OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

{Updated with Pitch Deck 8.23.15} The Tomatero App (Think Tamagotchi for Growing Vegetables)

Tomatero will help you grow tomatoes at home. Earn points for caring for your plant. Anyone, anywhere can learn how to grow a garden.

Photo of Karen Lee

Written by

Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it inspire the end user to lead a healthier life?

Growing a vegetable is a family-friendly activity! Tomatero a great way for people of all ages to learn everyday lessons from nature and become self-sufficient gardeners and producers of vegetables. The app walks you through a series of easy-to-follow steps on how to grow vegetables and turn it into a game everyone wants to play. Grow, eat, and share the fruits of your labor with your neighborhood, friends & family, and fellow gardeners around the world!

Initial Idea: Community Garden Kitchens

Elevator pitch: Learn healthy eating habits by growing a community garden & cooking together. Share your neighborhood & home kitchen to the world.

Community Garden Kitchens Description:

Growing a community garden is an important tool to encourage fun, education, ownership, and collaboration among the community. It empowers communities to take action and transform unused land into a place of purpose, recreation, and education.

Garden Kitchens aims to train the local community to develop community gardens and teach garden and cooking classes in their neighborhoods. 

When the local community learns and creates something together, they use the community gardens and kitchens as a tool to share knowledge, pool resources, communicate effectively, and provide support. Sharing a positive experience together can strengthen relationships, reduce conflicts, and broaden perspectives.

Garden Kitchens will provide the community a technology toolkit to digitize their progress and celebrate their accomplishments to the world:

  • Shoot-and-share video cameras for the community to document cooking or garden tips and techniques, different stages of the community garden, educational classes, and community potlucks. 
  • A dedicated forum or portal for the community to upload their videos and photos, post updates and announcements, and share recipes. This can be a private group on Facebook or NextDoor. Each community will have online moderators who provide feedback to the garden and cooking volunteers.


Communities will be able to curate what they want to share with the Garden Kitchens digital network (a website and app with different social media channels and an email newsletter) that will feature different communities and archive their videos, photos, and recipes. All digital content will be searchable and can be downloaded to watch/read offline. People can see photos of community gardens across the world ranging from rural towns to urban cities. They can browse a library of recipes from a particular region or watch a video of a woman sharing how she cooks a traditional family dish. 

With the network, Garden Kitchens intends to be a documentary platform for local communities around the world to express themselves and learn how others grow food and cook together. 

Image title

Community Garden Kitchens Research:
1. On July 14, 2015, I posted on NextDoor. I used the 23 neighborhoods where I live as a user group. I posted a couple questions on NextDoor to test out the idea and see if there's interest in community garden-to-cooking classes.

[Update: July 21, 2015] Outcome: A chef commented that she rents and would love access to home grown foods. In exchange, she would gladly teach classes because she loves sharing her knowledge and love of cooking. 3 neighbors suggested 3 different community gardens and gardening groups to contact.
 
2. [Update: July 15, 2015] I talked to my neighbor about his experience managing a plot in our neighborhood community garden. He only waters his plants on the weekends and brings his kids with him to pick the ripe vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, etc.). He wishes the garden had more sitting options, which he believes would make it more community friendly and inviting.  

3. [Update: July 26, 2015] I described to my friend about my idea. Greg grows seedlings in his apartment closet and transfers them into his backyard in San Francisco. He suggested developing a gardening kit that was as foolproof and easy to grow as a Chia pet. 

4. [Update: July 31, 2015] I had a call with Common Gardens, a project of Ecology Action in Palo Alto that provides garden tours and educational field trips to the local community and schools. On a conference call with Mia (Program Manager) and Paul (Farm Manager), I learned about their project’s objectives, marketing activities, and ways they engage the local community, volunteers, and donors.

5. [Update: August 6, 2015] I had a great call with my mentor, Bettina Fliegel, about refining my idea and walking through a variety of organizations that were doing something similar in the community garden space. We combed through OpenIDEO’s feedback and brainstormed ideas on ways to address the questions in the idea. I also addressed and responded to the awesome input (and research) from my team member, Gabriel Landowski.

Community Garden Kitchens Prototype:
[Update: July 17, 2015] To test my idea on community video content, I reached out to Common Gardens to see if they had any interest in sharing youth education or adult classes online. I offered to shoot a video of their garden as a content prototype for instructional how-to garden-to-kitchen videos. 

[Update: August 7, 2015] I interviewed Paul and Mia and recorded a video of them explaining how to grow amaranth and cook it. I’m in the process of editing the video, which is taking me a long time because I’ve never edited videos before and I'm learning as I go!

Insights: It’s hard and time-consuming to edit a video. Recording a video might be a barrier for others. How might we find easier, more lightweight ways of getting people to create and share content? (On a side note, I’d like to partner with Telemundo and NBC Universal to develop video content for the portal or website. 

This prototype made me realize that people rely on their mobile device for information and socializing. 

[Update: August 6, 2015] Community Garden Kitchens Pivots to Seed to Plate Community App

Elevator Pitch: A simple app that connects neighbors to a community focused on growing food and cooking together. Share with each other and the world. 

Description:

This app will help people connect with neighbors who are interested in sharing their garden and cooking knowledge with people who want to learn by doing! There are a number of ways to get people to use this app whether it's journaling what they're eating, posting a community cooking class, or sharing a family recipe.

Here are some examples:

  1. Community Garden: prepare and develop the land, clean the site, source and gather materials and tools, decide on the design and plot arrangement, make compost, harvest produce, etc.
  2. Community Kitchen: find a public cooking site, teach a cooking class, organize the ingredients and supplies, wash dishes, blog the class experience, take pictures, create a video of the instruction, etc. 


Seed to Plate Community App Prototype: 

[Update: August 6, 2015] Prototype: I developed 4 wireframes for the app.

[Update: August 7, 2015] I had a small focus group of four people: Two high school students who were volunteers at Common Gardens and Mia and Paul, who run Common Gardens. I recorded the interview.

Insights:

"It’s like NextDoor for vegetables.” -Mia

“A barter economy within a few blocks for food composting, harvesting…it’s a social media network.” -Paul

“Eventbrite and Craistlist has the ability to define the location radius.” -High school student 

“It’s nice that [the app is] within the community so if you had questions you can meet people in-person.” -High school student 

“So, this is kinda like blogging.” -High school student

"I’m biased but I’m more interested in events where people come together and help each other. Bring people together face-to-face. I don’t use NextDoor unless it’s something I would show up to. I look at events, but where do I meet my neighbors? It’s useful to build community.” -Paul

“I read Meetup because it’s an event and I can meet people.” -Paul

“This is a melding of a lot of things. A more specific and useful version of NextDoor. It’s a little Pinterest-y.” -Mia

“The more people, the better. If no one posts or have events, it’s not as useful.” -High school student

“It would be cool to list your tool library, or seed-sharing.” -Paul and Mia

[Update: August 8, 2015] I interviewed and recorded my conversation with my house cleaner, Silvia, who is Mexican. 

“Let’s just say I have a garden and I’m away, and tomatoes are coming - you can just post this to your family and closest friends."

"It’s nice that you can share recipes and socialize." 

"It’s good for people who have more experience and learn with this app and guide them. You can make your own sauce or prepare recipes with simple ingredients."

“I’ve been getting freebies from your friend’s garden. I’ve been sharing with my sister. Sometimes the eggplants and tomatoes are huge. I take one for me and grill it. I give the other half to my sister and I think she puts it in her pasta."

“When you’re cooking for 2, it’s different when you cook for 3 or 4. We cook a big meal and divide it into 4's.” 

“Some people waste a lot of things because they don’t know what to do with it. Sharing a recipe makes a big help because sometimes you have one cucumber, but if you put it in a salad - you can use it.”

“When you’re cooking and someone’s around, it feels really good.” 

“For my weight issues, I’m trying to eat healthier. I’m trying as hard as I can."

"I really like to do this one with the people I’m close to and people know me. This one is cool for yourself.” 

Tomatero App Prototype: 

[Update: August 12, 2015] I had a call with Ashley, a recently graduated Education masters student from Stanford. She developed an education app designed to help students learn how to cook healthy foods. We discussed my idea and her approach for designing the app. My takeaway insight was that I should narrow my app's focus rather than be an app that does everything. One key lesson is to start with the desired learning outcome and then design the app experience around the outcome.

I talked to my husband, Lester, about narrowing and refining my idea. We had a brainstorm on how to focus the idea at this stage. We iterated off my community app, along with all the other feedback from my team, and I ran with the idea of making a game app that taught people how to grow plants. Think Tamagotchi, but for growing a garden, one plant at a time. 

[Update: August 13, 2015] Prototype: I developed several wireframes for the  app.

[Update: August 21, 2015] Feedback from OpenIDEO member Karen Sorenson: "When we are talking about socially/economically diverse populations, schools is often the best place to build community. Especially with a garden since many of don't have the land access that is needed for a garden. The age group for app users is really changing every year. This last year, we have seen more kids as young as 3 years old with own tablets. General rule of thumb, is up till about the age of 9, kids use their parents devices, after that point they have their own device. Now, many of these devices are web-enabled but the child does not have a data plan, so they need to tether off of outside Wifi, about high school you start seeing smartphones with limited data plans."

Next steps: I reached out to Jarrod Robinson from thepegeek.com who has developed very successful physical education apps to see if he has any app developer referrals. I also emailed Karen Sorenson about meeting her and Ben Eichorn, of Grow My Own Lunch in San Francisco. He wrote an ebook "Edible Garden" and specializes in edible school gardens and educational materials. I hope we can collaborate on the Tomatero app idea together, specifically leveraging Ben's expertise on school gardens and educational curriculum. I'd like to tie in community and educational materials into the app.

[Update: August 23, 2015] Elevator Pitch: Tomatero will help you grow a tomato plant at home. Anyone, anywhere can learn how to grow a tomato plant. Earn points for caring for your plant. Here is my pitch on Slideshare! 

Description:
Growing a vegetable is a family-friendly activity! It's a great way for children to learn everyday lessons from nature and become self-sufficient. It's really fulfilling to plant and grow tomatoes together, especially if you earn points along the way. Tomatero makes it easy and fun to grow a garden step-by-step. Every member of the family can have their own Tomatero, including the kids.  You can grow a tomato plant with friends, too. 

Depending on where you live and what season you're in, Tomatero will help you pick the right plant for you. For example, Tomatero will provide you fool-proof steps to grow a tomato. You'll earn points for specific activities you accomplish. 

Tomatero also helps you keep track of your garden data - when, what, where you plant, how long it takes to sprout, and how well your plants grow. It'll help you learn faster and measure the progress more effectively. You can share photos to the your community (by zip code) or anyone who is growing the same plant. The photos will appear in a feed like Instagram and your neighbors can leave comments and "likes" in the form of plant leaves. 

Such a big part of gardening is in the harvest and food preparation. Once your tomatoes have ripened and are ready to harvest, the second phase of Tomatero is cooking tomatoes! Tomatero will provide healthy easy-to-make recipes with tomatoes and you can take and share photos of your meals with neighbors and friends.

Keep in mind you don't have to grow an entire garden at the start. Depending on the climate and season, Tomatero will help you decide what to grow next! After you successfully grow tomatoes, Tomatero will help you pick a new vegetable to grow and add to your meals.



What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I can share the app idea and wireframes with my neighbors and friends to get their feedback.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea?

Is this concept valid? Does it address the pain points with growing a garden? Can it tie in with the community and how? Is the app incentivizing people enough by awarding points? Are stronger incentives necessary, and if so - what would they be? Is it relevant for different ages?

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • An Individual

Does your idea currently have an Indiegogo campaign drafted?

  • No

Evaluation results

15 evaluations so far

1. Can you see this idea fitting into your daily life?

Yes, I think so - 20%

I'm not sure - 46.7%

No, I don't think so - 33.3%

2. Do you think this idea will help people lead healthier lives?

Yes, I think so - 46.7%

I'm not sure - 33.3%

No, I don't think so - 20%

View more

Attachments (3)

Tomatero Pitch.pptx

My 3-slide presentation outlining the current situation, opportunity, and resources needed for Tomatero!

Seed to Plate Nelly User Experience.pdf

Nelly is a school teacher who wants to eat healthier with her friends. They enter in a healthy eating challenge using the Seed to Plate app to keep each other motivated, share their progress, and log in their meals.

Seed to Plate Juan User Experience.pdf

Juan is a high school student who is interested in the farm to table movement. He wants to learn how to grow tomatoes and uses the Seed to Plate app to find out about community events related to growing a vegetable garden and cooking together.

110 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Devin Booker
Team

https://www.bath-supplies.store
of the curtain shower curtain printing of fans of fans interested in regards to the product, is a type of polyster there is no chemical substances lover of nature

Photo of decohome
Team

I LOVE this! Great find. I'd like to build on the video concept further and think about how we can add/create a community to connect people around the world sharing their ideas, recipes, and videos organically.
https://www.isolationthermique1euro.fr/isolation-thermique-a-1-euro/isolation-thermique-a-un-euro-loiret-45/

Photo of pamiso
Team

Bravo pour ce blog intéressant. pls comme Visitez mon site :
http://www.parfum-deluxe.com/parfum-dior-pas-cher/

Photo of Jennifer Dupond
Team

Bravo pour ce blog intéressant. Visitez mon site http://www.clinique-chirurgie-esthetique.com/blepharoplastie/

Photo of rahul
Team

I am very happy can visit and comment in your website. Thanks for sharing and keep spirit to writing the best articles. Don't forget visit my website
https://mozillafirefoxdownload.org/
https://googlechromefreedownload.org/
https://avastfreeantivirus2018download.com/
https://avastfreeantivirusdownload.com/

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Would be nice to partner with or tap into a network like this as well:
http://www.pbs.org/food/shows/the-victory-garden/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/victorygarden/eat/
https://vimeo.com/127491324

Our main end of it would be to have the folks watching take action in some form or another.

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

I LOVE this! Great find. I'd like to build on the video concept further and think about how we can add/create a community to connect people around the world sharing their ideas, recipes, and videos organically.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

I'm thinking the social media aspect is our greatest ally here.

By example, I have a number of friends who grow their own vegetables and we all post pictures of our setup and what is growing in our gardens. The next step is to get us to share how we cook and plate them which does not seem to happen as much. So perhaps having individuals who are the focal point of the discussion can indirectly encourage others to take that next step and post what they make.

For me it would be for others to suggest things I could grow which I don't normally. Then they show me how to make something from what I grow. Or, I could list what I have grown, and someone could suggest recipes that I have not tried. In a Facebook type environment that idea is to have the recipe become a free standing object of attention, so I could share it with others, or tag them on the recipe.

My main point is that I think the interaction is what would hook me in to try new things, or to not let my veggies go to waste in the freezer because I forget about them or they rot in the fridge. Or worse - I just let them die on the vine!

Photo of rahul
Team

This particular excellent website is actually to get going along with destination which assists that you simply anybody uncover this unique. I must announce we truly loved looking at the concept just as before, you'll be remarkable writer.
https://googlechrome2018.com/
https://mozillafirefox2018.com/
https://googlechrome2018download.com/
https://bestantivirus2018.com/
https://rejuvalexreviews.com
https://acrobatreaderdownload.com/


https://acrobatreaderdownload.com/

Photo of fauzy nurul
Team

This content is attention-grabbing reading. I like to have my mind challenged and this text did that. It’s not just informational, it’s additionally stimulating and thought-upsetting material. You’ve carried out well http://www.herbalwalatra.com/cara-pengobatan-aneurisma-otak-tanpa-operasi/
http://www.herbalwalatra.com/khasiat-walatra-brain-nutrition/

Photo of DigitalBath
Team

https://www.greffecheveuxtunisie.com

Photo of med maro
Team

Great; https://www.tunisie-chirurgie-esthetique.com/

Photo of med
Team

Great blog , i like it , good stuff , Med , https://www.univers-med.com/facette-dentaire-tunisie.html

Photo of Joseph Salvat
Team

Great blog and I love what you have to say and I think I will tweet this out to my friends so they can check it out as well. I like what you have to say great article. keep blogging the good stuff  http://histoire-bateaux-aviron.fr

Photo of tong vo
Team

This post is really giving me exciting information. There is something new which is related to my hobby. This post is considerable use for me. Thanks for sharing it.


http://www.nickjr2games.com |
http://www.barney4.com |
http://minecraftgames.info
| http://www.starfall2games.com

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

The other day I finally found a good use for the zucchini. I hand mashed them in with various tomatoes to make what I call a "coarse sauce" with chopped meat mixed in. Tasted great, and the soft zucchini texture added a nice taste and body tot he dish.

Would be great to highlight these "suggested" dishes and provide feedback options.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Hi Karen,

Is there more that I (we) can be doing with this effort? I am not sure where it goes from here, but I do happen to work in usability design etc (www.landowski.info) if anything in my skill set would be useful.

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Hi Gabriel, yes! Let me get back to you with updates. You've been a wonderful part of the team and I definitely would like to find a way for us to continue working together.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Absolutely, please drop me an email to landowski.info at yahoo.

I'm also looking for my next contract opportunity if anyone knows of anything - please email the same.

Much appreciated, cheers.

Photo of Sam Schneidman
Team

You've got a great idea, Karen. I love how personal the app is (allowing users to track the progress of their tomato plant), as well its social aspect (sharing recipes, etc.). One way I think you could implement this tool is in schools. I remember when I was a student at George Washington Middle School, I took a unit on gardening for a health class. Though this was a long time ago, I would have enjoyed the access to more information and ideas about what to do with the vegetables we were growing to enhance the value of the lesson. Though I'm long since out of school, I am interested in getting into gardening and growing plants, and could see this app as a great accelerator for my budding interest! Just some food for thought (ha ha) about how to get your great idea out there!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Hi Sam,

Thank you so much.

I'm currently looking into doing some initial testing for the app with students and teachers. Do you think middle school students would be interested in this kind of app, or would you recommend I test out the idea at another grade level?

Appreciate your thoughts!

Photo of Shawn Johnson
Team

Karen,

First of all I LOVE this idea! From what I have gathered, I see Tomatero as a behavioral “nudging” tool that makes it easier for anyone to grow his or her own food. When I first started gardening I would spend countless hours on various garden sites learning about different varieties, spacing, soil, and sun needs, climate zones, and more. It was daunting and difficult to know what sources to trust and how to manage my growing experience. What I like about Tomatero is it serves as a hub for 1) information on how to grow 2) an interactive reminder to tell you when things need to be done 3) an appreciator that makes you feel good about growing food and 4) a catalyzer for a community who wants to grow and learn together.

The prospect of putting all the information you need into a single, integrated app is really exciting and I cannot wait to see how this evolves further. My wife and I started a “wedding Farm” this past summer with the intention of growing all the food for our wedding which successfully fed 250 guests and generated a lot of great conversation around food. While our scale was probably a bit bigger than the average urban grower, we learned a lot about what matters when organizing a garden, what information is relevant, and what could have been useful in nudging us towards better action. If you ever need help thinking through user interface I would be more than happy to brainstorm or offer any feedback.

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Hi Shawn,

Wow, you really get the idea behind Tomatero! I love the four steps you outlined about what it could do for gardeners. Did you find any of the garden sites particularly helpful?

Please tell me that you have a blog or documented your journey of creating the "wedding farm" - it sounds amazing. I can tell you are super passionate about food and now you have a ton of knowledge and hands-on experience growing food. It would be great to get your help, thank you! I will be in touch.

Photo of Elsa Jr
Team

Great blog and I love what you have to say and I think I will tweet this out to my friends so they can check it out as well. I like what you have to say great article. keep blogging the good stuff
http://gamehappywheels.com
http://newshootinggames.com
http://toptetris.com
http://playmonsterhighgames.com
http://friv4s.com
http://coolmathgamesaz.com
http://gamefriv4school.com
http://barbiegamesaz.com
http://scoobydoogames.info
http://topfightinggames.com
http://8ballpoolaz.com
http://sudokuaz.com
http://yoob0.com

Photo of Jessica
Team

Hi Karen

I really enjoyed reading how your idea has developed. I think the growing app is a great idea - seems like a good application of gamification but leading to tangible and edible results! Also, I can totally see how this would help adults who want to grow veg but don't really know where to start. With that in mind, I think having recommendations for small space gardening and plant combos (for balconies, window boxes) would be really useful.

I think your seed idea, an app that brings the physical garden to neighbors virtually, is also fantastic. I can imagine it would be a good way to get new residents involved in a community activity and help facilitate social interactions outside the app. I live in London where we have many allotments and community gardens and I think many people would like to get involved, but unless there is someone in there at the time to ask, don't know where to start.

Really curious to see where next it goes - best of luck!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Hi, Jessica. Thank you for your suggestion about offering options for people who might have smaller spaces to garden. I just found this example for inspiration: http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/mavis-garden-blog-fall-window-box-inspiration/

You bring up an excellent (and common) point about people not knowing where to start, whether it is starting their own garden or joining a community garden. I'll keep that in mind. Thanks again!

Photo of Brock
Team

Congrats Karen. With growing populations and talk of global food shortages I think this is a great idea. Healthy eating habits start young and I think your offering is a step in the right direction!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Top Idea!!! Congrats Karen!
Bettina

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks to all your help and mentorship, Bettina!

Photo of Allen A
Team

Congratulations!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks, Allen!

Photo of Catarina Rivera
Team

Congratulations Karen!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks, Catarina!

Photo of Nathan Entrekin
Team

Fantastic idea. Looking forward to seeing how it develops. If you get to the point where you're looking for volunteers and/or community garden evangelists around the bay area, let me know!
-Nate

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks, Nathan! Will do. It'd be great to get your feedback along the way.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Congratulations Karen!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks, Kate! Appreciate your feedback and suggestions along the way!

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Congrats! Karen on making it the finals!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Woohoo! Thank you, Karen!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on your winning idea Karen! We love how you've fleshed out the potential for this idea to help people lead healthier lives since the beginning of the Refinement Phase. What an amazing journey it has been. We've also been inspired by how you've engaged with the community in a human-centered way as you iterated on this idea. Looking ahead to the next step, we would love for you to share your story in the Healthy Lives Impact Phase. The Impact Phase that's currently open is a space where the OpenIDEO community can share updates on how our projects are progressing beyond the challenge. For reference, here's a template for writing an Impact phase story: http://ideo.pn/1U9DrSN Well done Karen!

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Hi Karen-- I love this idea, especially for elementary school age kids. I had been in talks with Ben Eichorn, of Grow My Own Lunch out of San Francisco, http://growyourlunch.com/home about creating an app that would add an educational element to it that was in line with common core standards. I was the president of a PTO where we started a school-based garden which tied into the IB curriculum nicely. We did events to support the garden like a farmers market, celebrity chef's and taste testing, The teachers especially in grades K-3 used it for instruction, and the kids loved it! I am interested in being part of a team on this project, since I do already have many of the resources already. Good Luck in the challenge! Karen

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Hi Karen, thank you for sharing your experience and ideas! I just signed up for the Grow Your Lunch email and love the Edible Gardening ebook. We could leverage a lot of Ben Eichorn's material in the Tomatero app. I'm interested in learning more about your experience building a community around gardening, harvesting, and eating healthy foods. Do you think schools are the best way to start? What age group do you think would be interested in using an app? How can we involve parents and the surrounding community? I added you to the team, and look forward to continuing the discussion!

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

I know that Ben would like to meet with you, I think he can help a lot. When we are talking about socially/economically diverse populations, schools is often the best place to build community. Especially with a garden since many of don't have the land access that is needed for a garden. The age group for app users is really changing every year. This last year, we have seen more kids as young as 3 years old with own tablets. General rule of thumb, is up till about the age of 9, kids use their parents devices, after that point they have their own device. Now, many of these devices are web-enabled but the child does not have a data plan, so they need to tether off of outside Wifi, about high school you start seeing smartphones with limited data plans. I will send an email out to Ben and see if we can set something up. I believe we are all out of the Bay Area.

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

I talked to Ben, he really is interested in getting together. Can you email me at karen@21teach.com so we can set up a time to meet. Have a great evening--Karen

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Appreciate the insights on mobile device use and consumption! I'll integrate this into my idea. Thanks!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Just emailed you. Looking forward!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Exciting to see this collaboration!
Karen L.,
Did you envision the recipes on the app being sourced from the community using it? If you roll this out in a diverse school community it might be fun to collect an assortment of healthy ethnic recipes. I imagine there might be a variety of cooking methods to share as well.
 Love the idea of developing Tomatero for kids as a game/tool. Good luck building the idea! Keep us updated!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Love the pitch deck!

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

My wife's friend stopped by this evening with her three kids ages 7, 9, and 11. I spent about an hour or so with them picking corn, beans, potatoes, zucchini, spinach, etc. Some use cases:

The mom is looking for ideas on how to prepare it all - I suggested steaming in plastic bags in a microwave over traditional boiling in water etc. She was also going to make zucchini bread for the first time - interested in recipes.

The daughter, 11, has been wanting to do cooking classes. I thought it would be neat if she could find others in the area to meet up with a local chef and bring what crops they have to make something - kind of like a GroupOn.

All the kids were wondering how you check to see if crops are ready to pull, and how to do it so that you don't harm the plant (sneak potatoes, pulling corn ears without breaking the stalk).

I asked if they'd be interested in testing out an app if we made one and they all said they would love to - just for your awareness.

All of the kids were interested in farming by the foot or using 5 gallon pails to grow items on their back porch - a concern is that the kids would forget to water and care, so having some sort of reminder or mentor would be desirable to ask "did you water your potatoes this week?" etc.

Cheers

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks for all the great feedback, Gabriel!

I could see the app helping anyone, including kids, know when the plants are ready to harvest. Tomatero would send notifications when to water, care, and take pictures of the plants. In return, they'll get points and there could be a leaderboard in the neighborhood.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

I love the idea!

I have thought of how we could have a tie-in. In my idea participants accrue points for reaching their goals. They could spend these points on products from your community garden or they could buy equipment for your community gardens. So, the points they accrue could be used to produce more healthy food and communal recipes.

Have you thought of using vertical farms, roof gardens and hydroponics for people who live in inner cities?

You could also have bee hives! There is an association for this in London - http://www.lbka.org.uk/

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks, Kate!

What if participants can combine their points as a community to redeem as cash or "unlock" special offers/discounts from Home Depot or Lowe's? I like the idea of making the goals a collective effort (as an option).

I have thought of using different community garden set-ups, especially for people who live in urban settings. Green Bronx Machine is doing some amazing work with indoor gardens / learning spaces: http://greenbronxmachine.org/the-national-health-and-wellness-center-at-ps-55/ (Hat tip to Bettina Fliegel.)

Bee hives would be really cool, too.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Sorry, I am not American, is this Lowe's? http://www.lowes.com/
My server won't let me access the page - is it Walmart for gardens?

You may have guessed that I am a big fan of bees. They are probably one of the most useful species for us. Also, a good way to advertise your idea could be at country fairs. We have these kind of country fairs in the parks in London. Do you have them in the US? They are usually one of events.

There is always a group promoting urban farming at them and there is always a bee hive there. It attracts lots of interest from families and children. Beekeeping is also on the rise in the UK, not sure about the US.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/rise-of-the-urban-beekeeper-london-rallies-to-plight-of-the-humble-honeybee-10283958.html

We love our bees over here in the UK. Also, honey has a long shelf life and is very nutritious. It would be a great product for communities to produce.

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Ah yes, to clarify - Lowe's and Home Depot are like the Walmarts or Targets but for home and garden products. It's very popular with home DIYers.

We have county and state fairs, and it's a popular attraction for families.

I will take a closer look at beekeeping and include this as another way for people to engage with one another in the community! I do love honey.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

I know my father, an avid bee keeper in the traditional methods, would cringe at me sharing this, but I thought it was pretty neat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbMV9qYIXqM

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Or, after having worked at the local food bank, what if it kept track of the veggies you've donated to a good cause? Or the number of people who have eaten your food/cooking? Those folks would +1 you or something so that you'd get the recognition from an external source, and it would encourage others to take part.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

From an interface point of view I think it would be great to have a version that young kids could use.

Also, for the challenges, we could have a produce counter that keeps track of the number of times you have used certain vegetables and indicate ones that you haven't tried yet. There could even be a suggest substitution functionality.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

I love your idea for kids Gabriel! How about including some resources geared towards kids?
I also like the "challenge" idea! Would it be possible to link recipes or cooking/prep suggestions to the veggies so one can reference that for the ones that they have not yet tried?

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Yes, I agree there could be a number of different challenges - almost like Scouting where you earn skill badges for completing different challenges (grow and make a meal of lettuce, potatoes, green beans, peas). Or we could tap into the earlier idea about a virtual pet - its coat could reflect the colors of the veggies they have grow, and their teeth/limbs could reflect the type of items I've said I cooked.

I think too that keeping the interface simple and game-play in design makes it easier for all people to use. I think a major mistake most app designs have is they make things too complicated. I'd encourage the app to use optional functionality (in other words you indicate you want to use it) so that we're not trying to jam a ton of stuff into a small screen that no one wants to use.

This could initially be accomplished by asking me how I would like to use the app, so I can "opt in" to certain features such as locate nearby, connect with others, recipes, link to social media, etc.

Keep it simple and keep it fun.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

For communities that want to get started creating a garden can the App be a resource in some way? Maybe a channel on the App where communities can document and share what steps they took to start?

One approach might be by contacting a local Economic Development Corp. for assistance. Not sure if these organizations initiate these projects themselves, or if local community members approach them, but they appear to be involved in many garden projects.
This is was posted by Lucy in the research phase.
https://openideo.com/challenge/healthy-lives/research/university-area-community-center-uacdc-in-tampa-inspires-residents-to-share-in-the-community-garden
http://www.uacdc.org/index.php/health-center/community-garden
Other examples:
http://www.sgacdc.org/simon-s-community-gardens.html
http://www.cabrilloedc.org/fillmore-residents-cedcs-central-station-start-community-garden

As to the question that OpenIDEO posed in their note below, if one wants to start a garden what are the first steps they can take to find others to join them? Ideas? Can this type of information become part of the toolkit?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Awesome to read your updates, and the quotes/feedback that you have recorded and shared here! Looking forward to seeing the video when you finish your editing! (Do you know about Spark Video?)
http://www.ideo.com/work/telling-your-stories-with-video

What if a food truck association becomes involved with local community gardens and provides a weekly service, as an outreach project, or via a sponsorship with Telemundo, in which they visit a garden, and provide an onsite kitchen for a cooking class, and community meal? Different trucks can participate and visit different gardens on different occasions. Maybe the community can video tape the events, or local Telemundo affiliates can come by and do community news pieces for local TV or radio?
Maybe this can tie in with Dueling Chefs (the food truck version, or a community garden/community chef version in some way?)

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Karen and team!
Here is a video about The African Heritage Healthy Cooking Program sponsored by Oldways, an organization that promotes healthy eating based upon regional diet pyramids. The program uses the African Heritage Food Pyramid. The video shows how people come together for classes, but also to cook and eat together and the effects of all of this on their overall wellness.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aBKAF_qzKA
http://oldwayspt.org/resources/heritage-pyramids

Oldways has developed several Heritage Food Pyramids - Latino Diet Food Pyramid, Mediterranean, Asian, African and Vegetarian/Vegan. These diets have been shown to be healthy. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/pyramid-full-story/ (see Other Alternatives to My Plate at the bottom of the page.)

I wonder if links to some of these resources, providing communities with information on foods that are healthy and stem from their cultural heritage might be something to consider for the toolkit?
Garden - Community - Culture - Cuisine - Nutrition - Health - Wellness

Thinking about video sharing, documenting cooking either in the garden, or with food from the garden - check out this channel for inspiration!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPAjE4xjYfQ&index=5&list=PL5XLidvbqV_Kgd5J1Y74e-viHF52-l9CW

Thoughts?

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thank you, Tina! I love what The African Heritage Healthy Cooking Program has accomplished. That video is really inspiring, and shows the power and effectiveness of learning and teaching as a community. I plan on integrating culture and heritage into the cooking aspect of the idea. I think the regional diet pyramids would be a great resource for the app. Perhaps these links can live in the "library" section.

And yum, the healthy vegetable sopa video makes me hungry! It's awesome to see Erik interviewing people about their recipes and how they cook dishes. I would love the app to enable anybody the ability to record and share their own cooking video or experience. Thanks again for all your suggestions and links for inspiration!

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Another way to think of it is that cultural or types of diets can be thought of as filter settings. If I have a preference then I can narrow down the types of traffic I get by the types of foods I say I am interested in. This could also be taken one step further to allow me to filter types of crops I interface with because I might not be interested or able to grow certain things due to climate/time/resources.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

You could create neighbourhood farmers markets.

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

What if the app had the ability for anyone to create events (like a farmers market, gardening or cooking class) and notify their neighbors about it? I got feedback from a farm manager that he wanted a NextDoor app just for gardening.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Like Meetup?

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Exactly. I find Meetup to be fairly transactional, so I hope this app would have Meetup-like functionality and community features. That way, people can still participate and learn if they can't make the event.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

I think this also ties in nicely with the need for some sort of calendar function/export which would be useful to help folks know when to plant and harvest crops as well.

Photo of Ahmed Rub
Team

Very interesting idea ! seed to plate is for people of all ages ! love that, I wonder if the app can teach me what should I grow and what type of foods I can make out of what I grew, for example if the app can tell me if you drew tomato, eggplant ....ect, you will be able to cook (something) without a need to buy anything from the store !

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thank you, Ahmed! The app can be an education resource on what to grow in your neighborhood and how to grow it. What I hope is that your neighbors could help answer questions, provide advice on how to care for your garden and share recipes with those ingredients.

Photo of Ahmed Rub
Team

Yeah building community around the app could be great way to answer all the questions !

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Crazy idea! But, why not encourage entrepreneurship in these communities by producing food items for a one-off weekend pop up restaurant or stalls run by teenagers/young adults who are unemployed or underemployed. I am inspired by an initiative here in London that was very successful where local teenagers ran pop up stores for one weekend in London. The number of teenagers that wanted to apply outstripped demand.

It could be a good event to advertise your product.

http://supa-academy.com/

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Crazy ideas are always welcome! :) Bettina told me about La Finca del Sur, an organization that is supported by members and volunteers who manage the community garden in South Bronx and sells the produce every week. It's run mostly by women who self-identify themselves as Black or Latina. http://bronxfarmers.blogspot.com/

There is also another wonderful story of Robin Emons who started Sow Much Goods who works with volunteers to sell their farm foods at 4 farmer's markets all around North Carolina. It gives people an opportunity to learn how to run a business: https://vimeo.com/127491324 (Hat tip, Gabriel Landowski.)

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Karen, I need to find the link but the article mentioned that low income Latin American neighbourhoods do not have many farmers markets but a large number of fast food restaurants.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

On a side note: what if the app would dynamically create a "creature" which took its appearance based on the foods you eat and the activities you complete? It is totally non-sensical, but it would make an interesting conversation piece and perhaps engage the younger generations Pok-e-mon style...

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

There could also be a map feature which dynamically lists participants on it so I know who is close by, perhaps leverage Google Maps. I could click in to the individual icon and see what they have and the terms for exchange, perhaps coordinate for a pickup or drop off via the interface.

By example it could be a who Needs or who Has status - so I can see who Needs what I got, or who Has what I need. Perhaps like a trip adviser it could even suggest the best route to hit the various items I have selected in my shopping cart and even include a timeline (i.e. some folks are not available during the work day).

What if the interface had more of a Farmville design? Only because of the topic and the UX hjas already been designed for a lot of different platforms:
https://www.google.com/search?q=farmville&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAWoVChMIlManxPKZxwIVx48NCh2MUwGu&biw=1920&bih=969#tbm=isch&q=farmville+mobile

It also has functionality like building social associations, etc. Maybe the Farmville people would even be interested in getting involved so that their "toy" could actually become a force for good eating habits?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi all.
Gabriel are you thinking about these sharing functions as part of a community garden situation, or more for people that are doing their own home gardening, or both?
 If it is a community garden then the garden group would have extra items, or would it be individuals with plots in the garden who have extra items, or both?

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

I'm just thinking of them as pure functionality. They could be used in either use case. The whole point is to easily see who is within a certain range or distance of where I currently am. Maybe I want to meet up, maybe I want to purchase, maybe I want to drop something off. Just trying to come up with alternative interface patterns besides Detailed List and Icons.

Photo of Claudia
Team

I love this idea! I was thinking that sometimes, when I don't have much time or energy to cook a healthy dinner is when I end up cooking pasta or buying a pizza. What if participating in this community project gave the person a number of "vouchers" that they can redeem by getting some "take-away" from the community kitchen for when they have no time to cook. It could be a ratio of x hours of participation = 1 voucher so that it doesn't end up being a passive participation.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

My neighbor mentioned some farmer's markets were allowing folks to preorder items online. The market would consolidate the order and have it available for pick up or even deliver it to your address/desk.

I know I have more zucchini than I know what to do with. It would be nice to have a match making application so that I can see people and organizations who want what I have. Would be a possibility to donate to soup kitchens etc as well.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Gabriel.
You might be interested in this Research post I put up. It touches on what you are speaking about here. https://openideo.com/challenge/healthy-lives/research/farm-to-family/
I think it is a great idea. How can Karen's idea/app/toolkit leverage tech to connect gardeners with produce to share, with others who want/need it?

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks, Claudia! I like the idea of earning credits as a member, which you can redeem in some way for food or classes. I just uploaded wireframes to my idea and would appreciate any feedback or suggestions you have on how I can incorporate food/meal giving in the app.

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Hi Gabriel. Keep the awesome user research feedback coming! I just uploaded app wireframes and would love your thoughts. I incorporated your input of having a surplus of zucchini into the wireframe! People could use the app to post anything related to gardening or cooking and nearby neighbors would get a push notification on their phone. Thanks in advance your ideas and feedback!

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Grin - I feel special. Reference my Ebay comments in the previous post.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Was thinking a good starting UX for the veggie exchange would be to leverage what Ebay does today.
This would be convenient to list specific lots of veggies, allow for combining selections, and I think their interface pattern works great for the flexibility it provides the individual user.

I was also thinking it might be good to have a sort of progression badge or designator which others select for you. Think of it as the life cycle of garden to plate, but others select which parts of it your contribution satisfies. This would allow individual participants to be recognized and identified by others in the network, but you can also have the recognition fade with time. This keeps you from resting on your laurels as well as encourages you to try and keep your whole spectrum of the life cycle fresh, or at least the parts you like the most.

Another aspect to think of is safety and security. It would be nice for me to be able to leave my produce with a third party or exchange point without worrying who it is coming for my goods. I know this may seem odd to bring up, but I feel that more people would participate if they knew they would not have to worry about who they were sharing with or having to meet with them face to face.

I have a ton of zucchini, would love to be able to list it and get it moving out the door.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Karen.
Following up on our great conversation off line here are some links that may be of interest as your idea develops.

Thinking about the demographic that this challenge is focusing on here are some community garden stories from NYC.
La Finca del Sur - http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/the-bronxs-urban-farm-is-a-community-effort.html
The Green Bronx Machine - Stephen Ritz TED Talk 2012 http://www.ted.com/talks/stephen_ritz_a_teacher_growing_green_in_the_south_bronx/transcript?language=en
2009 Earlier work - Community Gardens/Bronx, NY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgGL6mz3dBY
Garden Tool Share - http://www.grownyc.org/openspace/growtruck

From SaludAmerica.org http://www.communitycommons.org/groups/salud-america/changes/sa_advocacy_targets/sa-better-food-in-neighborhoods/ (some great initiatives on community gardening, interesting partnerships with community organizations etc. serving Latino communities.)

A Gardening Community is growing in East Palo Alto - http://kalw.org/post/farming-food-desert-east-palo-alto-gardens-take-root

Using NextDoor to share from their gardens - http://www.nbcsandiego.com/entertainment/the-scene/NextDoor-Bay-Ho-Palisades-Kathy-Stadler-Fruit-Trade-298689371.html

American Heart Association Promotes Community Gardens - http://gardencommunity.heart.org/home
(Funded by the Entertainment Industry Foundation)
Connecting With Others https://www.facebook.com/kitchengardeners

A community garden started by residents of a homeless shelter to provide themselves with healthy food. http://magazine.good.is/articles/residents-homeless-shelter-plant-organic-garden-feed-shelter

Interesting read about what some latina women consider healthy food and where they look for it. - http://latinousa.org/2014/11/28/latina-immigrant-women-might-trust-supermarkets/

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Lovely updates Karen! We're excited to hear that you and Bettina connected offline. It'd be great to incorporate any feedback & new thoughts from the conversations and community feedback into your idea post. The will highlight how your idea is evolving through these collaborative conversations. Perhaps adding an "Updates" or "Feedback" log in your post might help:)

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Karen! Congrats on making it to the Refinement phase! I went through the Refinement phase of the "Youth Mentor Challenge" - (How might we inspire and engage young people to support older adults through mentorship?), and the OpenIDEO team recommended that I reach out to you to share my experience and help guide you through the process. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions - I’m excited about your idea, and happy to share my stories, my experience with OpenIDEO and my process during the Refinement phase!
Bettina

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Hi Bettina! I would love to connect. I'll follow up via email.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Great!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Karen.
It was great to connect by phone! Here are some of the OpenIDEO resources & tools I mentioned.

Teams - https://openideo.com/blog/virtual-teams-the-lowdown
Meetups -https://openideo.com/content/meetups , https://www.facebook.com/openideosanfrancisco
User Experience Map Template - https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/5c28e26a-ba7f-44f4-859b-e82658264287.pdf
Prototyping - https://openideo.com/blog/testing-prototyping-tips
Resources Page - https://openideo.com/content/resources - Check out the "Getting Visual" Link for tips as well as the other great links here.

Regarding sharing the story of a User's Journey -
Creating a User Experience Map is a great way to do this.
Creating written "scenarios" can also be useful.
Have a look at the User Scenarios on this post.
https://openideo.com/challenge/e-waste/concepting/neighbourhood-e-waste-champion/
And also here -
https://openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/refinement/public-libraries-as-financial-literacy-hubs-starting-locally-with-oakland-public-library

Tip - Whenever you Update your post indicate it in the Title with the date so that folks scanning the site will notice and revisit your post.

Will share more links/thoughts in other comments!

Good luck at your visit in the local community garden tomorrow! Looking forward to hearing what potential users have to say about your Idea.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

I'm also thinking square foot gardening would be useful to help make the project scalable and make it more possible for urban participants. Even us with an acre to use can learn a lot to make the most of our space on hand.

http://www.mysquarefootgarden.net/

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Welcome to the Refinement Phase Karen! We loved the community-building aspect of this idea.
As you continue to develop this idea, we’d love to learn more about the technology toolkit that communities will use to share their Garden to Soil experiences. For example, what type of specific content might users find on the Garden Kitchens platform? Also, if someone is interested in starting a community garden in their local community, what might be some first steps that can be taken to get more participants onboard? Are there any local food share co-ops or community gardens that you can partner with to run a pilot version of this idea? Perhaps you might consider hosting local Meetup groups where community members can convene to put the technology toolkit into practice. In going forward, we’d love for you to develop some user journeys and scenarios to help us understand how this idea can play out in real life. Perhaps you might consider creating an Experience Map to describe some of the proposed activities you've outlined. A template of the Experience Map can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/1DL5G2B We also loved the lightweight experiment that you’ve created on NextDoor to start collecting user feedback. Be sure to share with us any additional feedback that you’ll receive from real users in your local community!

In addition, we think your idea could work well in tandem with this idea: Community Motivator - http://ideo.pn/1S9mBYr Given collaboration is the name of the game here at OpenIDEO, we hope you might reach out and collaborate to grow each other's concepts!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Great! I'm going to develop the user journeys and scenarios. I'm in the process of developing the idea further by piloting with a local community garden. I'll make sure to share my feedback along the way!

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Hi All,

So I was talking with my neighbor the other day and going over what I have growing and what he has in his patch. He was showing me some different things I had not thought to do, and he has an excellent garlic patch which he is going to help me transplant some to a section in our garden this October. My zucchini, yellow squash, gourds, sweet corn, and tomatoes are all coming in, he has soy beans and two variety of grape tomatoes.

So what we're both doing is cross loading our surplus veggies and he was giving me some ideas on things to try (deep fried zucchini, grill fried, etc). So we're doing our best at a partner level to bring food from the ground to the plate, and looking next year to really see what we can churn out to the point that I'll see about approaching local restaurants like Zampa's in Epping etc.

So in reference to the questions above I can tell you what I am looking for as a participant: I'm looking to connect online with others to share photos and recipes, Facebook is definitely one of the main outlets for this for me. I primarily use my phone to take pics or video and immediately upload them as I take them so I don't forget to do it later - this also allows folks to respond while I am still out in the green which makes it feel like they are a part of what I am doing as I do it.

I'm wondering if we might be able to do some sort of challenge where folks who participate can get cooking lessons, like with the chefs over at Zampa's? I think that would be fun and help to bring us digital introverts out into a social setting where we interact with each other in person.
http://www.zampa.com/

Also another friend of mine, Cheryl Denoncour, is a partner at Black Stove Farm in Epping, NH and I know she'd love to get involved in a cooking & wine session as well.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Stove-Farm/168590606504048

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

Great to see you in the challenge, Karen! I love that this idea infuses technology into a very earthy and old fashioned process. I'm wondering if we might adapt this idea to fit not just community gardens and kitchens, but allow families to film their cooking methods and where they got their ingredients and share on an online platform. I think that could produce a really inspiring set of recipes and methods from around the world. Families could apply to receive a technology toolkit and after they get it be required to do a certain amount of posts....and maybe the posts could also turn into a reality TV show or something like that. Just a thought! Excited to see your idea evolve.

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Hi Joanna - I think the technology toolbox can make this idea scalable beyond community gardens and kitchens. To start, I would love to gain traction and develop "role models" with some local communities to showcase a variety of ways to garden, cook, etc. Using this content, we can inspire others to make their own garden or cooking videos or post their favorite family recipes. Community members can watch videos, share/like/email recipes, and leave comments with each other. I could see a vibrant community hub where people can go for information, education, and entertainment. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

My gut feeling is that a lot of people have smart phones if nothing else, so I would encourage the focus on technology interactions to be through a phone. Most people who only have one device usually have a phone (60% and rising) and it is usually the one device that is with you the largest amount of time during the day (for me about 99%) which means it is handy for interaction as well as taking pictures or video.

Other platforms can be scaled up from mobile, so most professionals now are agreeing that you should design and plan for mobile first. Just a thought.

Photo of Robert Thomas
Team

Hi Karen, I think that this is a great idea and an extremely important place for people to be working. I'm thinking about this and hope to contribute something that might benefit soon! Good luck!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Hi Robert - thank you! It's a difficult, complex issue - but I think connecting a long-standing tradition of gardening and cooking with technology is a powerful combination. I welcome your thoughts and questions on what we can do to make this idea come to life!

Photo of Allen A
Team

Congrats on making it to the next level!

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thank you so much! I'm really excited and honored to be part of the refinement stage.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

This is also similar to what I was thinking.

I currently grow a garden of veggies, but it would be nice to be able to better connect with others to decide what to grow and how to prepare or store it. I think some sort of "try this dish" based on what you say you grow in your garden might be a fun cooking class or group activity (even if it is done remotely). I also like to put my energies toward this as I don't think I'm getting a 10th of what I could be doing in my garden and I am sure my own cultural bias is preventing me from growing other ethnic veggies and trying different recipes.

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks for sharing your personal gardening experience, Gabriel. You have some good ideas on what people can learn or teach in a community garden. Do you think people would be willing to volunteer their time to teach a gardening class?

I recently learned about a local nonprofit called Ecology Action. They have a project called Common Ground Gardens, which is a functional demonstration garden and teaching space. They offer adult classes and youth education opportunities: http://commongroundgarden.org/?page_id=304 I love that their garden classes allow students to taste and even cook with the seasonal vegetables. My idea aims to turn all community gardens into functional demonstration gardens and teaching spaces, but takes it a step further. We can record the local gardening and cooking classes and upload them online for anyone to learn from, inspiring a bigger community of people who want to grow their own food and make healthy and sustainable food choices.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

I think the hesitation on part of most people is that they don't really know what it takes to go from planting to harvesting to cooking to eating. I know a family who run Black Stove Farm in Epping, NH and they do a variety of different things to include poultry, pork, veggies, and berries. I know Cheryl would love to help others become as proficient as she is, and she makes a mean jam.

Perhaps a good starting point would be some packages for planting spinach, lettuce, fingerling potatoes, etc. The goal would be to provide some direction for how to plant (videos work nice), and the people can record their progress with each other (friends, family) and post it up to get the social media angle going. The challenge could be to grow a starch (potato), greens (lettuce/spinach), and another elective. These would be harvested and cooked using one of several recipes, and plating and pictures/video could be taken.

Just brain storming, but I guess my point is that for me I already have no issues growing potatoes, greens, and we even have eggs to make a nice meal. I'd like to start learning how to best grow and prepare some oriental vegetables, and do something similar. We could tap into the victory garden spirit and see what bands of people could come up with for ideas as to what we should grow and how it could be prepared. That sense of a community to interact with is important I think, so figuring out how to tie it together seems the greatest challenge.

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

I hear you saying that there are different "obstacles" or friction points for people, so identifying the biggest pain points for gardening - whether that is getting started or growing vegetables successfully - and eating - such as preparing, storing, cooking - is a great way to come up with some solutions. I could imagine a physical product (like your package suggestion) combined with an app or community classes can get people excited and involved.

The other point you make is that people have different strengths and areas of expertise. I would love to tap into the community to find people who know how to grow veggies and berries, or people who know how to make can fruits and vegetables. I think there is a big need for a "matchmaker" in each community to find volunteers who want to contribute. Thanks to my NextDoor posting, I got a couple leads of people who suggested local gardening groups to contact and I even got a comment from a chef who would gladly teach cooking classes in exchange for home-grown foods.

Would you be interested in joining this idea as a team member? Let me know.

Photo of Gabriel Landowski
Team

Sure, would like to participate in whatever way I can.

I'm wondering if there could be a "Match.com" for this kind of thing where you enter what you're looking to grow/cook/learn and see who pops up. Folks could rate each other as well, in the spirit of reviewing an instructor or participant. With language classes it was nice to know who was friendly or patient with beginners, etc.

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Great post Karen! Developing new ways to help people build community gardens has been a recurring topic of interest in this challenge. Check out this like-minded idea: https://openideo.com/challenge/healthy-lives/ideas/urban-agriculture-guide-app Perhaps there might be a way to collaborate?

Photo of Karen Lee
Team

Thanks for the suggestion, Shane! I reached out to Dylan to see if he's interested in collaborating.