Japan’s distribution system today does not distribute agricultural produce that fail to meet shipping standards, like size or shape. Amounts allowed for shipment may also be limited during a good harvest to prevent falling prices. Such non-standard and unsold produce become food loss, now a matter of public concern. Thus, a renewed focus was placed on roadside vegetable stands and a mechanism to promote distribution of cheap, fresh produce by supporting direct sales from farmer to consumer, to prevent food loss and revitalize local economies.
Lined with agricultural products like fruits and vegetables harvested by farmers and put up for sale, roadside vegetable stands are usually found unattended on roads running through farmland and areas with abundant agriculture. Farmers employ the honor system, trusting customers to drop their payment into an honesty box in exchange for their selected produce. Direct sales mean the produce is often priced low and customers can purchase freshly harvested regional specialties. The roadside vegetable stand in question was designed to be as affordable and customizable as possible. The stand kit is delivered in a folded state and can be assembled by one person without any special tools in approximately 10 minutes.In addition to space at the bottom for stabilizing weights, blocks, or sandbags, the vegetable stand comes equipped with adjustable feet for installation on uneven surfaces in various environments. The number and position of shelves are also easily changed to suit the items for sale, making the use of buckets for flowers or long vegetables, slanted shelves, and hooks a simple affair. The steep slope of the roof keeps snow and fallen leaves from accumulating and in the summer months serves as a sort of chimney, allowing the heat inside to be vented out. The optional outdoor LED strip lighting can be installed under the shelves to illuminate products during winter with shorter daytime hours. Additionally, the matching honesty box is designed to enable QR code payment. After hours, the standing chalkboard sign becomes a door, literally closing up shop.Because the vegetable stand takes only 10 minutes to disassemble, it can be temporarily removed and folded in storage during storms and windy weather.
While there are four color variations for the exterior, the design assumes each vegetable stand will be customized to the user’s liking with paint and more, varying by regional characteristics. The main structure comes in three sizes: S, M, and L. Matching dustbins have also been designed, each bin sized to modular dimensions so they can be used in varying combinations. The medium (M) is designed with components and parts found at ordinary hardware stores in mind, and the online availability of diagrams and assembly guides is being considered, so in the future anyone can readily download the specifications, purchase necessary parts, and assemble their own stands, thereby giving more possibilities to the project itself.