prof. Akitsu, “Starting a food reform from school lunch”. He brought up a broader meaning that school lunch casts on the society, more than just a meal for children that shall be safe and delicious. …

The 23rd RIHN Regional Seminar "Towards bee-friendly cities – co-creating urban futures" @Nakagyo Ward Office (Maximilian Spiegelberg, FEAST Project Researcher; Rika Shinkai, RIHN Visiting Researcher; Aoi Kimura, RIHN PR Section; Yasuhisa Kondo, RIHN Open Team Science PL; Christoph Rupprecht, FEAST Senior Researcher)

FEAST HQ Events, Report, Seminar & Workshop

FEAST bee team together with Nakagyo Ward Office, RIHN PR Section and Open Team Science Project organized the 23rd RIHN Regional Community Seminar “Towards bee-friendly cities – co-creating urban futures” at Nakagyo Ward Office on November 4th. Kyoto Branch of Wild Bird Society of Japan and Public Interest Incorporated Association Kyoto City Greenery Association also played a vital part in this event as partners, and Japanese-Bee Weekend Beekeepers Club, NPO Citizens Environmental Foundation, Horikawa Midorino Machizukuri Kai (Horikawa re-greening club) and Rakusai Shizen Nouen (Rakusai natural farm) as supporters. When the participants list filled up quickly during the registration period, we already got a hint that alike many other cities …

Report on the 2nd seminar of Food Policy Council, Kamoka 2018: “Making Kameoka an organic town!” (Ryo Iwahashi, Project Research Assistant)

FEAST HQ Report, Seminar & Workshop, WG2

On the 19th of November, the 2nd seminar of “Shokuto Nou no Mirai Kaigi in Kameoka (Food Policy Council, Kamoka) 2018: Making Kameoka an organic town!” was held at Galleria Kameoka, Kyoto. This seminar was composed of two parts: a keynote speech titled “Connecting with the world, connecting in the regions: Experiences in Ichijima Town, Hyogo Prefecture and international trends in organic farming” by Mr. Shinji Hashimoto, an organic farmer in Ichijima Town, Tanba City, Hyogo Pref., followed with Q&A session and the workshop in which the participants talked about their background and presented what they thought was necessary to make Kameoka a town of organic farming. Mr. Hashimoto started …

Serious Board Game Jam 2018 (Kazuhiko Ota, Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ Report, WG2

“Serious Board Game Jam 2018 (hereinafter, SBGJ2018)” was organized at RIHN on November 23rd and 24th. “Serious game” refers to a game focusing on social issues such as healthcare, education, disaster control, public health, business management and “game jam” is an event at which participants are divided into teams and develop a game within a limited timeframe. SBGJ2018 was planned and organized in a way to achieve three objectives: 1) to make best use of RIHN’s research outcomes to date; 2) to develop “fun” but “serious” board games and make them open access; and 3) to network with various actors relevant to game development. It made this 2-day event quite …

Workshop “What does school lunch mean to society?” at NPO Tsukaisute Jidai wo Kangaeru Kai and Anzen Kyokyu Center’s Organic Seminar Series (Norie Tamura, Senior Project Researcher, and Fumi Iwashima, Project Research Associate)

FEAST HQ Report, Seminar & Workshop, WG2

On November 10th, 2018, we organized a workshop titled “What does school lunch mean to society?” as part of Organic Seminar Series at Patagonia Kyoto hosted by Tsukaisute Jidai wo Kangaeru Kai (The Association for Ethical Waste Disposal Awareness) and its affiliated company limited, Anzennousan Kyokyu Center (Safe Produce Supply Center Ltd.) and co-hosted by RIHN and Working Committee for Shoku to Nou no Mirai Kaigi Kyoto (Food Policy Council Kyoto). Prof. Takayuki Dewa from Faculty of Letters, Ryukoku University started off the seminar with a lecture on the issues around and background of free school lunch services in Seoul, South Korea. This was meant to be a catalyst for …

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 …