Since its realease in June 2009, Facebook’s Farmville has become one the most successful online games ever, with more than one million users getting caught every week at its peak times, reflecting the romantic idea of farming is well placed in the minds of urbanites. Nowadays, its popularity has started to decrease but some entrepreneurs and associations might have found a gold mine inspired by the innocent harvesting game.
Le verdure del mio orto (greens from my garden, in Italian) is a small azienda from Northern Italy run by the offspring of a traditional farmer’s family who saw the potential of putting togheter 2.0 web techniques and respectful agriculture. Leaving aside the methods of industrial farming which, let’s face it, grows cheap and beautiful produce that lacks in taste and that harhsly wounds our planet, they apply every single aspect of organic farming to their crops. Chemicals are absoluetly banned and substituted by green manure, herbs that keep harmful insects away and rotary cultivation to get effective land usage; alongside highly efficient drip irrigation and almost zero mile policy in transportation make this business idea one of the greenest in the old continent.
How amazing would it be for a city dweller to receive an eco-basket full of fresh tasty organic vegetables at home every single week, picked 24 hours earlier? Well, dream no more. With a very easy intuitive guided interface this site allow us to select the size of the land we want them to grow for us, as well as the varieties – from more than 40 to choose- and quantities of veggies and fruits we love the most. There’s merely one single restriction: only seasonal produce can be grown; another step into traditional regardful farming. Unlike other web sites which offer you pre-designed baskets, if you don’t like aubergines or tomatoes, you’ll never have them! To add even more fun, a sign claiming your property or a funny scarecrow can be placed in your own garden.
Is there a downside? Price would be: more than 850 € a year for two or three people. But let’s give it a second thought; there’s no better investment than the one made in our health and, according to several studies regarding crop quality, conventional farming is no longer able to bring enough nutrients to our table. So organic eating may be the wisest long-term investment of our life.
Community-supported Agriculture, or CSA, was born during the 60’s in central Europe but it’s in this century that it’s become a boom thanks to constant effort and organic food movements awareness. Thankfully, there are a large number of projects being undertaken in America providing communities with fresh organic vegetables. The deal is simple: you pay a fee which is used for seeds, tools and labour – average prices range from $450 to $650 for a full season– to become a shareholder. In exchange, you receive weekly a basket of fresh organic vegetables grown nearby. As a community project, volunteering is greatly accepted – e.g. you can either work occasionaly or cede a part of your backyard -and get the produce with discounts or no payment at all. Its popularity has allowed them to expand the products they grow, extending to flowers, eggs, cheese or live stock and to approach new ideas, such as personalization of the basket contents or pedal transportation to avoid fossil fueling. It seems the sky is the limit for CSAs!
Born as an online experiment, MyFarm, a UK National Trust association, has become a major project regarding conservancy of natural environments and traditional farming in the British Isles, with more than 10.000 participants. My farm is a charitable organization which carries out lots of programmes concerning food sustainability, farming education, climate change or fair trade, but also works as a CSA for local businesses, nursing homes and schools. As their team explains, majority rules in MyFarm, because of its throughout online discussion and monthly voting that decisions and real actions take place in their farm in Cambridgeshire. Want to know what happens with your vote? Well, have a peek through the site’s webcam or if you’re getting tired of just going virtual, plan a trip to the farm.