Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all,” according to the United Nations which set the goals in 2015 with the intention of achieving them by 2030.

Kochi Prefecture has several SDG projects which we would like to introduce in this and upcoming newsletters.

No matter where you are in Kochi prefecture, the abundance of nature is unmistakable. In fact, 84% of Kochi is covered by forests, which is higher than any other area in Japan. Local people have co-existed with nature and developed their own lifestyle while maintaining an equilibrium with nature for generations. Even before the creation of SDGs by the UN, the people of Kochi were working to protect the environment and ensure its people lived a prosperous life in harmony with the earth. The first of Kochi’s SDGs that we’d like to introduce is the Honesty Box.

The Honesty Box concept is not new, in fact, it’s been around for decades in rural areas all over the world and Japan. Honesty Box stalls in Japan usually sell home-grown fruits, vegetables and sometimes flowers. However, in recent years Honesty Box stalls have been on the decline due and increase in online shopping sites and unfortunately a rise in dishonest people who choose to take the produce without paying for it. However, in Kochi Prefecture, you might be surprised to still find quite a few Honesty Box stalls even in Kochi City itself. Just a short walk down a narrow path or sideroad may be all that’s required to encounter a variety of stalls.

Kochi farmers still use the stalls to sell some of their produce and rely on the honesty of people to keep the system going. There is also a level of respect for the effort that the suppliers/producers put into making their products.

The Honesty Box also provides a further opportunity for local farmers or suppliers to sell produce that could not be sold to regular markets due to imperfections in shape, size or colour. This is a win-win situation for farmers, locals, and the environment as it allows locals to buy good quality, locally grown produce at an affordable price and save on waste at the same time. When we also consider that Honesty Box stalls save on transportation “Food mile” costs and CO2 emissions, the environment is once again the winner.

Like many regional/rural/country areas around the world, there was a time when honesty was something that was assumed and taken for granted but times have changed. Kochi used to have a tin can full of coins for people who needed change but that kind of local service no longer exists as the temptation to just steal the entire tin became too much for some. However, the people of Kochi hope that the continued use of Honesty Box stalls will encourage people to remember those old values and instil them in future generations.

Talk to our consultants at Japan Holidays to find out the locations of the best value Honesty Box stalls!