I like to imagine a world where the vast majority of my food comes from peoples backyards in the community I live. For years I've seen trees beyond fence lines that touch the ground from the sheer weight of their fruit, and yet it's left for the birds or to rot on the ground. I'd much rather eat that fruit than the stale and bland imposters on offer at the local supermarket. That's why we created RipeNear.Me.
I know that I'm not alone - a lot of people yearn for the same opportunity. Oh to be able to see the plant/tree/animal that made your food, and shake the hand of the grower who raised it.
The thing is, I don't want to just imagine it anymore. I want to live it. So what do we need to do to make that a reality? Well... We need your food.
Maybe you have an apricot, pear, lemon or avocado tree in your backyard? It could be a grape, kiwi or passionfruit vine climbing over your fence. How about pumpkins, spinach or chokos rambling through your veggie patch? Or perhaps you've spotted a feral prickly pear or olive tree growing in the wild?
Here's the deal: We need you to list your food on RipeNear.Me, and (assuming you share our passion for edible urban spaces) encourage others to do the same. Without it, foragers like me won't be able to find "enough" food nearby, and that would be a great shame.
At this point you may be thinking "there's not enough food grown in the city to feed everyone, though!". And you'd be right - for now. But that is changing as a byproduct of the trend toward organic and sustainable agriculture practises. By providing a platform to find, swap, buy and sell we're expecting the amount of food grown in urban spaces to multiply.
Think about it: Why don't people currently use the excess space in their yard or neighbourhood to supply locals with food and make a tidy part or full time income? Maybe it never occurred to them that it's possible? Maybe it's not possible without a sure way to find buyers? In any case, RipeNear.Me changes that equation. Soon enough people will find that they can make a part time income supplying mushrooms or salad greens to their community, and others will see this and follow suit. With enough community support councils and local administrators will be encouraged to plant food forests - road verges and islands with fruiting trees and shrubs. It's all possible - but an enormous movement like this starts small. It starts with you!
At this point you might be thinking "It's the wrong season for my _____ - I'll add it later" or "I don't have enough to share" or "I don't want to list something when I'm not sure there's enough to share" or "the birds already took a share of my harvest!" or "my backyard stuff is not pretty!"...
I can relate to all of that... But still, I'd prefer to eat your food.
So, here's why you should add your produce to RipeNear.Me:
- Help create a global food database
- Imagine if every backyard fruit tree or veggie patch were mapped and displayed online! It's not only a cool idea, but there is potential for benefits for global food security and better understanding of climates and growing conditiions suited to different varieties.
- Inspire others to grow and share
- Every pin that is dropped on our map is a symbol that says "homegrown food is the place to be". People want to be part of a movement, and movements happen when a lot of people do a little.
- Nothing says "I love you" more than the gift of nutritious food. Well, okay, maybe somethings do, but it's still a good point. Sharing food with a network of neighbours does so many good things you're bound to feel good about yourself. Plus you'll help make the possibility of self-sustained cities a little bit more possible. A lot of people doing a little makes a big difference.
- Make connections - build community
- Food has a way of uniting people. None more so that the food we each grow and share.
- Manage your produce in one place
- Watch this space!
- Reduce food waste
- While there are still millions of people in the world starving there is really no excuse for allowing fresh produce to go to waste.
- Provide food for charities
- Listing your food for free allows charitable organisations to find and pick the food you don't want, and distribute it to those who need it. If you represent a charity, we'd like to hear from you!
- Gather subscribers before you need them
- It would be really nice if our fruit tree would provide an apricot a day, every day of the year. But it's more likely that you'll get 365 apricots in 2 weeks. What can you do?! .... With your food listed listed on RipeNear.Me you'll be able to gather subscribers 24/7. All you need to do then is mark you apricots as ripe and off to good homes they'll go!
- Make some spare cash
- You can specify a price for your produce, or give it away. Given the choice of paying for sterile commercial fruit or self picking from my neighbours tree, I know which I'd rather spend my money on! A mature tree could be worth hundreds of dollars per season. And of course a grower who expands their output, or grows commercially, stands to generate much more income.
- Cut out the middle man
- Farmers markets are appealing to farmers because they get to keep 100% of the sale price (minus transport, stall, and labor fees). RipeNear.Me is a 24/7 market for you to generate sales!
- It's really cool
- What more do we need to say?
Adding your food costs nothing: you have nothing to lose. It only takes a minute. So will you join in and create a movement? It's my hope that you do. It's something that we're committed to making happen, and we hope to have you on board.
Ready to go? Post your food now!