Last year, due to personal circumstances, I had to put my plans for Urbsly on hold. But I never gave up on the idea of making it much easier for people to grow their own food, and for gardeners to more easily discover the varieties that would grow best for them in their local conditions. In fact, the need for the sort of tools I had in mind has only become more urgent.
OpenFire has their own twist on crowdfunding: besides focusing on projects with a public benefit angle (such that backers can potentially be considered donors as well as customers), the idea is to support projects on an ongoing basis via a series of individually fundable goals, rather than one big bang.
Urbsly’s first crowdfunded goal is to complete the work I had started to build a data set of plant varieties, and then release it publicly as an open seed data catalog. Other goals will follow.
The target funding ($3000) for this first goal will be enough to compile information from a few trusted seed and plant sources, focusing initially on at least several hundred tomato varieties. If the goal’s target funding is exceeded, the additional funds will be used to expand the coverage to other popular plant types, such as cucumbers, basil, squashes, lettuce, melons, kale, sweet and hot peppers, etc.
Most importantly, though, is that the data will be released for anyone to use and build upon, including any other startups in the food and gardening space.
So, if, like me, you want to help build a food system that isn’t dominated by a few large agribiotech companies, please contribute to the campaign. ANY amount helps, as every contribution is a show of public support for banding together to keep food choices in the hands of farmers and gardeners.