Day: 19
By. Dahyu Patel

Farmster

— Farmville, for reals!


The Idea

A website lets you purchase tiny plots of land that grow organic produce!
For example, buy 1 lemon tree, 1 orange tree, 1 basil plant, 1 tomato plant.
+ Pay $X/month for farming-as-a-service, to have these trees and plants maintained and harvested
+ Get estimates for how much each plant will yield in a harvest, and when to expect the harvests
+ If you want food year-round, you can buy plots in other climates (southern hemisphere locations)
+ Produce gets shipped to you (or sell back to the house)
+ If you don’t want your land / plants any more, sell to other users (or back to the house)
+ Full transparency on sustainability metrics, labor, etc.
+ Bypass the grocery store or farmer’s market
+ Control your very own personal supply chain!

For Hipsters who make enough money, and care enough about where their food comes from.

If you like Farmster, you’ll also love “Ranchster” — Farmster, for (free-range) livestock.


Don’t be shy —reply!

What dots connect when you read this? Let your imagination roam free and send your thoughts over email to francis+cheeky@invisible.email! If your contribution is selected, we’ll showcase it below…


Discussion

Tim Jaconette
! If someone really wants to run a beta of this, I have an 11 acre farm/ranch we could discuss using.

Francis Pedraza
$ Tim, YES — that’s awesome! Myles… curious to hear your thoughts? The big giant question marks for me are economics and logistics. Does anyone know an agriculture person who could give us a sense for pricing?

Myles Lambert
> This could be decentralized even further by allowing anybody to rent out a single plant from someone in the same city — or space in their garden by the square foot.

! Airbnb for gardens (or plants within them) and you rent by the season/year. This way people can tend to their plant and harvest it directly. Someone who lives in, say, an apartment building in Green Bay could rent a lemon tree or raspberry bush from someone else in Green Bay and participate in the cultivation and harvest.

Darius Hangafarin
* People care where their food comes from. There’s growing awareness of the harmful effects of non-organic produce — — GMO’s, pesticides, etc.

* The link between both worlds — physical and digital — is amazing.

+ What if…
 — Live feed, via a Dropcam or GoPro? Get 24/hr surveillance of your crops. Cool time-lapse sequences so you feel connected to their growth cycle.
 — Profiles of farmers? A strawberry tastes better when you know it comes from “Bob, the strawberry farmer”, instead of having no story at all.

Ian*
X THIS IS A REAL THING I JUST INVESTED IN IT! Ish. Check out Mary Lemmer’s new company, Farmly (www.getfarmly.com).

Francis Pedraza
* Farmly lets people buy food-bearing plants online and get them shipped to their door, with optional install-support (potential Model 1). It doesn’t seem to include garden-farming as-a-service (potential Model 2). Or, “buy a piece of someone else’s farm and pay for farming-as-a-service” (potential model 3). Or… as Myles suggested below… a decentralized version of this system (potential Model 4).

Halim Madi
> And instead of building it all out, this can be front-end for other farmer to end consumer services like aglocal

_ Zynga could revive its games with this. Wait! so what if we apply this to other zynga games? There’s “Castleville” > What if you pay and win a stay at one of the Castles in the south of France (the poor castle owners are losing money today because of maintenance costs and 0 ways to monetise their properties). We can mash-up games with companies instead of brands and products > Cityville (Another city by Zynga) meets Weave. Play and meet actual professionals looking for someone like you

Alex Foster
> MVP — just get 10 items via some tiny hobbyists with a few acres and build up from there. Get the site and user acquisition right before doing a more scale friendly deal. Margins on food are tiny usually but as you are selling DIRECT the margins are probably pretty big. No middle man here.

* It’s worth noting that people have tried direct selling groceries many times and I’m not sure it has ever worked. Seasonal changes are too tricky. I don’t want to wait 6 months for my carrots! But if they didn’t actually HAVE to be delivered — hey — problem solved.

+ This should graduate. Lol you could go the extra mile and mimic farm villes viral gamification mechanics. Invite a friend and you both get a free orange tree. Facebook spam anyone?

Myles Lambert
$ My take on this was that model 4 would be a good starting place because it lends itself to an easy MVP. Gardening as a service.

— Proven market (hundreds of local gardening networks already exist)
 — Proven model (replicate airbnb and adapt for gardening)
 — Leverage existing infrastructure (people who already have and tend to gardens)
 — Initial users/customers have already identified themselves — read: easy marketing (they’re already part of local gardening networks)
 — Basically take what’s currently done over forums and web 1.0 looking websites and build modern software+service that makes it 10x better.

> Step 1: gardening as a service?
> Step X: farming as a service or even as Alex suggested, micro farming as an investment vehicle

* Could go the route of doing a completely vertically integrated business — software, marketing AND farming in-house from the get go. But to me it seems like doing farming in-house increases the costs, risk and time to market by 10x, not to mention reduces the likelihood of follow through.

Dahyu Patel
! This is very inspiring and energizing. I want to make this happen! How can I lead this? I would like to hold a Skype/Hangouts call with everyone interested, build a team, a simple website, use Tim’s land, etc. — and test out the process. I have used several local farmers in New Hampshire and West Virginia to understand their process of taking orders and shipping produce to 60 mile radius. This will allow people to take control of what they put in their body like Tivo for Digestion — bad analogy, I know :)

Francis Pedraza
Had to share this tweet with you all!

“Sometimes I fantasize about being a farmer, but like a sysadmin future farmer who programs tractors to do all the work while I drink bourbon

Bryan J. Brown