We normally think of weeds as enemies. In this exhibition, Kang and Lydon’s “City as Nature” studio suggests that weeds are healers of the land, of people, and of cities. In three multi-sensory sections, the herbalist and artist couple celebrate how a relationship with four … Continue readingCity as Weeds
Many of us recognize the need for more ecological lifestyles, but if we live in a city with little or no ‘ecology’ around us, where on earth do we start? This short film brings us into the minds of natural farmers in Japan and the … Continue readingA City is Part of the Universe
This exhibition series features poetic verse and philosophical concepts collected over the course of five years of field research and study on natural farming, conducted in Japan, Korea, Scotland, and the United States. Although regarded positively by environmental experts, the practice of natural farming is … Continue readingWisdom From the Field
As a testament to an unconventional year, we spent Christmas on an overnight train from Chaingmai to Bangkok this year. Although we took the trip with our good friends Tomo and Pattarapol, and there were a few bright red Santa hats walking around the train, … Continue readingEnd of Winter Update (2017)
Join us this fall as we learn from and grow with each other during this 10-week series of events where participants learn to cultivate their creativity and ecological awareness, exploring art, nature, culture, and good food on the island of Megijima! … Continue readingREALtimeFOOD in Megijima, Japan!
A documentary film and long-term international dialogue about food, earth, and happiness, based on a Japanese ‘Natural Farming’ philosophy of living with the environment.
A book of forty five postcards, each with an image from our travels to natural farms, and bite-sized quotes from the natural farmers in Korea, Japan, and the United States. … Continue readingFinal Straw: Wisdom from the Field (book)
We opened a slightly audacious restaurant and garden in a working-class suburb of Osaka, Japan with the intent of connecting people more deeply with food and nature in their neighborhood. Can an urban garden help us remember what it means to be human? … Continue readingNature of Cities | A Restaurant and Garden Serving up Connections to Urban Nature
From a tiny rice field to one of the world’s largest cities, follow us on a journey with a chef as she builds a pint-sized restaurant focused on nourishing relationships… … Continue readingSocieCity | Rice Fields, Rice Balls, and Relationships
There are walls of rain coming down outside and I’m sweating. Which means it’s rainy season in Japan. A quick update on a few exciting projects going on this summer here in Osaka… PART 1 – REALtimeFOOD In June and July, Suhee and I are … Continue readingSummer Update from Japan
What would our food situation look like if all of the suburban backyards and urban alleyways were producing some kind of food? Is this a silly agrarian dream? Would we still need GMOs? … Continue readingResilience | What if We all Grew Food?
The UN claims we have less than 60 years of farming left if we continue our modern chemical-industrial based farming processes… thankfully, around the world, small scale farmers have been putting into practice the kinds of regenerative farming that can both reverse ecological destruction, and feed the world. … Continue readingResilience | Fixing Soil Loss Requires a Mindset Change
If urban sustainability issues are to become deeply entrenched in culture, it follows that successful urban nature design—indeed, successful sustainable cities in general—can only be achieved in concert with a deep and sustained cultural awareness of the importance of nature. … Continue readingNature of Cities | Garden City Culture: How a Cultural Connection with Nature Can Build a Truly Sustainable Future
Is it possible for a humble seed and a patch of soil to be the catalysts for stronger, healthier, more equal urban communities? … Continue readingResilience | Solving Crime and Inequality, with a Seed
— At night glowing street stalls appear here selling various Korean comfort foods fried chicken pig stomach fermented cabbage soup They are unplanned improvisations added to the streets and sidewalks of otherwise pristinely ordered developments It seems they forgot something in designing the ‘new town’ … Continue readingPig Stomach
A new natural farmer here in Korea was so inspired by our work with the Final Straw project, and our help in connecting him to a network of others with similar mindsets, that he sent us a huge box of vegetables from his farm this week as a thank you gift. … Continue readingA Box of Inspiration
A new word for me this week in Korea was “Beezza,” a word that blends two American favorites which are both well loved here; Beezza is short for beer and pizza. … Continue readingBeeza, and other Korean Word Blends
Using research and interactive media to visualize connections between people and environment and the vital support systems of community and agriculture.
An installation which looks at food production in a tactile way, this living sculpture exists for the cabbage to slowly feed off of the energy of the decomposing burger.
An interactive installation which emphasizes a re-connection of people with the sources, and costs, of food, enabling spontaneous acts of community seed bombing to take place.
A video-based work exploring the concept of ‘harvest’ within rural-agrarian and urban-consumer society, Harvest employs two-channel video, projected side-by-side into urban environments.
From Chez Panisse to Namu Gaji, This iconic city, set on a hilly peninsula on California’s central coast is a small but powerful leader in the local agriculture movement. … Continue readingResilience.org | San Francisco’s Natural Farm Restaurant
After sharing stories of their connection with nature, the locals thought it best to also share some of their harvest with us as well. Delicious, sweet Megijima corn was our snack this afternoon, and some cute little cucumbers are next, courtesy of Yutaka san and … Continue readingCorn, Peaches, and Sunsets
That’s Youji. Musician, rice farmer. He studied jazz some years back, living in the tightly packed alleys of a Tokyo neighborhood. At some point he and his wife, Naho (city girl who he met in one such tightly packed alley) moved to the countryside of … Continue readingSmall Town Udon on Shikoku
In a rush, I got on the wrong train and happily rode an hour and ten minutes in the opposite direction of where I was supposed to be going. Fortunately, my schedule was a bit flexible, and even more fortunately, it was a most beautiful … Continue readingA Mountain Rail Tour in the Wrong Direction
It is absolutely absurd to think of what our food goes through before it gets put into our stomachs… the first thing, the most important thing for a farmer, is to make healthy plants and healthy people. … Continue readingThe Maddening Simplicity of Good Food
In Kyoto tonight and it’s been a long few weeks of filming and travel for The Final Straw with little internet time so this next post will come in two installments! Last week, I was able to spend a great few days on farms outside … Continue readingJapanese CSA Pioneers, and a Farming Trio
Yesterday was a pretty darned happy day for us here in Korea. In April of last year, we first visited with the leading natural farmer in Korea, Mr. Seonghyun Choi (최성현), and at the same time, we took our cameras to a relatively new farmer, Mr. … Continue readingConnecting Two Farmers in South Korea
In our second visit to Kawaguchi’s home farm — the first was in May of this year — we enjoyed tea and a more informal chat than on our previous visit. Lately, Kawaguchi-san has spent his mornings working on finishing a book, and although he has … Continue readingYoshikazu Kawaguchi’s Natural Farm
It’s been a busy month or so… to catch everyone up, I’ve started a unique MFA program at the University of Edinburgh called “Art, Space & Nature” which works between the disciplines of art, architecture, and ecology. It’s a good match for the natural farming … Continue readingHarvesting Rice by Hand in Korea
When my dear friend Kyoko heard the words from my mouth that I loved Tonkatsu, she knew exactly where to take me after work. If you have a hankering for Tonkatsu (Japanese fried pork cutlet), most restaurants in Tokyo will serve up a fine plate … Continue readingThree Generations of Pork Cutlet Chefs
We had our first meeting with a Japanese natural farmer today, and it was an amazing one. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi has written several books and is a “natural farming” icon in Japan. Today, he invited us to his home near Nara, Japan, where we talked over … Continue readingYoshikazu Kawaguchi – Day 1
We visited the “Blues Guesthouse” in the Segeomjeong neighborhood of Seoul a few days back after hearing about a rooftop vegetable garden they are starting. It’s very early spring here, so the plants are just starting to come up, but it was nice to have … Continue readingFancy Breakfast from a Rooftop Garden?
Just returned to Seoul this afternoon from a beautiful mountainside farm in Hongcheon, a few hours outside of Seoul (by train and bus). The owner of the farm, Gaeguri, is not only a natural farmer, but an author on the topic as well. He was also one … Continue readingOur First Farm Visit in Korea
This morning offered a good opportunity to capture a bit of early-morning Seoul, but not for long. It’s been all rain and wind since 10am or so. Not necessarily a bad thing as I’ve been doing some reading and planning for our farm stays. Tomorrow … Continue readingLate Night Dubokki
The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity, mostly centered around planning out this trip to Korea and Japan for the Final Straw project, but other highlights were: Lunch meeting with San Jose Director of Transportation, Hans Larsen (article coming to sociecity shortly, … Continue readingFinal Straw: The Future of Food Begins
Four years in the making, the documentary film Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness, has been screened in over 200 cities around the world, at film festivals, by global NPOs, community groups, and in academic settings. The film is also part of the Global Environmental Justice … Continue readingFinal Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness
I was in San Francisco earlier this week visiting SFAI and happened to catch the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market as they were just setting up (aka, the perfect time because no one is there). I scored some amaaazing organic Asian pears. I mean, amazing. Wow. … Continue readingAsian Pears and Rice