This article was originally published on April 7, 2012.
Designer Masaya Kushino’s imaginative shoes usually sport wild, Dada-esque heels. He’s adorned them with horns, fake ponytails, peacock feathers and ornate gold framing. So it wasn’t a big stretch to add a component for distributing seeds.
Fukushima remains contaminated with nuclear waste following the earthquake and tsunami that struck the power plant there early last year. Sputniko visited temporary housing there a number of times and learned about efforts to plant rapeseed in the region.
These radionucleotides are stored in the blossoms’ stalks and seed coats, but not in the seeds themselves- which is fortunate because the seeds can be turned into Canola oil, the most popular source for bio-diesel.
This discovery led, in the 2000s, to the planting of rapeseeds by the Ukraine and Belarus governments in over 50,000 hectares of Chernobyl-affected land, in a move to revive the area’s agriculture industry which had been wiped out by the 1986 nuclear accident.