Exploring the Japanese countryside, and even suburban areas of major cities, you might come across produce stands stocked with fruits, vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. With a price list and just a small box to drop money, these stands are literally built on trust and are a symbol of tight-knit community. And as Japan’s distribution systems become more and more advanced, these stands, known as mujin hanbaijo, are being increasingly seen as a solution to cutting food loss, as well as means of delivering fresh and local produce to the community.
“Japan’s distribution system today does not distribute agricultural produce that fail to meet shipping standards, like size or shape,” says Tokyo-based design agency Nendo. This results in large amounts of food loss all around the country. But now, a confluence of ideas around sustainability, fresh foods and local produce have created a renewed interest in roadside vegetable stands,[…]