MUJI SHINJUKU Advocates for Social Farming Through Community Markets
On July 23 and 24, MUJI SHINJUKU invited two vendors involved in social farming to open stalls. Social farming is an initiative for people with disabilities to participate in society through agriculture led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. It aims to create opportunities for people with disabilities to work and find fulfillment in life while securing workforce for the agricultural sector, which is facing a shortage of human capital and aging population.
Community Markets (“Tsunagaru-ichi” in Japanese) are held within MUJI stores where locals open stalls in order to provide an opportunity for people to make new connections, and for MUJI to learn more about local businesses and encourage future visits from the locals.
●MUJI SHINJUKU Tackles Environmental and Social Issues Through Community Markets
MUJI SHINJUKU has been on a mission to help the community and promotes various initiatives that contribute to solving environmental and social issues, such as installing recycling stations and repairing broken potteries into a lacquerware known as “Kintsugi”. As one of the initiatives, MUJI SHINJUKU invited Shinjuku Social Welfare Conference (Shinjuku Shakyo) to participate in the Community Markets on several occasions.
Through Shinjuku Shakyo and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries who supports social farming, MUJI SHINJUKU became acquainted with Japan Agriculture-Welfare Collaboration Association. Yamamoto Seiichi who oversees community development at MUJI SHINJUKU invited them to participate in Community Markets to help promote their cause.
NPO Tokyo Soteria opened a stall to sell granola, while Social Welfare Corporation Tsuchibokai Pia Miyashiki sold sesame oil, chili oil, rye straws among other things, all made by people with disabilities. Mint and other herbs grown with care by people with disabilities were also for sale, attracting customers.
"The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will continue to strengthen the cooperation of agricultural and welfare”, said Inoue from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries who attended the Community Market.
"I would like to thank MUJI SHINJUKU for supporting us from preparation to sales. We look forward to further collaboration between MUJI SHINJUKU and businesses in the Agriculture and Social Welfare space”, said Nakaya from the Japan Agriculture-Welfare Collaboration Association.
●Comments from Yamamoto Seiichi from MUJI SHINJUKU in charge of Community Development
“We visited the facilities of the two participating businesses and learned that they enable farmers and welfare facilities to work together to address various issues such as food waste and recycling. We actively communicated with our customers visiting the Community Market on Agriculture and Social Welfare and felt rewarded when stallholders said they had a great time and saw customers shopping with smiles.”
“We are also planning to sell upcycled items that could still be of use from all over Japan at our Community Markets to help with environmental and social issues even further.”