The SDGs Mitsui’s Gottzo Project, launched in May 2019, has been conducting field learning programmes around Mii town, Wajima City. On the 26th of November, the 7th event in the series was a roundup of learning about international food issues, tasting food from various countries, and desalinating “Warabi no Shiozuke” (salted warabi) which were made in the spring.
First, Ms. Tomita from UNU OUIK talked about the food issues that the world is facing from the perspective of the SDGs. In response to the question “In the 17 SDGs, which one is related to food?”, students answered “There is a food mark (Zero Hunger), but what is hunger?” “Goal 14 (Life Below Water) or 15 (Life on Land)” “We eat fish so Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation)” “We drink water, and use it for agriculture too” “Goal 16 (Climate Action) is also related“. Students seemed to deepen their understanding of the SDGs by linking goals and problems.
Next, we focused on the “hunger issue”, one that we don’t often hear living in Japan. We checked the UN WFP hunger map and had a discussion. Currently, there are 812 million people on the planet, and about 1 in 9 people are “undernourished”. “Eliminating Hunger,” which is Goal 2 of the SDGs, is often seen as a problem specific to developing countries. However, climate change and the economic activities of developed countries contribute to the hunger issues. We who live in developed countries should take this matter seriously. We also looked at food loss issues and future agriculture as related topics.
Next, we looked into “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats – In Pictures” by Peter Menzel and discussed what students noticed. There seem to be many foods that they had never seen before, with different types and amounts of food, as well as diverse family atmospheres depending on the country and region. Ingredients on our table may seem strange to the people living in other parts of the world.
Ms. Hagino taught us how to desalinate “Warabi no Shiozuke” in a traditional way using a bronze pot so that the vegetable’s colour stays as it is. It is interesting to find the chemistry hidden in everyday life.
At the end of the class, it was time to taste some international food. Mr. Suzuki cooked a dish called “Toh” which he often ate in Burkina Faso, OUIK’s intern Felix cooked “Rosti” from Switzerland, and Ms. Tomita prepared toast with Vegemite, which is very popular and often eaten as breakfast in the UK or Australia. They seemed to enjoy most of the food they had, except for the Vegemite toast. It was probably a bit too salty and bitter for elementary school students.
Ms. Hagino commented “The food is very diverse. In modern days, you can eat dishes from various regions wherever you are. But please don’t forget the taste of the local treats you grew up with.”