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Comment by Earl Mardle on February 2, 2010 at 12:46pm
One of the things that is very different about Ooooby is that it is as much a producer collective as it is an information exchange and potential marketplace.

While I'm keen on the trading side, I think Ooooby could nail home its advantage and locavore credentials by enabling us not only to trade surpluses locally, but to share growing information locally. It is something my wife suggested as we started planning our orchard planting, to check with neighbours about what we should plant given their own resources, which we already share, so that we don't double up unnecessarily.

I take to heart the point on slide 19 that if you consider Ooooby-ers as an industry, then what we are planting and how much of it and how well it is growing and what the expected yields are as well as shared local information about viability and culture of certain crops etc etc will become critical business information, both for ourselves and for those who want to buy our produce.

We might be growing 20 or 50 square metres of garden but we will be part of a virtual farm of 500 square metres distributed across 30 or 40 properties in the neighbourhood. Only by being able to collaborate to plan what and when we are going to grow something will we become a credible food source rather than an optional extra. There is no point in all of us filling our gardens with tomatoes for example when there may be a shortage of brassicas developing, or root vegetables.

Perhaps this could give rise to some form of open futures market where any surpluses have willing buyers while not locking us into contracts to supply specific quantities of specific produce - we tried that model and its breaking down.

We also need to be able to aggregate physical surpluses in some simple, systematic way. For example, I have several kilos of surplus tomatoes at the moment and my neighbour has pears almost ripe, grapes and quinces only a week away as well. It might make sense for us to aggregate our produce and go to Grey Lynn while it would not make sense for either of us to travel that far individually.

So, what I'm suggesting is an online garden diary that we could update by Twitter perhaps or a desktop widget that would aggregate and distribute that information enabling everyone to see what is being produced and to track its performance as a way to plan and predict the Ooooby business development.

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