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Thinking about Food Kits

Here are some ways farming is becoming a service that is delivered directly to homeowners:

  • Local farmers that sell their produce via subscription (CSAs).  That’s already well underway.
  • Local farmers that create and manage foodscapes.  Basically, instead of paying for landscaping, we pay for foodscaping.  I’ve met and interviewed people doing this and they are doing very well economically (it’s one of the few ways a farmer can make in excess of $20 an hour).
  • Food kits delivered to your home.  Basically, it’s a product that makes it possible to grow difficult/unusual organic foods at home.  This isn’t a new concept, but it’s a concept that is undergoing reinvention.

What does a food kit look like?   Here’s a mushroom growing kit from the entrepreneur Ryan Stansbury at LoGrocal. Food Kit

NOTE:  I supported Ryan’s company when it successfully launched on Kickstarter earlier this year.  Additionally, Shlok visited the house he converted into a mushroom micro-business to do an interview.   The good news is he delivered on his Kickstarter.  I got the kit in the mail over the weekend and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

The big questions?

  • What types of food are best grown using kits (rather than as starts/seed)?
  • Can this scale?  Repeated deliveries and/or number of modules in production.
  • Can this be done in a way that is cost competitive?

I like these kits and I do think there is an opportunity for them in a home’s foodscape.  I’m still grappling with these questions.  Feedback is appreciated.

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Discussion — One Response

  • Nathan November 4, 2014 on 3:08 am

    Lots of innovation on this “food kit” front (as well as product/service diversification) is coming out of youth/urban farming educational programs. There is insufficient (and/or bureaucratically slow) grant/donated funding available, so the programs are monetizing everything they can get their hands on. I helped start-up iGrow Whatever You Like (fb.com/iGrowYouth), a youth empowerment urban ag program, and we sold any/everything: finished compost, raised bed frames, home-based urban ag services, “iGrow Buckets,” (which are self-watering container gardens– in three models: “Just Add Water,” “Ready to Plant,” and “DIY”), seedlings, plants, produce, workshops, worm castings (i.e., value-added compost). Anyway, investigate Growing Hope in Ypsilanti, MI. Amanda, their Exec Dir is an entrepreneur from the word go. Also Truly Living Well in Atlanta. Growing Power you know. GrowMemphis is innovating ag-entrepreneur training and networked financing. Austin’s Sustainable Food System is researching drought-resistant growing. Denver Urban Gardens is partnering with the Housing Authority on a joint urban farming collective. Systems, products, services, infrastructural models… these educational urban ag programs are the current coffee houses of micro-ag innovation.

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