Startup #4 – (or – haven’t decided)

My idea is an online community where people are able to grow and maintain a garden. Users could log onto the site and sign up for a small plot of land. You pick the seeds, plant them, water them, and watch them grow. You could also chat with the neighboring “farmers” to discuss strategies. Once the vegetables grow big enough, you can enter the county fair, where the biggest and best pumpkins and cukes win blue ribbon prizes.

Sounds lame, right? Here’s the catch: instead of this being a fake virtual garden, it would be a REAL garden! Real life gardeners would sign up to host a patch (say a 5×5 meter plot of land) and online users would each get a square meter to work with. Whatever the users chose for the gardener to plant, they would do it. If the online gardener didn’t click the water button, the real gardener would skip the real H20 for the day.  At the end of the season, there would be the grand finale event – the County Fair!  After the winners are annouched, the gardener would harvest the veggies and ship them to the online user (for a small fee, of course).

One reason I like this idea is because it appeals to two distinct groups within a specific genre – people who garden and people who wish they had a garden but don’t have the resources (land, time, etc..).  It’s also got that Tamagatchi-like addictive side to it, and you get that oh-so-trendy social networking effect to boot.  There’s also something cool about dedicating yourself to something online for a long period of time and having something tangible as a reward for your efforts.

Know of any sites that take this “online users controling offline users” approach?  Does a social network for gardeners make you throw up in your mouth just a little?  Anyone else ridiculously excited about this?


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