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 one actor in Kyoto’s food system to role-play and participated in an imaginary “Future of Food Conference” to develop various suggestions for the ideal vision of Kyoto food. With their creativity stimulated, the participants chose to be such food system actors as Kyoto City Mayor, Prime Minister, Udon noodle shop owner, game developer, researcher, fisherman, supermarket owner, nutritionist and the like. Then, based on the results of questionnaire to show the food related topics that they were most interested in, Round 1 dealt with how to improve school lunch and Round 2, the linkage between food and agriculture. The following is the outputs that came about from discussions.

Round 1: How to improve school lunch

  • To provide more drink options such as tea and juice for kids who do not like milk.
  • To collect leftovers and distribute them to Kyoto citizens in need.
  • To include more locally produced vegetables such as Kyo Yasai (Kyoto vegetables).

Round 2: Linkage between food and agriculture

  • To provide more accurate meteorological information to farmers by increasing the number of meteorological observing stations.
  • To improve FEAST video game “Lets Kyoto.”
  • To recycle leftovers from shops and restaurants by properly processing them.
  • To research and develop food processing techniques in order to reduce waste.
  • To raise awareness of the Kyoto citizens by making a TV commercial in collaboration with those who are participating in this conference.

Video game “Lets Kyoto,” which was developed by the game design major students in the Netherlands, enables the players to experience a flow of food system by role-playing one of six food system actors as follows: farmer, local restaurant owner, supermarket owner, fast food restaurant owner, low income consumer and high income consumer. This game, then, gives the players an opportunity to think how a choice each actor makes influences other actors with a fun twist. Once all the players complete their turns, three food-related policy options pop up on the screen, for one of which needs to be adopted unanimously so as to make the future of food in Kyoto better. A video game is a familiar tool for elementary schoolers after all, they let out a cheer the whole time.

In addition to these games, the participants also voted for “What is important for the future of food in Kyoto?.” They were requested to vote for three items out of 15 (School lunch, decline of agriculture, culinary traditions, social cohesion, children’s poverty, agricultural traditions, soil/water pollution, organic food, self-sufficiency, small-scale agriculture, food education, local production, food safety/security, urban-rural linking, climate change (global warming)). With nearly 300 people’s votes, food safety/security received the most number of votes for both adults and children, followed by local production and soil/water pollution for adults and school lunch and culinary traditions for children. Please refer to the graph for more details.

Lastly, as for word cloud, the theme for this year was “what is bad food to you?” in comparison to last year’s “what is good food to you?.” Some wrote down foods that they dislike such as eggplant and prawn, while others came up with foods linked to food safety including “unseasonable vegetables” and “produces that kill many living matters” and foods that surface social meanings of food including “food that you eat alone,” “food produced in an automatic manner without any thoughtfulness for consumers.”

One of the objectives that FEAST works towards is to collaborate with stakeholders to explore the ideal future of food and agriculture, and facilitate agrifood system transition via an action-research approach. Despite “food” being an inextricable part of our daily life, the globalized distribution system of food made it lay far from us, thus somehow invisible. Hopefully, this event granted the participants one of opportunities to think about food that is close to, but far from us, in a fun way. FEAST HQ members inversely learnt that so many people were interested in food as they came by to our event and explored about food together from various standpoints, which definitely determined us to continue our research activities to transform these interests into actual practices. Last but far from least, thank you once again to everyone who dropped by to join us! Looking forward to seeing you next year!

Intro of Card Game by Project Leader (Photo: FEAST)

Ota, FEAST Reseacher, explaining the rules of video game (Photo: FEAST)

Voting for “What is important for the future of food in Kyoto?” (Photo: FEAST)

Voting Results

World Cloud “What is bad food to you?” (Photo: FEAST)