WHAT IS IPGARTEN?
WHAT IS IPGARTEN?
IPGarten provides an online garden. It occupies a new niche in vegetable gardening. For the first time digital and analog gardening are merged. Existing monitoring and control technologies are being combined innovatively. Each costumer receives one´s personal 16 m² vegetable garden on healthy organic farmland. IPGarten builds the digital bridge between its customers (the ip gardeners) and the farmers, supporting a gentle and regional agriculture. Our customers control their garden via app by webcam and soil sensor. Online they plant their plot of land. Online they can order horticultural services or minimize their effort by use of the autopilot. Our customers receive their individual vegetable 1:1 and freshly harvested.
The technical heart of an IPGarten plot is the multifunctional IP pylon. It contains a mini-computer and relays for opening and closing water valves, controlling the camera, sensors for collecting soil condition data and plant growth status and more. The technology provided by IPGarten supports the smooth image and data communication between producer and consumer. The consumer retains the full overview of horticultural activities, individual water consumption and crop statistics. This creates a strong identification with the product and enhances the appreciation of digital offerings and organic vegetable growing.
WHY SHOULD I BECOME AN IP GARDENER?
As an IP gardener, you can produce your own delicious vegetables at a fair price while making the world a little better. Small-scale farming structures are under serious threat as they are displaced by industrial agriculture, the cultivation involves great risks (eg non-compliance with DIN – German institute for standardization – or drought) and the markets are difficult to reach. Thanks to IPGarten, farmers can produce according to demand and sell vegetables guaranteed, even before they are grown – regardless of its form and compliance with the standards. The waste of food and the associated CO2 emissions are significantly reduced. The risk of crop failure is partly passed on to the consumer and responsible action is strengthened.
The project therefore uses the opportunities of digitization as a bridge between urban and rural life. The consumer is brought back closer to the producer (the cooperating farmer) through the interactive participation in the production process. A mutual understanding of needs arises and trust is encouraged. This motivates the producer to improve his quality and the consumer is willing to pay a higher price. The principle of the „solidary square meter“ protects individual IP gardeners (consumers) from total losses. This promotes responsibility for „others“. Every single IP gardener has to hand over one-sixteenth of her/his own harvest to the harmed of the community if necessary. IP gardeners are motivated to exchange their vegetables at the central pick up point in Berlin with others if they do not want to be supplied directly. In this way conversations „over the garden fence“ can arise and social interaction is strengthened.
The delivery takes place with reusable deposit crates and without further packing or extensive cleaning of the vegetables. People outside of Berlin and Potsdam can get their vegetables delivered by post in an ecological box until local pick-up points have been set up aswell in their region.
IPGarten as a biotope is characterized by comparatively high biodiversity, tracks of wild flowers and biotope networks that are used by insects, birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. In addition, the automation of all forms of management is inevitably limited by the small size of the garden plots. People can not simply be rationalized away. A gentle tillage is required and high-tech machines are dispensable.
IPGarten offers a new market through the connection to its own online shop. This way, the vegetable crates can be additionally filled with products from the region, which saves costs and transport. As a result, farmers want to participate by providing land and infrastructure as well as by ecological management. In addition to the urgently needed ecological change in the agricultural sector, IPGarten is creating jobs in regions where people primarily have to move away or are left on their own without meaningful tasks. IPGarten produces a high quality food: healthy, tasty, organic and affordable for everyone.
Through its approach, IPGarten can make a significant contribution to the transformation to a future-oriented and climatologically adapted, regional agriculture.
MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY
Martin Kruszka can call himself the inventor of the world’s first online garden. As early as 2014, the idea grew out of the personal desire to be able to control and irrigate its own garden 100 km away from Berlin. Research on online games such as Farmville supported his assumption that there is a growing market for online-based gardening. In the following years together with a growing team prototypes were built and tested in the premises of the Berlin Malzfabrik and in 2016 the company was founded as a limited liability company. By 2018, business model and corporate design have been steadily developed. IPGarten has set up a professional administration and an interdisciplinary team until today. So far, IPGarten has gone through three successful growing and harvesting seasons. A group of five investors was able to invest about one million Euros.
IPGarten was funded by federal funds in 2017 (Model project “Land(auf)Schwung” of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)) publication „Digitale Perspektiven für das Land“.
Students at the Institute for Psychology of the University of Magdeburg (Prof. Ellen Matthies) have examined the IPGarten-project for its environmental-psychological effects. The results of two master’s theses show that online-based gardening leads to an increase in the food appreciation of IP gardeners (our customers) and that our customers want to garden online again in the future. IPGarten is also used for educational purposes at at least one Berlin school (Platanus School/ documentation on Deutsche Welle TV). IPGarten profits from the increasing popularity in the press as well as in publications (Hectarium-video).
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