By Rei Sasaki / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterKOBE — Mana Ogawa was selected in December 2017 as the leader of a Kobe University student group involved in the “Table For Two” initiative (see below), in which a portion of healthy food sales are used to provide meals to people in developing countries.
Ogawa, a 20-year-old second-year student at the university, and the 12 other members of the TFT Kobe University Project student group, develop their own recipes and have them added to the menu of a cafeteria run by the university cooperative for a limited period twice a year.
The group also calls on restaurants in Kobe to cooperate with TFT initiatives.
In her junior high and high school days, Ogawa was a member of the track-and-field club. She became interested in nutrition while researching foods that would help her win races. At university, she chose the agriculture faculty to study food.
Ogawa decided to join the TFT Kobe University Project because she wanted to see recipes she created appear in the cafeteria menu.
In the autumn of her first year at the university, she proposed seven recipes and her “pumpkin and sweet potato simmered in cream” was adopted in the menu. Ogawa found that rewarding, but her dedication to the ideals behind TFT has grown and she said her main focus is no longer about just having her ideas adopted in menus.
Growing veggies, fruit
Nearly 1 billion people worldwide are believed to be struggling with hunger. A donation of ¥20 provides a meal in a developing country.
When she sees pictures of children eating meals purchased with donations, “I feel like I want to deliver as much as possible,” Ogawa said.
When the group’s meals were being served in the cafeteria last autumn, the group members went around the cafeteria holding large posters and spreading the word. They ended up selling a record high of about 10,000 meals.
“We want to make TFT better known through activities like holding joint events with other universities’ groups,” Ogawa said.
She is studying methods for cultivating vegetables and fruits, including practical training at a farm. “The vegetables I grow myself are so delicious,” she said.
In the future, Ogawa wants to work with a beverage maker to create a vegetable juice that includes a TFT donation.
“A product that you drink for your health fits perfectly with the ideals of TFT. I want to contribute to society at work as well, by making a delicious juice that many people will want to buy,” she said.
■ Table For Two
A portion of sales of healthy food in developed countries, which have a high prevalence of lifestyle diseases, is used to purchase food for hungry people in developing countries. The original meaning of the name is two people sharing a meal together. The concept began in Japan in 2007. Currently about 700 companies and groups in Japan and abroad take part in TFT initiatives.Speech