The main concept of “Grow a Pear” is the utilization of Geographic Information Systems for crowdsourced stewardship of the Earth. By bringing “Grow a Pear” into reality, our team is striving to ensure that everyone has access to gardens and local produce. As mundane as gardening may seem, its effects are far reaching: cutting the carbon footprint of shipping food across the world, revamping culture through the growth of local foods, and creating stronger communities. Our goal is to ensure that fresh, locally grown produce is a staple in everyone’s diet, not a luxury.

What it does

Our users will be split into three categories: keepers—the land owners, cultivators—the gardeners, and pear bankers—the food bankers.

  1. The keepers will have the ability to create a point plot on their land, indicating what they would like to grow there and what tools and resources they have available.
  2. Cultivators will be able to browse plots open for gardening in their area. Once they find a plot they would like to garden, they can contact the land owner via email to discuss ideas for the plot, negotiate the share of the harvest, and set up a schedule for when they can work on the garden.
  3. Pear bankers will be able to indicate whether their establishment is in need of produce, provide a list of what they can use, and contact land owners and gardeners to provide the necessary amount of fresh produce for the people they serve.

Further, the first screen of the app features a map showing how much food has been donated to food banks from individual gardens. This reminds users of the good that the app is doing.

“Grow a Pear” grows with a community to make them more sustainable, and more connected with one another.

How we built it

We used ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Android 10.2.9 and ArcGIS Online to develop a mobile app. Most of the data is expected to be crowdsourced, so we had to create a sample dataset during the development process. We modeled the app after the functionality of Collector for ArcGIS, taking its ability to capture data in the field and using that as the inspiration for building a community that loves gardening and local produce.

We also created a brand/visual identity for the app, inspired by storybook illustrations. We recognize that our app is an ideal, promoting collective gardening. It also calls upon old ideas of sharing land. We thought we could harness this idea and use this identity to inspire users to make that ideal a reality. When deploying the brand, we would distribute merchandise like canvas tote bags to interest potential users in our brand and goal. We created digital illustrations using a tablet connected to Photoshop to serve as the icons and symbology in the app and maps!

Challenges we ran into

  • Updating maps in ArcGIS Online without Collector
  • Building a crowdsourced database
  • Learning SDKs and ArcGIS online
  • Letting user filter map based on needs
  • Finding data to use to build the app

What's next for Grow A Pear

  • Drawing plots as a polygons with sub-plots
  • Connecting to a database of best plants per given area— scientific way to tell users what to plant
  • Plant guide feature that gives users information about the in-season crops
  • User-generated reviews for plots
  • Improved keeper-cultivator communication -- add GeoNet chat feature using Jive API
  • Improved UI with more storybook qualities

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