Building a new food economy in Japan through sharing, collaboration, and commoning

Organizers: Christoph D. D. Rupprecht (FEAST Project, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), /Japan)
Steven R. McGreevy (FEAST Project, RIHN / Japan)

The essential nature of food in our daily lives means food is constantly bought and sold through ubiquitous food markets and their economic circuits. These systems of provision have proven very difficult to change, even though their practices are unsustainable and their power structures are unequal. Japan’s food system relies heavily on imported food and farm inputs, creates an enormous quantity of waste, and has severely weakened domestic markets. However, food in particular has always been at the center of informal economic relationships between people in various forms of sharing and gifting. Food consumption and production can be communal activities that create closer relational ties to people, places, and nature, foster greater awareness, and increase well-being. New forms of food sharing, collaboration, and commoning are emerging in Japan that demonstrate the potential for building a new food economy based on principles of solidarity and collective well-being. This session is a collection of cases from Japan and case-comparisons with examples from outside of Japan that illustrate this potential and capture the broad range of activities that make up the new food economy.

Ayako Kawai (Australian National University) Informal management and sharing of seeds in Japan
Ryo Kohsaka (Tohoku University / Japan) Non-market food provisioning services via homegardens and communal sharing in satoyama socio-ecological production landscapes on Japan's Noto peninsula
Naomi Shimpo (Tsukuba University / Japan) Grow and share our food in neighborhoods: Some case studies on community gardens in Japan, New Zealand and Germany
Chris Berthelsen (A Small Lab / New Zealand) Improvising a Delicious Landscape with Resources at Hand - Experiments with Fruit, Weeds, Clay, and Junk in Tokyo and Auckland
Mai Kobayashi and Takanori Oishi (FEAST Project, RIHN / Japan) The informal food economy of Tsushima Island