Make Home Farming Easy and Effortless
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for his lifetime.
Blokgarden will be the last team featured on our FoodTechies blog. As they say, “last but not least,” Blokgarden brought to Feeding The Future hackathon a new view for Home Farming. They participated in the challenges with Forum Virium and Ambitious Africa and became the winner for the latter challenge.
There are currently six people in Blokgarden team: Tuomas, Jarno, Rene, Michel, Niilo and Oskari. The six members connected as they all had experience in urban planning and farming before the hackathon and wanted to create a new solution for growing food at home.
Explaining this idea, Co-Founder Tuomas said in the pitch, “Our relationship with nature is becoming ever more distant and obscured. Space for cultivation is diminishing while our population and the demand for food is growing. That’s why we need greener cities and better food for people living in cities.”
In the beginning, Tuomas and Rene tried to grow the plants at home by themselves and failed a couple of times. But, Tuomas admitted, it was a really nice and interesting experience to see the plants grow, and take away lessons for the next time. He kept thinking, if they did all the things right, they could create a material kit for others to follow and gain better results.
The team started sharing these ideas with other people and many were interested. Together with the growing kit, an application was built using IOT technology to help track and measure moisture. That was how Blokgarden was born.
However, things did not go as well as they planned. By February 2020, the materials and MVP were ready for sale. But the Corona pandemic occurred, and they ended up losing many orders. But the team did not give up. They moved their shift to focus on selling the products online by creating a webshop. And in just a short time, all pre-planned quota of 112 boxes was sold out.
In May, all the growth boxes were delivered to customers in Helsinki, Tampere, and Lahti. These boxes contained all the things the customers need to grow veggies: growth boxes, soil and ready planted seedlings and tools for growing. Customers get help to nursing the plants from the Blokgarden mobile application in form of weekly instructions, videos and tasks. At the end of the season, the team collects the boxes back to clean and to recycle the soil for the next season.
The great feedback from the first customers encouraged Blokgarden to sign up for Feeding The Future Hackathon to introduce the solution and make a positive change in the world. Especially with the challenge with Ambitious Africa, they believed these growth boxes would bring food and income for people in need. Feeding The Future has provided them with new insights, new inspiration and a new network, and really pushes them to make things happen. The community on Discord is what they enjoy the most about the Hackathon, since before this event there was not much information about the food tech industry online.
In the near future, Blokgarden is experimenting on improving the growth box for the. next season They would also love to try new exotic plants and develop a service model for indoor growing. They have an indoor growing site in Hiedanranta Tyyppaamo to test how new technology can improve urban agriculture.
We wish Blokgarden success in achieving their goals. Together we can change the world!