The Agrarian Revolution Begins

Hi everybody! Luke here. On a recent trip to Switzerland, I noticed a peculiar thing. On the way out of Zurich, my train passed through acres and acres of what looked like tiny, 10×20′ garden plots. Some of them had tiny little sheds next to them, and a few had lawn chairs with overall-sporting Swiss in them, smoking. It looked like a scene straight out of the Shire — you know, those two hobbits, the farmer and his wife, who scowl disapprovingly at Gandalf when he passes by in his cart full of fireworks? I thought, huh, it’s a community garden of some sort.

Turns out, these were Schreberg√§rten — a national institution originally designed in the mid-19th century to get Swiss and German youth interested in the outdoors, which later became a significant part of war efforts (self-sufficiency ftw!). It was community gardening like I’d never seen. Anyone can sign up for one of these little plots for a nominal fee, and then its theirs to do with as they see fit. It’s commonplace even for wealthy Zurich bankers, who at the end of the workday will put on their gardening gloves and go tend their vegetable patch and decompress. Positively idyllic, I thought, and, hmm… how can we bring this to the States?

It was an idea I couldn’t get out of my mind, and when I talked about it with people in SF, it seemed like an interesting problem to solve with (what else) an app. The “sharing economy” is really taking off for spare bedrooms and cars, so why not garden spaces?