The global problem we aim to solve is the food supply challenges that will accompany rapid urbanization. To do so, we propose to introduce a modular and DIY indoor farming kit (i.e. Greenbox Kit) that people can put in their homes, together with an application to enable smart features. We will sell the Greenbox Kits and App at a premium to those in developed countries, to give away kits for free to underprivileged communities, such as refugee camps and schools in low-income areas.
By 2050, the world population will reach 9.8 billion, with 70% living in cities. However, 80% of food still comes from rural areas, with high transport and packaging costs when sent to cities. The increase in urban population will put even greater stress on the global food production, and in particular on cities with highly density population and no hinterland. These cities must ramp up their food supply or face issues associated with food scarcity and the lack of food affordability.
While urban farming exists as a solution, it is not yet mainstream due to a myriad of factors, such as (but not limited to): i) lack of knowledge of urban farming practices, ii) lack of space / land, iii) lack of workforce and iv) inadequate support from policy makers
As awareness of the need for urban farming is a first step to addressing many of the factors listed above, our proposed solution will focus on this.
Greenbox (Kit): a modular, DIY, smart urban farming kit with optional add-on components (e.g. solar cell module) for homes. It aims to raise awareness of food processes by bringing the farming experience to urbanites.
Greenbox (App): an app to monitor plants with real life updates, maintain it easily, and join a bigger community via the “Tinder” function, where we match with others to swap vegetables or buy from them.
Business Model: we will charge a premium for those in developed countries to purchase a pre-assembled Greenbox (Kit + App) for their use, so as to fund a cheaper version (i.e. Greenbox Lite) that will be given for free to underprivileged communities. A successful examples of a similar business model is Tom’s Shoes.
Awareness: People in urban areas are disconnected from food production process. By bringing urban farming into homes, we hope to promote responsible food consumption and reduce food wastage.
Community building: To connected with others via the “Tinder” function, where users can trade/buy/sell their produce with those located closest to them and share tips on how to grow their plants.
We intend to make the design and technologies of the Greenbox (Kit + App) available on open source communities. Others can try the prototype for themselves, provide feedback and suggestions, and collectively contribute towards its improvement.
Our competitors are Growkit, Greenopia, Enrich Garden, Click & Grow and Aerogarden. It is difficult to make the technology (for the smart farming kit and app) affordable when urban farming is small scale, due to the lack of economies of scale. We think we will succeed where others have failed because we are relying on the open source community for crowd-sourced innovation.
The Greenbox Lite will provide a source of food and/or income (if crops are sold) to the beneficiaries that it will be given to, such as refugee camps and schools in low income areas. We can measure impact by the number of kits given (as output), and improvement in health/income of our beneficiaries (as outcomes).
We will also contribute to the following SDGs:
Goal 2: No Hunger
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Consumption
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
- Create a prototype of the Greenbox Kit and App for open source community;
- Leverage crowdsourced wisdom to create Greenbox Kit and App that is ready for sale in developed countries;
- Partner with multipliers to connect with underprivileged communities that would benefit from Greenbox Lite.
To further our idea, we will need help with rapid prototyping as well as mentorship and advising