Two weeks ago we held a MassRefinement about Urban Farming. We were a diverse group of people, some with extensive knowledge on the subject while some of us brought more enthusiasm than farming skills to the table … Which is a good thing! A mix of people generates the best ideas, we believe, and this bunch of people inspired some great conversations and ideas.
We set out with a challenge: ”How can we convince more people that urban farming is a good idea and help them discover the resources that are out there?” Read on to get the essence of what we talked about.
If any of these ideas inspire you to take action, contact us at email@example.com and we’ll put you in touch with the right people.
We organized all the ideas in different actions; Inform, Recruit and Meet, let’s start by digging into the ideas on how to inform!
First of all we need to inform people about urban farming and show the possibilities. Let people see the joy and fruits of farming at home.
A reality show we’d actually like to watch! The idea is that we can follow a family or several through a season. Every week they get new challenges to solve, like growing herbs inside, making a window farm, build a small green house on the balcony, make and maintain a vermicompost etc. In classic reality makeover style they get help from professionals to get started, and who evaluate their efforts. The point is that as they learn, we the viewers learn as well. People talk about the tv shows they watch, and hopefully a show like this would get people talking about urban farming. And it would make it seem easier to start growing your own food!
The reality show could of course be a big tv-show on national tv, but it could also work online where the families run their own blogs and share their experience through text, pictures and video. The viewers/readers could engage and help out with advice and tips, or ask for help themselves.
Get more urban farms into the face of people. Into the streets. Let people smell the roses. Several people are working to do this, but we feel it needs to be accompanied by more information. How about adding small signs which says something about the plant in question and gives some tips on how you can grow it at home?
Secondly we should recruit people. Make some gateway drugs that get people hooked on growing plants and craving more.
Pass it on
What if everybody who plants and practice urban farming became ambassadors and shared their love and passion for plants? A quite easy and fun way to do it would be to pass on a plant. Just give a plant to a friend who you think would appreciate to take care of it. This will hopefully work like a charm and get your friend hooked on growing plants. Just pass it on.
This could easily be marketed through growing communities like Majobo and so on.
Starterkits for sale
Small and simple kits with a easy growing plant, like cucumber. The package should be accompanied by easy and simple guidance, both text and videos on YouTube that help you out with sowing and caring for your plants.
It’s good to have someone to talk to about your plants, someone who’s in the same situation as you. So we came up with the idea of giving seed buyers access to a sort of maternity group. You buy a bag of seeds and on the bag there’s a unique number you register with on a web site. By doing that you automatically joined with a group of up to nine other people who have bought the same seeds. The web service is a mini social network for urban farmers, specified by type of seed, where they can share experiences, photos and get help and tips from each other.
When we’ve gotten people hooked on growing plants it’s time to leverage their passion and knowledge and to get them to help each other out.
We’d like a meeting point, both digital and physical place, where information on urban farming in Oslo is collected. A place where experts can give guidance and you can find related products, books and courses. A place where people who are interested can become part of a community, where they share knowledge and advice. A place for distribution, information and making connections.
It would be perfect if this also could be the place where Oslo Kooperativ set up their weekly deliveries.
Everyone in the group felt the need for this kind of meeting place, but Annikken went as far as to give it a name, and we love it; “Oslo Mikrodyrkeri” (it’s one of those nontranslateable things, but it’s a play on “microbrewery”)!
In connection to this meeting place there could be a pop-up restaurant where groups of people could bring their own produce and a professional cook would make them a meal with the ingredients they bring. In this way the cook could inspire people with new ways to use the results of their urban farming work.
Thank you to all of you who came, it was a great session! Do share your thoughts and new ideas on facebook.
Hope you can join us for MassRefinement #09: The Future of Toys on Tuesday May 21st.