This morning, when I opened my Inbox, like so many people of our contemporary world do, I found a newsletter from an organization in which I participate. Par for the course, I left the message to open later, after the important matters were attended to. I was in for a surprise.
When I opened it, roughly an hour later, I found that the newsletter contained a most curious item - a blog post about an event, which I had organized and facilitated less than a month ago. The organization was the RSA, which I wrote about in yesterday's blog post. The event was held at Tokyo's own Venture Café, at Toranomon Hills, an activity organized by CIC - the famous Cambridge (Boston) organization that was home to the launching of HubSpot and Android.
When I started the process of organizing the series of panel discussions that has become Dialogue: Grow-Feed-Innovate, I wanted to call the series the Future of Food. What I envisioned was a series of discussions about how Tokyo specifically and urban societies in general would be able to surmount the sustainability hurdles of feeding nutritiously while their populations continue to expand in the future.
I have long considered this one of the fundamental conundrums of our time. I wanted to create a forum in which we would discuss the topic from a broad range of perspectives, including urban farming, architecture, science and science fiction, architecture, and innovation. My lifelong perspective has been that the future prospects for food sustainability in our cities look bleak, unless we innovate and create better practices that connect more urban dwellers to the countryside. Fortunately, others in the RSA JFN encouraged me and took the initiative to pursue the series.
The post itself was a well written summary, by Ricardo Sanavio FRSA. I won't summarize it here, but you can read it online <here>.
Very soon thereafter, I received a message from Christian Schmitz, who I'd met the night before, at another RSA JFN function, summarized, too, in yesterday's blog post. I knew him from years ago, but met for the first time in perhaps a decade. As a follow-up to just one of the many unfinished conversations from the previous night, he asked me to participate in an upcoming workshop, part of the Future Food for Climate Change Summer School – Smart Farms in Japan, organized by the Future Food Network, based in Italy.
The aims of the summer school is to research and apply climate-smart agriculture (CSA) with the purpose of transforming and re-focusing agricultural systems. CSA is an approach that helps to guide actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support the development and ensure food security in a changing climate. At the workshop, 30 food industry and climate-smart solution experts will be invited to participate in a discussion as part of the summer school program. The workshop will be held on 05 August, at EDGEof in Shibuya.
During our message exchange, Christian and I discussed again various matters, a private extension of the more public conversation last night. Among other things, I mentioned that I've been an avid cook, particularly at Boy Scout camps, cooking (with a team) for as many as 250 Scouts during a mid-sized camp. To my surprise, a new discussion unfolded, whether I would be willing to cook for the workshop.
Though a final decision hasn't been reached yet, I breached the subject with our campaign team, particularly the Project Manager, George. He immediately said, "I don't know if you know this, but I did a 6-month course at Cordon Bleu, many years ago. I agree, the right way of making the future outlook good has to include good food. Let's do it.” Wow! The things we can learn each day about the closest of friends is astounding.
Whether or not the cookout does materialize, the days events does underscore that what often seems to be the same mundane daily work routines might turn out to reveal pearls. Our film, Kokoro no Kintsugi, is a journey to detach our wheel from the social hamster's cage, releasing it on roads that crisscross across the magical island of Shikoku. But our campaign is, too, already unhinged from the cages of the daily grind. We may still be working in Tokyo, but when we open our emails, attend meetings, create proposals, and negotiate, the connections between people, communities, span continents, from the city to the countryside, and move from farm to table, are obscured and unified.
Knowledge is Power. Food is Energy. People united can never be defeated. Grow-Feed-Innovate. This is a journey that will change your life.
Come join us!