A small vegetable stand is located next to a field, but the seller at this stand is nowhere to be seen. All you can find is a box with a little sign, which reads “please put money in this box”. A few minutes later, some customers appear, and take some vegetables from the stand, and leave after depositing their money.
Such vegetable stands can’t continue without trust between the customer and the farmer. Whether the customers pay or not depends entirely on them, and in reality, some do sometimes take vegetables without paying. However, farmers do not actually care much about this theft, as they do not sell vegetables to make profit, but instead as a service to their community.
Despite this, the vegetables sold are high quality. This is because the farmers sell vegetables just after the harvesting them from farms, and this makes it possible for the customers to taste the flavor of the vegetables.
Nerima Ward, which has the most farmland of the 23 wards in Tokyo, has more than one hundred vegetable stands and wholesales. The company Machiiro, lists these stores on their website ‘Nerima Vegetable Stand Map’. Mr. Kenichi Hasuda, the chief executive officer of Machiiro, visits the farmers in Nerima Ward and introduces his website to them. “It’s better if everybody can see the faces of the farmers,” he said. He aims at showing the faces and personalities of the farmers so that everybody can feel close to them.
Previously Mr. Hasuda worked at an IT company. However, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, he quit his job and took over his parents’ company. Although he wasn’t sure what he wanted to, he knew he wanted to do something related to Nerima Ward. One day, his wife suggested to him that he should focus on vegetable stands, which are unique in Japan, which led to him starting and managing the ‘Nerima Vegetable Stand Map’.
The ‘Nerima Vegetable Stand Map’ led to the start of another idea, which is to carry out a barbecue social by using the vegetables harvested in Nerima Ward. This idea is still being planned, but Mr. Hasuda claims that it will be a big event: Lots of farmers, vegetable sellers, and residents will gather and form bonds and friendship. “Nerima Vegetable Stand Map” plays an important role in connecting people in the community.
Mr. Hasuda wants to create an attractive town where people are connected by agriculture. He finally added at the end of the interview that “I think it’s wonderful if people can like their local communities.”
Written by Gengo Miura
Edited by Arito Otomo