To Show Fukushima Crops are Safe, An Agency Made a Book Out of Rice Paper Grown There

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  • To Show Fukushima Crops are Safe, An Agency Made a Book Out of Rice Paper Grown There

In 2011, Japan was rocked by a nuclear disaster as its Fukushima Daiichi plant. The country was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, which caused a dangerous radiation leak at the nuclear plant—contaminating about 100 square miles of farmland in one of Japan’s most important agricultural regions.

Nine years on, scientists in the region are fighting to show that crops from decontaminated land are safe to eat. Agency Serviceplan in Germany has even created a book made from rice straw paper from crops grown in the region in order to help show people that products grown on decontaminated land are safe.

To make the beautifully crafted book, rice straw was harvested, dried, cleaned, cut and crafted into paper. It was sent to selected key science, agriculture and food production decision makers, with aims to change opinions about the region.

The book presents data that the agency said shows the crops as safe and features images of people from the region, in a bid to humanize their situation and bring the scientific data to life in an easily digestible way.

The work for Meter Group–a US-German manufacturer of sensors used in agriculture and environmental science—aims to “reinstate trust in the agricultural industry in Fukushima,” the agency said. Following the 2011 nuclear disaster, Meter Group has worked with the University of Tokyo to devise a way of decontaminating the farmland.

However, the book’s creators say, consumers and buyers continue to shun the produce, concerned about contamination.

“The researchers identified the problem that no one really understands the depth of the data and the effectiveness of their work,” said Alexander Schill, global CCO of Serviceplan. “We turned this abstract data into something that’s visually appealing but also easy to understand.”

A limited number of the books are being sold in select stores, with proceeds going to the affected region. Serviceplan Solutions worked with Moby Digg on the design and Nick Frank on the photography.

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