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P2P Farming

A platform connecting urban eaters to local (and surrounding) farmers.

Photo of Sarah Fathallah
26 24

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The idea is to have a Kiva-like platform, where anyone from the city could connect, find farmers according to a certain number of criteria (distance, location, food products, etc.). They could "order" food via a virtual farm (similar to FarmVille or Le Verdure del Mio Orto), their plot is planted on a real farm by the selected farmer. As the organic produce grows, it's picked and delivered to the customer.

This could include some type of subscription program, as well as tie in special year-long packages to give customers fresh farm food year-round (Thanks  Timothy for this build).

In addition, the user could follow the different steps virtually via Skype (based on Nicola's inspiration), or, on a more sporadic basis, get to visit the plot and participate to the farming activities via field trips. It would also be interesting to have seasonal fun activities where urban families could visit the plot they "ordered", with special activities engaging kids and their curiosity.

The platform, built following a peer-to-peer type of network, could prove to be a low cost solution enabling efficient personalized connections between end consumers and producers.
The platform may also be helpful to allow people to rate/review different farms on the system, surfacing which ones best meet their needs, as well as giving feedback to farmers on what their customers are looking for (Thanks Vincent for this build).

Features
  • Online farming game (main revenue source)
  • Remote video monitoring
  • Food products home delivery
  • Producers / farmers crowdsourced mapping
  • Occasional visits and field trips
  • Rating and feedback system

Business model
As far as the business model goes, the user pays for:
  • The plot package (according to the household size)
  • Shipping costs
  • E-shop for 'extras'
Customer loyalty could be reached through:
  • Subscription pricing strategies
  • Impeccable customer service (including in the cases of delivery problems or degraded food products)

Advantages
  • Harness the success of virtual games in order to get users interested in farming. Add a sense of reality by allowing the users to "see" how the plot is going.
  • Give local producers and farmers a platform where they could diversify their products and their customers, and, basically, sell their products without any intermediary.
  • Keep it "real" with the field visits, especially for kids.
  • Have a crowdsourced map listing products, farmers and information related to both of them. The mapping could look like this: http://www.farmbook.info/en/ (Thanks Stacy for the link).
  • At the end, urban dwellers benefit from the home delivery convenience, and fresh food products all year-long.

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Photo of Vincent Cheng

Hi Sarah, just came across this on Fast Company and thought it was very relevant for your concept: http://bit.ly/k1yrO9 , http://www.my-farm.org.uk/ .

Basically, an online community learns about, discusses, and makes key decisions for a real life British farm for a £30 annual subscription.

Photo of Sarah Fathallah

Thanks so much Vincent for the share! This is a great example of what's existing out there, and that could be applicable in Queensland. The trust / voting farmers structure is interesting, as well as the 'community' experience (with rules, etc.), even though for now they don't get any food out of this experience. But it shows that there *are* people who are interesting in knowing how a farm works, how to grow crops, to take care of the livestock, and eventually to visit it.

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