Herbman's entire body is covered with herbs. He travels around the world, using his café to teach people the effects of the herbs growing on his body.
Herbman keeps traveling, striving for a world where people and the environment are healthy, and children can play freely and happily.
M H C P（エム・エイチ・シー・ピー）
Medical Herbman Cafe Project（メディカルハーブマンカフェプロジェクト）=MHCPは様々な地をサーカスのように移動しながら、各地で展開していくプロジェクトです。滞在地にハーブマンという人型の畑をつくり、それを介した体験により人と自然のあり方を届ける。ランドスケープデザインスタジオ EARTHSCAPE が取り組むデザインを通じた環境プロジェクトであり、荷物が全部つまったコンテナと一緒に、ハーブマンが世界中を旅しながら続いていくプロジェクト。ハーブマンは様々な場所で、多様な人々と出会い、知恵を貯え、強いハーブマンに成長していきます。
MHCP is a project that travels to different locales like a circus, growing a little with each stop. Wherever we go, we build a human-shaped field called “Herbman,” through which we educate visitors about the relationship between humans and nature. MHCP is a social enterprise realized in part by the landscape design studio Earthscape. We treat all the project details and production—indeed, all the activity that occurs around the project—as design elements. The project expands as Herbman travels around the world, carrying his luggage in a single shipping container. He will meet many people at his various destinations, gaining knowledge and growing bigger and stronger as he goes.
Herbman carries his trunk (the container) as he travels, delivering dreams to children and teaching good health to all. This is the vision of our project.
His trips may be irregular, but he will keep on traveling forever.
Herbman is a person-shaped herb garden.Various herbs are planted in this garden. Herbs are planted on Herbman’s body according to their effects: for example, herbs that aid digestion are planted in the stomach area, and herbs that work to relieve shoulder stiffness are planted in the shoulder area. In this way, Herbman acts as a kind of herb dictionary.Just by looking at Herbman, people can learn which herbs work for their trouble spots.We also plant herbs that grow naturally in the locale, so that our herbs are constantly changing, and a site-specific Herbman is born in each locale.
Through Herbman, people can learn about the effects of herbs. We also build a Herbman Café nearby as a means for people to apply these effects to their own bodies.The container that carried Herbman becomes the café space, and we offer drinks and food made with the herbs harvested from Herbman.We also use this space to hold various workshops relating to herbs.
After staying in one spot for a determined length of time, Herbman packs his belongings into a shipping container, and heads to his next destination. The MHCP project consists of a dialogue with nature—as symbolized by herbs and their uses—as well as exchanges with a variety of people and the stories born out of these exchanges.
Earthscape, the studio that launched MHCP, had the opportunity in 2001 to participate in a volunteer project to construct playgrounds in the Pakistani town of Drosh, near the Afghanistan border. The project aimed to improve living conditions and provide playing space for children. While working on the project, we observed how the children faced tense social conditions, the threat of violence, and abject poverty on a daily basis. The strange fortune to be working during 9/11 also reemphasized the importance of humanitarian work for our team.
Equally impressive to the harshness of their social surroundings was how close the children lived to nature. This relationship played a large role in Herbman’s conceptual development. We wondered would it be possible to use our base in landscaping to build something that would give back to these children, while also connecting people and nature? Thinking about a sustainable program from this perspective is what led to the birth of the Medical Herbman Cafe Project—a series of programs comprised of building the Herbman field, operating an adjoined cafe, and using the proceeds to build playgrounds.
Herbman educates visitors about the distance between humans and nature. Herbman is a symbol of the nature and plants that we consume on a daily basis to stay healthy. The project seeks to rethink the relationship between humans and nature, making it a healthy one once again. Proceeds from MHCP are used to fund Herbman’s next trip, with any remaining proceeds used for activities to benefit children such as building playgrounds, as well as other activities to bring good health to the world. While building playgrounds was originally the only legitimate social work we had access to, we are currently expanding our program to a wider variety of social and environmental activities.