After the great Tohoku earthquake on March 11th, large quantities of vegetable seeds were left unsold due to environmental issues regarding farmlands or the simple decline of sales.
"Seeds" is a project in which a group of five volunteers from various design-related fields have created stylish packaging and established a marketing campaign to recirculate the unsold seeds on the market. Utilizing their skills and knowledge in editing, manufacturing, and the distribution process, Hirofumi Akimoto, Daisuke Kiyono, Yui Takada, Kentaro Tamai and Tomoshige Fukaura took the opportunity to propose new, organic designs for promoting the seeds.
Through the use of a Google Maps tracker for showing the planting locations of the seeds, the project also aims to reconstruct the relationships between the consumers and the suffering farms. Profits will be donated to the affected farms hoping that this will accelerate reconstruction. From a one hand to another, from a person to another- from these activities, stronger relationships will sprout like flowers.
The seeds sourced for the project came from the village of Ten'ei, in the Iwase district of Fukushima, Japan, before the nuclear incident on 3.11, and thus have not been exposed to any radiation. The village of Ten'ei currently has a population of around 8,000. However, according to some of the designers, the town has consistently been facing a gradual population decline due to migration to the cities of 10 people per month. Following the March 11th disaster, the population decline has become much more rapid.
The design of the seeds and packages is well thought out. The seeds themselves are wrapped in the planting instruction manual, printed on tracing paper, folded into a small triangle and slipped into a triangular flag. Finally, the flag is stapled to a small stick, and that is then marketed sticking up from tiny foam display stands. Once the seeds are taken out and planted, the flag pole than be stuck into the soil next to the seeds to give an indication of what is planted.
Each color flag of "seed 01," the Rape seeds, is sold for 300¥, with the full five color set available for 1500¥. 50% of the proceeds go directly to the seed farmers in Ten'ei village, and the rest is used to cover the cost of the seeds, printing and materials. This is an innovative project to support small communities in Fukushima, and is certainly worth supporting.
Special thanks to Kai Mitsushio of doq creative port™, for coordinating coverage for Design Tide Tokyo and Tokyo Designers Week. doq creative port™ is a website focused on being the bridge between the unique TAKUMI creative culture of Japan and the world.
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