New Zealand start-up empowers kiwis to grow their own vegetables, with world-first seed delivery service and digital tools
Kiwis keen to have a green thumb, save money and be more self-reliant can start their own gardening journey with an innovative seed delivery service and a complete digital grow guide with a system unique in the world.
PlantMe subscription box
Complemented by a Planting Diary and Online Marketplace to encourage collaboration and help Kiwis take baby steps in their own backyards to reverse climate change, PlantMe.io is a one-stop digital platform.
“The idea is to encourage more people to cultivate at home as a meaningful climate action while improving nutrition, health and well-being as well as your bank balance,” said PlantMe Founder and CEO , Fliss Roberts.
“We are building crypto rewards that will be a world first to reward individuals for their climate action and biodiversity restoration, and now we are inviting Kiwis to sign up for the platform and be citizen scientists to help us.” to prove what is possible and generate the data.
Wellington-based Fliss came up with the idea for PlantMe in late 2018 to help individuals, families and the wider community start locating food and making a collective impact on our biodiversity and emissions.
With an MBA in sustainability, Fliss, who runs Greenback, a woman-led green tech start-up supporting collective climate action, set to work on creating the PlantMe app. io. With the help of volunteer software developers, many of whom have just graduated from college and eager to apply their newly acquired skills to a business with a purpose, Fliss was able to launch PlantMe in 2019.
PlantMe invites more Kiwis to sign up to have seeds delivered to their homes on a monthly or quarterly basis so they can grow their own fruits and vegetables with confidence. Subscribers are then supported in their gardening journey by digital grow guides, and the choice of seeds is made based on the recipient’s location to ensure optimal growth.
“PlantMe.io makes it easier to grow now. In addition to having everything delivered to the door, we have a plot sharing feature, which is popular for those who have extra space and want to share or rent it with gardeners who may not have not their own land.
The number of Kiwis building home gardens and making the jump to grow their own vegetables has increased rapidly during the 2020 lockdown, and recent lockdowns have seen the trend continue. In New Zealand and Australia, vegetable seed sales left many seed suppliers overwhelmed with orders 10 times higher than usual during the 2020 Level 4 lockdown in 2020.
California study shows backyard gardens can reduce state emissions by 7.8%, which is a significant statistic when, according to UNEP, we need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year over the next decade to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Gardening has also been shown to have a huge positive impact on mental and physical health, which we may all be aware of after ongoing lockdowns.
PlantMe is committed to helping make the planet more sustainable, so that future generations can enjoy, prosper and live without climate anxiety. PlantMe has just added new features showing the climate impact and the savings each subscriber makes when recording plants, progressing and recording harvests with images.
Fliss also focuses on supporting sharing economies. Its app encourages its users to look for other ways to share their love of gardening beyond cultivating their own. From sharing seeds and lovingly grown plants to primo worm casts, or even sharing or renting a plot of vegetables, New Zealanders are encouraged to think differently about how they grow.
“Having access to fresh, affordable food is becoming so important in our changing climate and has become even more important during the pandemic,” said Fliss.
“One in five New Zealanders often don’t know where their next meal will come from, but it doesn’t have to be. We have the capacity to nourish ourselves and nourish our whanau with minimal effort. Nature is really good at growing, we just need to prepare it for success. We want to inspire more people across Aotearoa and around the world to grow, because once you taste the difference and realize how easy and fun it is, you won’t look back! “
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