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237. Seed Voyage | Dushan Batrovic | Toronto, Canada
12th July 2018 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:41:59

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I have an innovative entrepreneur who’s doing something I know listeners are gonna love, Mike’s been bugging me to have something like and I love because I am the eater.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I say the little french twist on the name Seed Voyage

Rookie gardener

I started growing some delicious heirloom tomatoes and peppers. I’m generally an office guy.

Business executive and tech

Have some some younger kids, we moved out to a place where we had a little more room, so I planted a new 

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

Yeah, those were my first memories of gardening. I come from a European background and we tended to have a garden when I was a kid. 

delicious food out of the garden

most of my life I lived in the city and didn’t have a lot of property. Recently we moved out to more of the suburbs, the first opportunity to have a little bit of land, I thought let’s relive my youth. 

How did you learn how to garden organically?

I think back then it was just doing what made sense, I mean everything was organic till you start to screw it up with different chemicals. 

I don’t think my parents did anything, back then, I think they were just buying some good seeds planting it in good soil and it all worked out very well.

I’m really a novice garden

  • buying heirloom seeds
  • good quality triple mix
  • nutrients
  • no crazy chemicals

I try not to overcomplicate things with my gardening

mother nature

Definitely a thread to my show has been healthy soil. Tat’s something people talk about it. Let’s talk about Seed Voyage and explain what it is.

So really it comes from a personal interest

I had my first garden since I was a kid there are some things that came to mind!

These are some of the most delicious foods in my life!

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I have no skill gardening

mother nature can do here

I thought to myself I should be eating way more

  • backyard produce
  • ultra local
  • that’s fresh
  • clean
  • a lot more of it!
  • more from a variety
  • limited by our garden size
  • can’t eat a whole lot
  • personal consumers

thought to myself it would be great to eat way more stuff but on the flip side I was way impressed by my yields

  • mainly tomatoes and peppers and herbs
  • these cherokee purple tomateos were amazing and 
  • oxcart tomatoes

science geek

I measured my yields which was more then 60lbs of tomatoes

on 4 plants which was more then I could handle

I enjoyed my tomatoes and wanted to sell some of my delicious surplus and buy what my neighbors are growing!

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A lot of people grow heirloom and just a variety of things

things I was amazed by

great to create a little bit of a local community so that when you are able to buy and sell within a few miles of your house you are really getting access to hundreds of varieties you can’t get at your local grocery store not even at a farmer’s market!

concept

Then a connection place where you could buy and sell

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Seed Voyage 

simple interface

then it was for me

  • fun using it
  • something that’s too difficult
  • talking about groceries you’re not going to spend the same amount of effort when going out to buy a car

initial thought

we need something that’s really simple

pricing simplicity

On the site everything is offered for $5

can get complicated

  • per pound
  • per ounce
  • number of tomatoes and a bunch

The grower will offer what they believe is fair value for $5

buyers will either accept or not

The market will dictate

notification based system

I didn’t want to create another storefront to figure out what’s available in my area

When a user goes in to they 

  • signs up
  • input your address
  • produce your growing

as a grower

or an eater

something

grower wakes up

sees they have a bunch

matching preferences

you have a great batch of zucchini within a couple of blocks of your house are you interested in buying it?

You’ve really thought about this, reminds me of Apple their clean simplistic you know how everything  has to have so much white space. I think people will like this. This is what our challenge is when we have 10 extra pounds of carrots, the grocery store isn’t gonna buy it, the health food store.

I also think I would not make a good CSA customer because I don’t want to commit to being at a certain place each week, or the farmer’s market.

my thought too, I think were on the same page

  • for me
  • I wanted to create a ad hock
  • yields
  • Us Hobby growers can’t commit to selling stuff

I might have a great tomato crop, I might not have a great tomato crop. 

I want to have the option, I have a bunch of extras, it sends out the notification, so it works for both sides

You don’t want to throw this out amazing food! And lots of people in your community want it! 

I’ve been a tech guy for a long time! I come at it from the tech perspective. 

I guess I’m looking at it as I mean we’re in a time where people get picked up by Ubers, etc and but just have you had any people say anything about I don’t want strangers coming to my house?

The concept is a little bit different

There might be some people won’t be pleased about

there’s a certain level of trust involved from both sides if you think about it. 

For me I have gotten some requests on how to find a middle ground

Let’s have a pick up spot like at the local church parking lot. But for me as an eater, I need to trust that the food I am buying from a reputable place, then I might have some seeds of doubt about where this food is coming from.

for me it’s a simple thing

those who don’t have to deal with people and an exchange of cash

you don’t have to.

I put in the site, when you issue on the site, you can say the vegetables are by the door or garage, simply put on my driveway

People will put click on the button

electronically

no cash exchange at the door

I actually think that actually it will be more like a meet up, where people are going to find other like minded people and they might even show them their garden. 

very local community

people who are generally neighbors

level of comfort there

certainly

that’s a great point

great emails from the users on the site

veteran farmer he’s been gardening for 50 years out of PA. He said let people know I’m happy to chat and give some of expertise and my wisdom over the years what works and what doesn’t. 

  • great community
  • going over and picking up
  • getting a piece of that knowledge

Here’s how you find the best tasting tomatoes

I think so too, and like I said, Mike’s been clamering for something to do with our extra produce for years, like you said if 4 tomato plants are giving you 60 lbs of tomatoes. I used to have a questions about what do you do with all those extra produce that seems to come on at the same time!

social community

  • It’s free signup up until a sale is made
  • 5% fee on the transaction
  • If the grower sells $20 worth of goods he receives $19.

Awesome! And they can pay with their credit card because so many days who has cash on them anymore? I notice FB is taking money, people keep asking is facebook going down? I’m like no way they aren’t going anywhere. 

don’t pay

electronic money exchange

You just enter your credit card info once. It’s all handled by Stripe

  • very secure
  • authenticated
  • Seed Voyage will never see credit card company

You input the info once the money is in your account

And the funds show up in your grower account so you can

  • cash out
  • take that money
  • put it in your bank account

but if you have a ton of zuc and eggplant but your peppers didn’t do anything so you want to buy peppers you can just do that.

I also think it’s a great way for people to connect.

  • A great way to sample things!
  • The things I am growing this year is
  • Even if you are a hard core grower

You will find that you bet your neighbors are growing something and you’ll find it, it’s great! 

And you know my husband is growing lima beans, this year that we have never grown, he’s growing as a cover crop to add nutrients to the soil! I mean fava beans. I know a lot of my listeners are the kind of people who have been doing this for a long time and have a garden about the size of their backyard.

I would just say that

  • so far this is our first season
  • our first year that we have launched
  • The feedback is really good this year
  • free signup.
  • Feel free to use or use at some point down the road

One things I never wanted to create was an ad based model based on clicks to the website

One advantage you go in and input your address and produce preferences

You don’t have to act again, and then you will get a notification hopefully in August there’s some cool stuff in your neighborhood!

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so far were pleased to say we’re getting hundreds of users a month and we are in 35 states in the US 

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Provences in Canada

Great response and looking forward to seeing how spring and summer are going to pan out.

So living in Montana, my neighborhood is going to be more like 65 miles where as my mom in NY is going to have a neighborhood of about 10 blocks.

Yes when you input your address you input your radius of interest

within 2 kilometers

5-10-20

that’s where we’re at now

I was also thinking about it would be nice for me, when you’re traveling on vacation can you change your area? 

yeah it’s really easy

It’s a web-based app

  • didn’t create an android or iphone app it’s just web-based
  • any mobile phone
  • pc
  • really easy to go to the site

region of interest and then you’ll start to receive notifications in real time based on what you updated

How specific can it be, do you pick lettuce or do you enter I’m looking for romaine lettuce, and green leaf lettuce,or heirloom tomatoes etc…

so for now

I’ve set it up where the categories are a little broader

  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • peppers

That’s what’s used to create that match.

Tomatoes

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