Empowering residents to co-design their food systems: experimenting with future-oriented methods in Japan and Thailand
Christoph Rupprecht (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature)
Joost Vervoort (Utrecht University)
Steven McGreevy (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature)
Kazuhiko Ota (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature)
Paper short abstract:
How can future-oriented participative methods empower residents to take ownership of their rapidly changing food systems? We showcase results from Japan and Thailand, from visioning workshops and backcasting to "serious games" and social media-based collective reflections on "good food".
Paper long abstract:
Rapidly changing local and global food systems as well as changing food practices create uncertainty that often leave us with the feeling that we are not in control of what, where and how we eat. Here we introduce a variety of future-oriented participative methods that aim to empower residents to co-design and co-produce their food systems and thereby increase food sovereignty. These methods were tested across sites in Japan and Thailand as part of the FEAST project ("Lifeworlds of Sustainable Food Consumption and Production: Agrifood Systems in Transition") from 2016 to 2018. We showcase visioning workshops to identify ideal diets of the future, backcasting to identify pathways for implementation, personal foodshed mapping, "serious games" from Food Policy Council roleplaying to group-based video games, and collective reflections on what "good food" means crowd-sourced via public transport advertising and social media. We discuss insights gained and lessons learned as our participants and us traveled to imaginary food futures — how they approached the uncertainty of living in a changing world as well as the fundamental uncertainty of future-oriented methods, but also how such uncertainties can create space for new ideas and visions of a better life.