BLUE WING -WINGS FOR CHANGE- 「Next Changemakers」

Introducing the young Social Entrepreneurs who have the makings
to become the next crop of Changemakers

#nextcm #uedaharuka

Mothernet, Co., Ltd. Food Business CEO, Ueda Haruka

2017-06-13 12:00:00
NEXT Changemakers Series:Looking ahead, 10, 20 Years in the Future Every year’s rice planting project has a different theme. Last year, we asked the children to try and sell. With little or no sales training some kids went home with zero sales even after discounting down to 100 yen, but I wanted them to understand how unfair the reality of agriculture is; that you can’t just name your price. This year’s theme is the difference in yield between natural and conventional cultivation. The commonly accepted theory is that omitting pesticides from the equation does not lead to a drop in yield even after the third year of production. However, the object of this theme is not about ascertaining which is better. Looked at through an agricultural economics lens, Japan has such a low self-sufficiency rate that at some point we are going to have to start thinking about which is the more efficient. Is it really so healthy to have such an obsession for naturally grown produce? At any rate, I don’t want these children to grow into adults who dismiss the use of pesticides without having ever seen or touched a plant before. Food education is all about sharing ideas and experiences with the potential farmers of tomorrow. Thank you for reading our interview with Ueda . We will be introducing more next generation Changemakers soon so be sure to follow BLUE WING. #nextcm #ANABLUEWING #uedaharuka [MOTHERNET] Food Education
2017-06-09 12:00:00
NEXT Changemakers Series:Getting Family Around the Table Again, Every Once in a While I first realised the need for food education while studying in the Faculty of Agriculture at Kyoto University. I wasn’t overly interested in food until then, but the more I studied the more I identified problems with the current food system. The search for ways to give my ideas shape lead me to my mother’s hometown and to an encounter with some old ladies — and a bit of a wake-up call. My studies at university had probably been too heavily focused on pesticide and food additive safety, but down on their farms, the vegetables I tasted were the real thing. 90% of Japan’s countryside is mountainous and in towns like Chidu with restricted arable land space, farming is barely an effective way of life. Nevertheless, for many of its residents, farming has a purpose. Even from a social welfare perspective, using agriculture to improve their way of life is very important. Chidu ’s slogan “We Don’t Need Your Regional Revitalisation Here” tells you that this town has always been full of wit and energy. I share the town’s spirit to look after the wellbeing of its life and soul — the old women. A lot of our customers are working mothers for who getting a plate on the table is a big enough struggle. It would be a stretch to ask them to use our grocery delivery service every day. But when, on special occasions, they do, we want them to enjoy our produce with the entire family. Even if it’s only once a month, we want to get the family around the table again. It’s not about food economics, even though that’s the core of my study, it’s about sharing some of the happiness of the old women to create happy families. It’s less about scale and more about longevity. #nextcm #ANABLUEWING #uedaharuka [MOTHERNET] Food Education
2017-06-08 12:00:00
NEXT Changemakers Series:A Grocery Delivery Service Like No Other That’s perhaps the only way to describe a unique service delivering fresh vegetables from a little corner of Tottori Prefecture to the inner cities. Surrounded by the lush greenery of the Sendai River Headwaters, Chidu Town is one of the most beautiful villages in Japan, but it’s largely mountainous topography is hardly suited to running an effective farming business. But it’s here that Mother Net sources the produce for its grocery delivery service. And the farmers? the town’s old ladies, by no means professional farmers, but you wouldn’t think it. The values and objectives of this service are clearly different from the bigger companies. That much is clear when you meet its Food Education Business Manager Ueda Haruka, who having majored in Food Science Biology at Kyoto University of Agriculture, graduated to its Graduate School of Agriculture & Life Sciences where he is currently juggling his food education work with a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics. His work has so far taken him to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe; even as far as France. He also runs a project mentoring young children in the ways of food cultivation raising awareness of the problems that shrinking towns like Chidu face. Join us in the next post as we catch up with Ueda, one of the next generation of Changemaker, to learn more. #nextcm #ANABLUEWING #uedaharuka [MOTHERNET] Food Education

Meet the other Next Changemakers

2018-01-15 12:04:00
NEXT Changemaker Series: Preservation is not “Avoiding Change”, it’s “Embracing Change” Ohara: Our vision which is about maximizing the power of matsuri can be split into two parts: using matsuri to revitalize towns and communities, and encouraging more people to embody this ethos. Matsurism is the inherent value of matsuri. It’s about deepening one’s love for one’s hometown, about raising your voice as loud as you can and putting you whole body into it; it’s about real interactions between people. Life in the cities is logical and robotic, but I think there is more to humanity than that. And from an educational standpoint, you learn more running your own matsuri than you do sat in front of a desk. I worry that old traditions like this might be lost with the advancement of technology, and with it humanity itself. Matsurism challenges the idea of keeping things the same to protect them. To change is to preserve and it’s that ethos that we want to promote by getting more people involved with matsuri, which I plan to do on a much wider scale by taking matsuri around the country. That wraps up the interview with Manabu Ohara and Kyoji Iwadate and with it another edition of the Next Changemaker series. If these posts have piqued your interest in matsuri, why not join one of Matsurism’s tours. BLUE WING will continue to support Changemakers like these and put them in the spotlight. #nextcm #ANABLUEWING #matsurism
2018-01-14 11:44:00
NEXT Changemaker Series: Matsuri that Resurrect Towns With around 300,000 matsuri in Japan, it would be wrong to generalize, but the decision making system behind matsuri is an outdated one. As the decision making process and people are all part and parcel of the tradition of matsuri, it’s always been this way and it’s hard to change. However, it’s a system that in some regions, puts young people off from joining in, creating a bit of a dilemma and a stalemate between the generations. Matsurism comes in and untangles the knots. As outsiders, we are able to communicate the appeal of matsuri through a more objective lens. The people who join us are attracted by the passion and unity that goes into rural matsuri; it allows them to experience a warm human-interaction not found in the urban sprawl. And in return, seeing the city dweller’s reactions, instills the people in the region with a newfound realization and pride of just how amazing their matsuri are. The focus then switches from lack of money and people to the fulfillment of the matsuri-goer. The more people that are involved with matsuri viewing the challenges of the matsuri as that of the town, the more people there are adopting a proactive attitude towards their region. Iwadate: For 3 years now we have been involved in the Takagi Shrine festival in Tokyo’s Sumida ward. I will never forget what one of the 70 year-old organizers once told me. “This town almost died, but you’ve resurrected it!”, he told me. “But we can’t rely on you forever. We need to think for ourselves from here on”, he added. If we had more people with that mindset, we would have more success in reviving these regions. That’s what we mean by the power of matsuri. #nextcm #ANABLUEWING #matsurism
2018-01-13 12:00:00
NEXT Changemaker Series: Matsuri that Transcends Borders, Changes Lives Ohara: “This year will be my third year of involvement in Chichibu’s Yomatsuri (night festival) which came about through a friend at university who lived in the area. I met current Vice President, Kyoji Iwadate, in the University’s Yosakoi Dance club. Coming all the way from rural Kanagawa, the hustle and bustle of Tokyo was a huge culture shock for me, and failure to immediately adapt to university life was getting me down, but that’s when a friend, unfazed by my somewhat withdrawn personality, took me along to the school festival where I made the chance encounter with the Yosakoi dance troupe. Seeing them perform with such energy made me want to join in and before long I had become a member of the club. Dancing with them was so much fun. I still remember that reassuring feeling of acceptance. This was in my 2nd year of university. I spent my third year on a year abroad in America, and decided to use the opportunity to spread some Japanese Festival culture. I taught Yosakoi dance to foreigners, showing off my skills everywhere from the local nursery and retirement home, to the graduation ball, anywhere I could. “Your so cool!” they would tell me. The wealth of compliments helped alleviate the inevitable loneliness of being in a foreign country and filled me with happiness. Inspired by this positive feedback, on my return to Japan, I began working towards creating a place where both expats and international students alike could share their country’s culture. My slogan was “matsuri transcends borders”. Yosakoi and matsuri had given me so many moving, almost tearful moments that stayed with me even after entering the world of work. I never forgot the wonder of matsuri and how it had the power to change lives. And then, on 30th November 2016, I setup Matsurism. #nextcm #ANABLUEWING #matsurism