[Fellow Interview] Amanda Rogers on an eco-conscious lifestyle

Posted on November 7, 2018 by Awaji Youth Federation | Agriculture & Food, Awaji, Interview
In Awaji you have all these small farms located next door. Here food is brought to you on a personal level either through connections or local markets.

  • Category: #Interview #Awaji #Agricultural & food
  • Interview date: August 23rd, 2018
  • Writer: Valentin Defossez

From the USA’s sunshine state of California, Amanda was raised in a Japanese-American family. From a very young age, she established a deep connection with the Earth. As Amanda grew up and studied landscape architecture, she became knowledgeable about urban ecology and applied it in her professional endeavors. Now, within AMAMI Team, she aims at developing the model of a regenerative lifestyle on Awaji Island.

What made you realize our modern consumption habits should be changed?

Several factors influenced me to follow the path I am following: the environment in which I was raised, my studies, and my own curiosity and interests. I first heard about climate change during high school. Since then, I continued learning more about Earth sciences, and as a landscape designer, I implement conscious solutions in my everyday life, studies and work.

At your previous employer, how did you create a positive influence on people’s lifestyles? As part of the Amami Team, how are you achieving this in Awaji?

Our vision at Earth Steward Ecology was to connect people to their immediate environment by establishing relationships with the plant communities in their own backyard. These spaces would hold maximum biodiversity and support the household by providing organic medicinal plants, food, and wildlife habitat. These lifestyle habits of caring for the environment lead people to become stewards of the Earth beyond their own backyard.

Within Amami, we have extended on the Earth Steward philosophy by creating gardens surrounding Manabi no Sato to create this ecologically conscious environment. Our Chef and Fellows utilize the harvested produce, working towards a self-sufficient lifestyle.

Changing people’s lifestyle habits and raising awareness of the environment in daily life activities is a difficult task. How do you think AYF can change this on a wider scale?

AYF can make a difference through education and spreading awareness. Once people are knowledgeable, they can take small steps forward down the path of a regenerative lifestyle, using eco-safe products, consuming local, organic food, recycling materials, and utilizing renewable resources. To start, some great documentaries include Inhabit,Cowspiracy, More Than Honey, Rotten, andBefore the Flood.

Being quite conscious about the environment and what you eat, as to become vegan, what message would you like to convey to our readers regarding the importance of changing our habits?

In general, always know where your food comes from. How was the food grown and processed? What are the environmental and demographic impacts?

Overall, consumers have the highest power towards suppressing climate change. As consumers, every single dollar spent is a vote towards the health of our planet.  By analyzing our current habits and making conscious decisions, everybody can have a positive impact on the planet and climate change.

What have you learnt through the AYF program?

You cannot learn everything from a book and then apply it your whole life. In that regard you have to learn from the site and then you can create a food system that respects this specific environment. Being in Awaji, I have learnt about its land, fauna and flora and cultivated plants accordingly. When it comes to actual on-site knowledge I think it is very important to share it as it is unique and valuable. Indeed, by growing my own food and learning out of it, I could come up with new ideas and confront them with local farmers to discuss solutions based on my actual knowledge.

To give you another concrete example, I have learnt about the different kinds of pest that populate the area and how to repel them in an organic way using other plants. By planting specific plants, you will also attract some other insects that will get rid of pests such as ladybugs.

In the USA the food production is mainly located in the center and most inhabited regions are depending on it regardless of how far they can be from the center. The food there is based on a land that is not fertile anymore and it is filled with pesticide and so on.
On the other hand, in Awaji you have all these small farms located next door. Here food is brought to you on a personal level either through connections or local markets. The source is more reliable, and people are more conscious about food. I have got the feeling that the community can support itself food-wise.

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