this began as a post about the barrier-to-entry my friends feel there is to gardening and personal resilience. to accurately quote my friend who’s in her mid 20’s during a discussion about growing tomatoes over a drink in the pub: “i’d like to, but i don’t know shit about shit - why isnt there an app for that?”. it seems that many people i’ve spoke too think that personal resilience is a good idea - and certainly in the UK, the WWII ‘Dig for Victory’ and the homefront played a big part in our school curriculum in the 90’s putting the war into context comes up a lot around this topic.
but it also seems that people would just quite like to just be told what to do - and when to do it.
as a consequence this post turned into a part app pitch / startup idea: this is the app i’d like to see:
the 140 character pitch:
instructional almanac/diary to hand hold people into the world of gardening. Combining a network building real world resilient communities
the app is primarily a step-by-step guide for people that know nothing about gardening at all, but would like to get started growing their own useful foods. emphasis would be put on growing things from seed. but if a user were to chose to buy a small plant from a garden center, an option would be available to skip through steps would be available. what follows is a high level user story:
Upon registering the user would be asked to ‘select from location type’:
urban, suburban, fields
input some rudimentary details
space you have to grow
direction of area (N,S,E,W)
is it outside / inside / windowsill etc
App would then ask you if you have any pots to grow things in, pots, planters etc.
If not will recommend types of ones to buy, or suggest homebrew planters - appropedia / homegrown evolution style things to build or use.
based on the data the app would then recommend seeds and what to grow etc / especially favouring local varieties.
once you have followed the advice, you tell it what and where you have planted, how much etc and click GrOw
periodically the app will remind you to water and feed your plants (could it use local open local weather data to estimate this better?)
with every interaction between you, the app and the plant, it should prompet you to input some data about its progress; approximate height etc - and who doesn’t want to take photos of the things they have grown to show people?!
at the end when you are ready to harvest your food, you will be asked to input some details like final height of your plant (if applicable) weight of the harvest, perhaps even ask some subjective questions / rate taste of your food etc.
alongside the core function of the app is a network - this network would allow you to share the photos of the things you are growing. rough geo-data could be used to make sure your photos are seen by other users locally around you; you can see their photos and plants too and should be able to comment and rate it.
every interaction from watering your plants, to commenting on and offering advice to other users should give you ‘points’ or some kind of ‘reputation points’. indeed, using a 2 user conformation system - meaning if to people verify your photo of your plant. all three of you get points (this also maintains the integrity of the network information) - as an aside: geolocated flirt/dating apps like skout have perfected the art of creating perceived value of points inside their networks for simple interactions.
as people verify other peoples photos - with priority given to people local to you - users should begin to feel connected to the growers around them. this is the soft network.
the hard network comes in with the reporting of yields for example - perhaps excesses can be donated to/picked up by transition towns if you join the transition suppliers group for example (this of course will give you more points) . this feature can then tap in to existing hard networks of people working on long resilience.
Urban farms could all have a presence on the network promoting their learning sessions and experience. There are so many small hyper local community gardens, permaculture groups etc that could all have a presence on this kind of network; these real world social hubs are all doing amazing things around the globe and are important in growing the hard resilience of the network.
Perhaps the app could have badges for completing ‘missions’ donating x amount to transition towns, or some other local scheme to you. successfully ‘growing out’ and returning seeds from Seed Savers, build a window farm etc… i’m sure there are lots of possibilities.
The network that connects you to other local growers that sits alongside the core ‘tell you exactly what to do‘ primary function of the app i think is a great opportunity for connecting not only people, but the many different groups that are working in the resilience field.
Anyway just an idea… if you like it, let me know.
as i’d quite like to find some people to build it with…