Due to an increase in extreme weather conditions, 40% of Japan’s harvested vegetables are being wasted, and it is a serious issue. Inspired by the Japanese traditional culture concept of “Mottainai,” a Japanese term conveying a sense of regret concerning waste, Japanese start-up My Farm, Inc., has partnered with Panasonic Corp. to find a solution and turn the discarded vegetables into something useful: new vegetables.
At ROOSTERGNN, we are preparing for an upcoming trip to Japan and spoke to Ms. Mariko Kita, a PR representative of the company, about their new product Vegeloop. Those unfamiliar with the term “Mottainai” will discover that the Japanese tradition of origami has certainly influenced this iniative as well.
How exactly does Vegeloop work?
Mariko Kita: We make the compost from wasted vegetables with a composter, and wrap them up in their own seeds. So each package is created from each wasted vegetable. A user plants it into the soil and waters it.
Each cultivation kit is packed in special water-soluble paper printed in soy ink, which is harmless to nature, and quickly dissolves, allowing the vegetable to grow from it.
Vegeloop could decrease the amount of wasted vegetables by converting them into compost and can also be used as educational tool for kids to learn about agriculture, waste and extreme weather.
Trailer above in Japanese, with English subtitles, be sure to activate your subtitles on Youtube to view them
Does it work for all vegetables?
Yes, it would be applicable for all the vegetables that grow from seeds.
Can anyone use it?
The growing kit is very easy to use and it’s meant for all people, from those who are interested in growing vegetables at home, to those who have shared gardens.
What benefits will farmers have from this initiative?
We provided Vegeloop at farmer’s market to fundraise donations. The amount is still small but it increases awareness about wasted vegetables. Also, it brings the whole agricultural process closer to the actual customers.
Will you be selling Vegeloop in other countries beyond Japan?
Legally we are not able to export compost to the other countries. However, we could export the concept and package. Also, the composter by Panasonic is for home-use. So basically everyone can make their own Vegeloop with this idea. We hope this project will expand globally in the future.