Tiny Farms – Organic farming through digital networking

Tiny Farms – Organic farming through digital networking

"The demand for organic food is growing. Nevertheless, the regional supply for a city like Berlin is low. By creating many Tiny Farms, we are expanding the organic land use and thus also the supply." - Tiny Farms

The founders of Tiny Farms: Tobias Leiber (left) and Jabob Fels (right). (Photo: Jule Frommelt)

As part of the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge, ProjectTogether is looking for solutions for climate-positive agriculture and nutrition. Tiny Farms aims at providing one of these solutions: The in-house software “growlist” connects mini farms with a size of 0.5 hectares or more. This network creates a kind of virtual large-scale farm which, in contrast to real large-scale farms, can operate more land-efficiently and with less impact on the soil. The goal of the 2020 founded company, is to meet the growing demand in ecologically and regionally produced food through broad social participation.

Digital cooperation for organic production

The digital cooperation of several Tiny Farmers offers several advantages. Smaller fields can be cultivated with minimal use of agricultural equipment, which reduces the consumption of fossil fuels. Soils and resources are thus less stressed. Since regional cultivation also shortens supply chains and transport routes, this way of producing protects the climate in two ways.

Since each Tiny Farmer can operate as an independent business, organic vegetables are produced in a greater variety. At the same time the farmers can coordinate with each other through the Tiny Farms network and plan both cultivation and harvesting together. This joint and decentralised production helps to meet the demand for organic food, especially from large cities.

The Tiny Farms team (Photo: Tiny Farms)

The demand for Tiny Farms’ products seems to evident. After all, interest in organic food has grown significantly in recent years. According to a recent survey, the proportion of Germans who buy more organic than conventional food has increased by 10%: from 14% in 2017 to 24%t in 2020. Furthermore, the number of people who do not consume organic products at all has almost halved (PwC).

A fundamental part of the Tiny Farms strategy is a very low entry point for prospective farmers. The Tiny Farms Academy supports and accompanies career changers without any previous experience in their first steps with the necessary know-how – from cultivation planning and plant bed structure to harvesting times. In addition, Tiny Farms provides them with suitable agricultural land if they do not own any themselves. The Pioneers Programme for future Tiny Farmers, which started in March 2021, brings the start-up a decisive step closer to its vision of playing a central role in supplying cities with regional organic products.

About the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge

In the spirit of the European Green Deal, the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge has sought 100+ approaches to climate-positive agriculture and nutrition. For the challenge, the ProjectTogether team and partners drew on the experience and networks from the successful #WirVsVirus hackathon. Around 28,000 people took part in the world’s largest hackathon within 48 hours and worked together on over 1,500 solutions to the challenges of our time. Over 150 projects subsequently made their way into implementation.

Similarly, the Farm-Food-Climate-Challenge offers a platform for innovative initiatives from society that want to create sustainable development along the entire value chain of the agricultural and food sector. Designers of tomorrow’s ecologically and economically sustainable world were invited to submit their ideas and solutions by the end of July 2020. Together with experts and partners from business, politics and civil society, ideas were then tested and validated in practice for nine months. Like the #WirVsVirus Hackathon, the Challenge is supported by the Vodafone Institute.