Problem we are trying to address
Studies estimate that processed food travels over 1,300 miles, and fresh produce travels over 1,500 miles, before being consumed. Data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that 11,379 farmers committed suicide in India in 2016 due to their inability to repay loans mostly taken from landlords and banks.
Solution using Nearby Farms
Eating seasonal and local food that is grown on surrounding farms. Reducing food waste along the supply chain by shortening the path food travels from the farmer’s field to the dinner fork. Supporting local farmers by doing business with them.
One of my friends from Nepal posted a status on Facebook. He was trying to sell some tomatoes that were grown on his farm. 14 hours later, the post had no comments. Then it occurred to me - there are several people out there who prefer eating organic and local food but don't have direct contact with farmers. They want to do their best to reduce food waste but have no means to do so. On the other hand, farmers aren't getting the reach they deserve. Thus, we came up with Nearby Farms.
What it does
Nearby Farms allows you to search for the farmers and their farming land in your locality. When you find a farmer who offers your desired product, you can talk to an automated chat robot to ask for other specifications. Once you are done, the chat robot will notify the farmer about your purchase. Then you can either walk or bike to pick your order. You can also make a list of favorite farmers for the next purchases.
Local farmers are more accountable to their local communities, so you can expect safe and super quality goods. In the process, you also build a relationship with the person who provides your food.
"Nearby Farms, an app for the fresh food search."
How I built it
We built this project using Flutter, Dialogflow (Telegram integration), Google Maps, Firestore, and Node.js The animation was built using Adobe After Effects. Graphics were taken from Freepik.com.
Challenges I ran into
One of the biggest issues was integrating Dialogflow with flutter as the default response was not getting overridden by our fulfillment handler. We also couldn't get the images without integrating our chatbot with some other framework. So, we used Telegram to fix that issue.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We have a working MVP for our demo. We are also developing new ideas and methods to make the app easier, user-friendly, and fully functional.
What I learned
During the development, we came across with different resources on this matter. Our belief has become stronger that this app will not only help the farmers but also the consumers with their health and also the local economy in countries like India and Nepal. We are confident that this app will fill the gaps between the farmers and consumers. Shopping with the help of chatbot is pretty unique and this gives the possibility for the people in the rural areas who are unfamiliar with online shopping an opportunity to talk to the chatbot and order. For that, the chatbot can be integrated with the voice command in regional languages.
What's next for Nearby Farms
Nearby Farms has a bright future. Nowadays, people are more aware and they love the idea of eating food that is grown nearby on surrounding farms. We will be working on implementing additional functionality and launching it in the app store and play store soon. We will also be looking for investors after we prepare the app to get ready to launch.