Understanding environment through culture, UEHIRO×WASEDA Seminar series

Final Report

Nature and Culture Final Report

View from Ofuna Station

Throughout this course of “Understanding the Environment through Culture, Field Study of Sustainable Design  01” we got to learn a lot about the environment, especially about the commons and how we can improve the management system to protect the commons from being over-exploited and degraded. In the class, we spent most of our time exchanging our ideas on sustainability and working on how to achieve a balance between nature and our everyday life, or in other words, how to enjoy the convenience in our life while still enhancing nature and preserving it. Besides, we also learned about other concepts like SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and carbon neutrality, which are very interesting.

For the first field trip in this class, we went to Kamakura and visited a restaurant called Atelier Kitchen (アトリエキッチン鎌倉) whose concept is「つながる ひろがる 食のライブハウス」with its aim to create a space where people gathering in the kitchen can share their enjoyment and realize the importance of food through workshops, cooking classes and restaurant business provided here.

Atelier Kitchen, Kamakura

Mr. Wada, owner of the restaurant and representative of vegetable garden club

During our visit, Mr. Wada, the owner of the restaurant, had provided us an opportunity to learn about pesticide-free farming in which no chemical pesticide or fertilizer is used in the process of growing vegetables but instead, organic environmentally-friendly fertilizers are used, e.g.: rice husk powder and straw.

Mr. Wada introducing us about his vegetable garden club

Pesticide-free club vegetable garden

At the workshop, we got to learn how to make sushi with pickles made from those delicious vegetables grown in the garden. We also enjoyed mouth-watering dishes prepared by Mr. Wada with his homegrown ingredients.

Vegetables harvested from the garden

Pickles using vegetables grown in the garden

Us making sushi

Delicious grilled salmon trout cooked by Mr. Wada

On our last day of this course, we had a chance to have a symposium and discussion on the concept of commons and how to manage them efficiently.  For our group, we chose to present about policies protecting the commons with an introduction on EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and the change in subsidy system in order to encourage farmers to participate in doing sustainable farming. Thanks to the change in the system, farmers now are more aware of their impact on the commons  and commit to sustainable farming, which would eventually contribute to the fight of climate change, attainment of food security, conservation of species diversity and improvement of our health.

Our symposium and discussion on the Commons

In conclusion, this course and the field trip to Kamakura have taught me a lot about the environment such as the Commons and its tragedy and the benefits of pesticide-free and sustainable farming. Most importantly, Kamakura field trip has given me more insights about  farming without any chemical-related products and made me realize that we too can grow beautiful, healthy and delicious vegetables without the help from chemical insecticides and fertilizers. Mr.Wada’s model of vegetable garden has shown that there still are people who care about not only the environment but also their customers’ health and they are more than willing to spread this positivity to others.

Quyen Dinh


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