Pei-Ru Ko


Name: Pei-Ru Ko
Object: Taiwanese Rice Cooker
Changemaking at: Real Food Real Stories

Portrait by:  Brenton Gieser

Portrait by: Brenton Gieser

Audio Transcript: Feeding myself was the only thing that gave me a sense of agency when I was faced with an autoimmune disease.  Everything else is someone else doing something to me, but what I put in my body was up to me.

My name is Pei-Ru Ko. I'm the founder and director of Real Food Real Stories, a nonprofit dedicated to humanizing our food system and inspiring cultural and social change.

I brought a rice cooker that I grew up using and almost all families in Taiwan, where I'm from, use it as well. You use it to cook rice, you use it to steam up your lunch, you use it to make custard egg, you use it for everything.

When I was little, it didn't really have much significance to me, its always around, whichever house house you go to, there’s one, so you know how to operate it. But it didn't mean anything to me. When I moved to the states, in 2010, that was the one thing I decided that I was going to purchase of my own and bring from Taiwan so I can cook my own meals, to be a part of my own healing process.

Seeing food as healing for our physical bodies was my beginning, and now I see food as healing for just about everything that touches our lives. Food is political. Food is social justice. Food is empowerment. Food is a solution to climate change. At Real Food Real Stories we celebrate and amplify those stories and the people behind them.