The main goal of GemüseAckerdemie is to teach children how to grow their own vegetables and about where their food comes from. With a year long program offered to Pre-Schools and School teachers, children work on the field as part of their curriculum and receive lessons on food production.
Although the program is very fulfilling and both teachers and children are able to get the most of it, GemüseAckerdemie doesn't want to stop the learning there. As part of the "family program" I helped them develop a product that can allow parents to continue learning and teaching their children about food production after the program in the school is completed.
The biggest challenges
I worked on the family program with other employees in GemüseAckerdemie. My role was to develop the first item that we could distribute to families. For this, we needed post-cards with vouchers and samples of the product which would be given out to children who completed one year of the program. In addition to this, I prepared a certificate so the children could have an official document of having finished the program and hand it to the their parents along with the voucher and product sample to sign up to the program online.
The main challenge for me was to find a product that was cheap enough to distribute as a starter package for free but that also fulfilled the purpose of encouraging parents to continue the learning process with kids at home. I made a deep analysis of all the existing products adequate for growing vegetables at home, in indoor conditions, and sketched a few ideas of what the GemüseAckerdemie prototype could look like.
I contacted many suppliers and tried to find out what the best solution would be based on the concepts I developed. Our original plan was to create our own kit, so we had to make sure it was possible to source all the elements we needed (seeds, pots, soil) in order to develop a prototype. I wanted to create something unique and appealing for city parents and children to be excited to try the kit at home. After talking to many suppliers and making financial calculations, we decided that the easiest solution would be to use an already existing model, called Mein Woody, as a test run to see how parents would react. Mein Woody is an existing planting kit that consists of a coconut pot, seeds, an instruction booklet and soil for anyone to easily plant something indoors or on a balcony.
I designed the packaging for the custome made Mein Woody for GemüseAckerdemie along with the instruction booklet and the seeds packaging. On the last day of the agriculture year, half of the parents received the voucher to obtain a free sample for the Mein Woody product. This was handed to children along with a certificate for having completed the program. The other half of the parents that participated in the program received a different voucher and a seed package with instructions to grow the salad in a "do-it-yourself" way. The online shop to retrieve the voucher was launched at the same time to test which voucher converted better. Based on these numbers, GemüseAckerdemie will decide how to go forth with the project.
My biggest take-away from this project was learning how to organize and plan ahead to be able to have the desired product in time. We spent a long time researching and deciding what the best product could be and once we settled on Mein Woody, the designs had to be delivered fast in order to be in time for the ending ceremony at the schools. If we had more time to plan ahead, we might have been able to form our own kit instead of having to rely on the existing Mein Woody sample. Since this is just a test to see how it performs, however, the numbers will be a good indicator of how accurate or not our choice to go with the Mein Woody product was.