CALM TALK 07 Sustainability is beyond "for someone else"|Lisa Bayne (Model)

Model Lisa Bayne was inspired to connect urban and rural areas by rethinking the fundamentals of food.

  • Photograph:MOMOKA OMOTE

After exiting the Chuo Expressway at the Sudama IC, the road climbs up through the valley toward Mt. As you follow the mountain road with its continuous curves, the scenery around you changes to that of the old countryside, as if you have gone back in time. After crossing Lake Mizugaki, which quietly reflects the mountain, you will arrive at the Hikage district. At an elevation of 1,000 meters and with a population of 30, the village is home to "0site," a complex that utilizes an old prewar elementary school annex.

Model Lisa Bayne recently began visiting the facility, which is run by a friend. The Corona experience inspired her to explore the essence of food, and she wanted to see where food is made.

Risa works as a model while attending art college, and has recently been actively communicating through the media. In the online media <NEUT>, she shares her feelings and discoveries through the fields in her series "FEEL FARM FIELD," based on the concept of "expanding the five senses through farming.

She says, "Corona was a big trigger for me. When the corona started, everyone was trying to find the culprit, or rather, where to place the blame and find the cause. Instead of blaming Asia or China because a virus was found in the meat market, I started thinking that if we dig deeper and get to the root of where the food in front of us came from, there would be no more cursing.

So, how can I face it? The first thing I did was to rethink my diet in order to live properly and confidently in the future. But I didn't know how to go about it from there. I tried veganism and growing tomatoes in my tiny garden.

Getting in touch with the soil deep in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture

It was a friend of mine, Kensei Furuyama, who approached me at that time. While traveling abroad for a while, he stayed at a kibbutz in Israel and was impressed by its way of life. He became connected with the village of Hikage in the Masutomi district of Sudama Town, Hokuto City, and with permission to use an abandoned school, he established "0site," which operates a campsite, event space, and farmland.

I started out online, talking about how I was thinking about these things and how I felt there was more to know about food. We kept talking about how society is connected through food. Then, Norimasa started an activity in Yamanashi Prefecture that focused on community building and self-sufficiency, and I decided I wanted to do something along those lines.

Risa started out by helping local farmers. At first, it took her three hours to harvest three rows of pods of peas. However, she realized many things after being exposed to the actual process of food production.

The farmer is a couple," he said. They are very energetic and manage a huge area by themselves. I was amazed at the farmer who thinks 24 hours a day, 365 days a year about dealing with living creatures. What we eat in three or four seconds, they spend months making. My first thought or feeling was, "What am I doing? I thought to myself, "If there are people who are putting so much thought into what they are doing, then I need to think more about eating properly, too.

As she interacted with local people in this way, Risa's interest gradually shifted from food itself to the relationship between the people who support food, the local area, the people who eat it, and the city.

I became very concerned about how far away the environment of this place is from the city center where I live. I should be more closely involved, and agriculture is the most rooted industry I need to know about, but I don't have too many connections. I began to question the fact that we can't see the connections.

From learning about eating rice, I began to think about the connections between people and the lack of connections between rural areas and cities, and the fact that there is so much that we don't know.

Both Risa and Norimasa are now taking a break from farming and have started to connect people in Yamanashi Prefecture and the city through events and media. They are planning to set up camping facilities at "0site" and hold events that will attract people from the city to visit. Keep an eye out for more information on the 0site website and SNS.

Through the illness, the future and society became my own.

Before Corona, there was another personal situation that led Risa to these activities.

In September 2018, I found out that I had cancer just as I was entering university, and I was pretty depressed because of it. I was exhausted both mentally and physically. I had been feeling empty inside for a few years, and then I got into Corona, and I was so full of myself. I wanted to enjoy myself, or live somehow, or get rid of the serious part of living somehow, so I felt that I was just living carefree.

However, I had always been willing to do research on what I wanted to know or what I wanted to do, or to go to the place where I wanted to do it. I decided to rethink this and say what I want to do and what I am thinking about without worrying about others.

With the current situation in Corona and other places where you don't know when you are going to die, I thought that if I am in a position where I can be more outspoken and communicate, I should be more aggressive in going to see people I want to see, doing what I want to do, knowing what I want to know, and saying what I want to say. That's why I started doing that again."

Risa says that until now it has been difficult for her to speak openly and confidently about her illness, but recently she wrote about it for the first time in her series.

She wrote about her illness for the first time in her series, "I didn't say so explicitly, but I wrote about it for the first time. People's reaction was not that they felt sorry for me, but on the contrary, they agreed with me. So Risa is thinking about it. I think everyone is now more aware of the meaning of life because of what I have told them.

Risa, who will graduate from university next year, plans to study abroad in Europe to deepen her interest in the relationship between food, agriculture, and people, as well as in creating artistic spaces. She recently toured France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, visiting local universities, museums, galleries, and farms.

I took a leave of absence from university and started working in a farm because of Corona, but I need to do more to convey these things to the world in the future. I started to think that I needed to study more myself, and I wanted to create an environment and place where I could learn through education and the process of growing up.

I want to be involved in agriculture and food, and I am currently studying art at university, but I would like to take the time to create opportunities to study agriculture in the future.

Sustainability goes beyond "for someone else.

Lastly, we asked Risa about "CALM TOP," which was born from the discarded clothes she wore this time, and her idea of sustainability.

Risa answered, "I try not to do anything for the purpose of being sustainable. If I had thought about sustainability, society, the environment, food, and my own body, I wouldn't be where I am today. That is what I really think.

I really like the idea that this project is not about making clothes for the sake of sustainability, but that sustainability exists as a result of making clothes in a better form for everyone. Rather than being conscious of being sustainable, I think that if sustainability exists beyond that for someone else, it will be the happiest thing for all of us.