SmallFolders are flatpack urban gardening products inspired by African and Latin American farmers and their hacks to gardening challenges. Read about how SmallFolders came into fruition via the collaboration of farmers with Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation (CPF) in conjunction with Those Design Studio. And, read on to find out how to win your very own SmallFolder Vertical Garden which comes with some amazing info & tips on gardening direct from the fields! The vertical garden is super easy to use, and can be used to grow food in the toughest of environments. Bring the magic of nature straight from the fields to your balcony or windowsill!
Smallholder farmers innovate. It is what they do. They can take useless, discarded materials and turn them into exciting new farming techniques, raise kitchen gardens to supplement their income, or create a beehive out of a discarded oil barrel. They understand plants and crops, and how to grow them against all the odds, on even the tiniest plots of land.
We are Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation (CPF), and we work with 280,000 small scale farmers across Africa and Latin America. Our primary mission is to help these farmers develop solutions to the various challenges they face. Threats such as climate change, price volatility and harmful pests can be incredibly damaging to smallholders and their communities. However, ‘necessity breeds invention’ and we believe that these farmers know what they are doing – all they need is the support and resources to make this possible, and an opportunity to share their ideas.
After hosting an event called the ‘Innovation Marketplace’ with our network in Kenya, we found out just how relevant farmers’ innovations can be. At the event farmers showcased their creative and most innovative inventions: including vertical gardens, beehives and bug traps to keep pests from eating their crops. We immediately recognized how these ideas were incredibly relevant to people living in cities with diminishing access to space for gardening.
Motivated by this idea we set about bringing smallholders’ knowledge to Western audiences by sharing the ideas, sketches and notes from the farmers with London-based product designers. The designers at Those then adapted, tested and developed products ready for urban living.
This has now taken shape as SmallFolders, which was launched on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo last week. Backers of the SmallFolders campaign can choose from ten different perks, and have the choice of getting their hands on a vertical garden, bug trap, beehive, the whole set, and even a trip of a lifetime to meet the coffee farmers on our coffee safari! All of these SmallFolders products are simple but designed for the mass market and are super quick and easy for everyone to set-up – no engineering degree required!
Any profits raised from the crowdfunding campaign will go directly back into our programs supporting farmers to develop and test innovations for small scale farming techniques, and will enable work to be carried out supporting farmers to build resilience to climate change and diversify their incomes. You can see our full circle model below:
SmallFolders is an exciting model that can help us all perfect our urban garden with advice from the experts, and give farmers the support and resources do what they do best – innovate!
CPF’s campaign launched on Indiegogo on 18th November, and will run for 40 days: http://igg.me/at/smallfolders/x/12716695
To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:
Why are innovations such as the SmallFolder Vertical Garden important?
Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See Rules for more information.)
UPDATE 1/3/2016: Congratulations to Suzanne Howe, the winner of the Smallfolders giveaway!