• The Plant-Based Project

The Plant-Based Project

Updated: Oct 6

The University of Tokyo | Japan

 

Team members: Vedant Agrawal, Maika Itadani, and Swetha Soundararajan.


Hi! We are Plant-based project from the University of Tokyo in Japan. The three members are all around the age of 20 and study a variety of things, belonging to the graduate school of Arts and Sciences. Swetha is majoring in Environmental Science and is keenly exploring the world of plant-based food and its positive environmental impact. Vedant is also majoring in Environmental Sciences. He became Vegan a year ago due to environmental, animal welfare, and health reasons. He hopes to help people realize the benefits of a vegan lifestyle! And Maika is going to major in education. She currently puts her heart into creating plant-based menu recipes.

 

Report 1: June 2022


What has our project achieved so far?

  1. We held the second monthly workshop, hosting a guest from the Animal Rights Center.

  2. We proposed a set of questions for a university-wide survey, which would be delivered to campus members through the university's official digital system.

  • Have you tried the plant-based menu in the school cafeteria?

  • For those who tried it, how did it taste?

  • What do you prioritize when choosing what to eat in the school cafeteria (novelty, volume, price, waiting time, etc.)?

  • Are you interested in an eco-friendly diet?

  • Would you like to eat a plant-based menu (dishes without real meat and dairy products but similar foods replaced with plant-derived ingredients) in the school cafeteria?

  • Would you like to know more about plant-based menus?

3. We sent a light message to the cafeteria


4. We have invited the Product Development Manager of MOS FOOD SERVICES as the next guest for our monthly workshop.


5. We have decided to be involved in event planning on campus this summer with VegeProject Japan, the Vegan certification NPO


Our progress


Workshop

  • So far, we've had two successful sessions

  • On-campus

  • Re-contacted the Komaba cafeteria

  • Since this spring, we haven't had close communication, partly because of the transfer of the person-in-charge

  • Off-campus

  • Had the opportunity to work with the MOS FOOD SERVICES introduced by the Otsuka Foods

  • Resumed contact and planned future collaboration with VegeProject Japan

Obstacles

  • We need a more effective way to publicize an event

  • Currently, we have very low participation. We want to increase the number of workshop participants

  • Some people hesitate to take part in a meeting with a serious atmosphere

  • But, surely, some are eager to know more about the problem

  • What kind of design or message would be helpful for us to make our event more attractive?

How did we solve these issues?

  • Posters

  • Using pictures

  • What kinds of applications do you use to make posters to publicize?

  • Instagram

  • We are considering creating an Instagram account for our project but haven't because it could take a lot of work to operate.

  • Use of Twitter account


Next steps

  • Have more people come to our workshop

  • Devise a way to improve our public relations

  • Hold a meeting with the campus cafeteria

  • They have some Vegan menus now, which are more expensive than non-Vegan ones, and the variety of menus is scarce.

  • We can start something the students can do, for example, making a menu popularity vote, conducting an interview with a Vegan chef or the cafeteria manager, and publicizing it.

 

Report 2: July 2022


What has our project achieved so far

  1. We held the third monthly workshop, hosting a guest from MOS FOOD SERVICES.

  2. We have connected to the school cafeteria.

  3. We have meetings and made a Slack channel with VegeProject Japan, the Vegan certification NPO.

  4. At the College Summit for Peace at The University of Tokyo 2022, we introduced our project, vision, and some issue we have.

Here are some of the slides we presented.





Our progress


● Workshop

○ We've had three successful sessions so far

○ We have got the most participants

● On campus

○ Re-contacted the Komaba cafeteria over the phone

○ Komba cafeteria has expanded its variety on the vegan menu

● Off-campus

○ Some members will visit the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo during the summer with an introduction from Otsuka-Syokuhin staff.


Obstacles


● We are mainly using our individual Instagram accounts. For this reason, we are considering if we should make an official one for the next period to protect our personal information.


How did we solve these issues?


● Posters

○ Using pictures

○ Thinking about what kinds of applications you use to make posters to publicize?

● Considering if we should start an official Instagram or Twitter account.


Next steps


● Make the SNS account

● Hold a meeting with campus cafeteria management

○ Ask for lower prices and more vegan menu options

○ Making a menu popularity vote

○ Interview a Vegan chef or the cafeteria manager and publicize it

● Prepare for the visit to the embassy by learning about

○ Finland policy

○ The relationship between our community and theirs

○ Their progress in or out of Finland

○ How Finnish are thinking about and introducing Vegan style

 

Report 3: August 2022


What our project has achieved so far


● Visited the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo, Trade Section

○ Two student members, a Trade Section Senior Advisor, and a manager of a prominent Japanese food and beverage company were in attendance during the meeting.

○ We outlined our activities as Plant-based many PJ at UTokyo Sustainable Network

○ Talk about Finland's metropolis, Helsinki, which has banned beef from being served in public

○ Japanese Food and Beverage Services' strong points are recognized. e. Finnish Food and Beverage Services' strong points are also interesting, one of which is Finland companies that contribute to plant-based style.


● Planning an event on campus with VegeProject Japan

○ We are holding a weekly meeting with three student members and one internship member now

○ We will have a Zoom meeting with university staff in a few days and decide more in detail.

 

Report 4: September 2022


Unfortunately, our project has had no progress this month due to vacations. t was difficult to meet due to the different time zones of each group member. WhWhilethis is the case, we also see it as a learning opportunity to work on our scheduling collectively as a group.

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