Plants have been used as medicine for thousands of years, but the average person might not be aware of just how beneficial these herbal medicines can be. Earthscape is a crew of Japanese landscape designers that travels around during the summer with a 60-meter tall man made of herbs! Well, actually they travel with a few shipping containers loaded with supplies and when they arrive at their next site they unpack and plant a giant herb garden in the shape of a man. The containers get transformed into a shop and cafe where local residents can learn about herbal medicine. At the end of the Herbman’s stay, the supplies get packed up and all the cafe’s proceeds go towards building playgrounds in developing countries.
The Medical Herbman Café Project (MHCP) was started to raise awareness about how herbs can be used to treat the body. Herbman, splayed out like Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”, stretches up to 60 meters wide depending on the location, and acts as a map to show about which herbs can heal what parts of the body. For instance, herbs that help with digestion are planted in the stomach region, herbs that help relieve shoulder stiffness are planted around the shoulder, and so on. The designers also like to use local plants when possible.
Upon arrival at a new locale, all the herbs, planting material and tools are unpacked and the garden is started. The containers are then used as a temporary cafe and shop, complete with a simple kitchen, all of which is built and decorated with salvaged building materials and antiques. Visitors can enjoy drinks and food made with herbs from the garden and take workshops to learn about their healing properties. After the herbs have been harvested, the Herbman says goodbye in order to move on to the next region, and the proceeds of his stay go to help build playgrounds in developing countries.