Contributed by Karly Burch

On June 1, 2014, I found myself sitting before a Bhutanese royal princess, thoroughly enjoying my serving of suja (butter tea) and dresi (sweet saffron rice). In that moment, I was surrounded by the new friends I had made at the Pre-Conference Workshop and a diverse array of ISE Congress participants, all with our spirits high, sinking into this once in a lifetime experience in Bhutan.

I had found my way to the ISE Congress through a network of inspirational colleagues from the Global Environments Summer Academy. Upon hearing about the 2014 Congress, I checked the call for papers to see if my research interests fit within the Congress themes. An agroecologist by training, my MSc fieldwork took place in the Kansai region of Japan where I explored people’s perceptions and behaviors related to food safety following the onset of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FD1-NPP) disaster in March 2011.

I was pleased that my participation in the ISE poster exhibition gave me the chance to examine my research topic from the angle of bio-cultural diversity. Through my poster, I used the data collected in my MSc research to see whether concerned citizen’s behaviors and perceptions of food safety could be used as a way to explore the FD1-NPP disaster’s possible impacts on bio-cultural diversity.

Ultimately, I feel extremely honored and grateful that the voices of the concerned citizens surveyed in my research were heard by congress participants, and that the exploration of this often taboo topic was granted an award in the poster competition. With plans to continue focusing on this issue through my PhD studies, I hope to engage further with the ISE and its members in finding ways to protect the integrity of our food systems (and all of the bio-cultural diversity connected to these systems) for present and future generations.

See her poster here: Poster_Karly Burch