In the fall of 2017, I was selected for a small international team of good food advocates in collaboration with The Lexicon and Future Food Institute to contribute information artworks defining sustainable agricultural terms to an exhibit hosted at the G7 Agriculture Summit in Bergamo, Italy. I photographed and created artworks about three Japanese concepts: Mottainai, Megumi Jyunkan Noho and Wabi-Sabi. Each of these concepts, and the food heroes that embody them, have inspired me and many others to live more sustainably and in harmony with nature.
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The spirit of "Mottainai" provides the West with a philosophical answer to the global crisis of food waste.
MEGUMI JYUNKAN NŌHŌ
A couple turned gardens into laboratories to nourish companionship among people and all living things.
Traditional philosophies such as "wabi-sabi" can disrupt notions of linear progress and help us find a more humble and realistic relationship with nature.
In Search of an Oasis
The ground was as dry and expansive as a deserted planet, sand stretching for miles on all sides like outstretched arms. A thin film of dust covered the surface as hundreds of cattle, goats and camels dotted the landscape. As we continued toward the drying well, the livestock moved toward us, behind us and alongside us en route to a trough for water or beyond to graze.
It was the dry season, and our team of journalists was in the remote village of Dubluck in southern Ethiopia. We were taking in the scene — the harshness of the hot sun and the sad realities of climate change — and observing how drought has affected the lives of nomadic cattle farmers, or “pastoralists,” in this distant part of the world...