Ayako Kawai

MEnv(Res), Bachelor of Sociology (Hitotsubashi University, Japan)
PhD Student

Ayako is a Japanese PhD candidate at The Australian National University (ANU).  Her research focuses on sustainable food systems, particularly exploring local food culture and its relation to biodiversity and well-being of the local community. Ayako received a degree of Bachelor of Sociology at the Hitotsubashi University (Japan) in 2005, and completed a Master of Environment (Research) with a Human Ecology major at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society in 2014. Her dissertation focused on community gardeners’ values and behaviour toward sustainable food consumption, with a cross-country comparison between Australia (Canberra) and Japan (Tokyo).

Before starting her PhD programme, Ayako worked at the International Satoyama Initiative under the UNU-IAS (United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability), which promotes societies living in harmony with nature. Ayako has also worked for about 7 years at a Japanese private railway company in Tokyo.

Research interests

Thesis title

Exploring linkages between local food culture, biodiversity and well-being of the local community

Thesis description

This PhD thesis explores how the cultural practices of collection, production and preparation of food link to biodiversity and human well-being. The assumption is that the promotion of local food culture can help prevent a trend towards the homogenization of food systems, and can contribute to biodiversity conservation as well as well-being of the local community.