App connects consumers and growers

Farmish provides platform to connect local food producers and customers.
129
A screenshot of the Farmish app. Courtesy Terra Osman

West Michigan web developer and gardener Terra Osman is reaping the benefits of a homegrown idea for building up local food systems.

Osman on March 15 officially launched Farmish, a free app she built that lets users connect to buy and sell homegrown produce, backyard chicken eggs, garden supplies, plants, trees, honey and more.

Farmish operates similarly to Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Users can search for items they want to purchase and schedule a meetup with the seller to make the purchase offline, or they can sell their items to other users by creating a seven-day listing at no cost. 

Osman’s idea for Farmish came about during the pandemic, when she noticed an uptick in households like hers wanting to buy local, while at the same time, millions of individuals in the U.S. took up gardening as a hobby.

For many families, buying local food used to feel like a luxury or “something extra” to get from the farmers market, but at some point, that changed, Osman said.

Osman

“Local food feels like a necessity to a lot of families now, and being able to know where that food is produced and have direct access to it without relying on something essential like food coming from two planes, a truck and three warehouses away before it gets to their table (is) … fueling the growth,” she said. “People feel like this is a necessity, and it aligns with what they’re doing in their family lifestyle if they started to grow and produce their own food.”

Osman said she created Farmish because she discovered there wasn’t an easy way to find local growers except by spending hours on social media searching hashtags and postings.

“I thought, ‘It should not be this hard to find those resources right in our communities,’” Osman said.

She started taking notes in preparation for developing her own solution, then submitted her proposal to Start Garden for the 2021 100 Ideas competition. She was one of the 100 who received $1,000 to build out her idea and compete on Demo Day in September 2021. Although she didn’t end up winning, she said going through the process helped her refine her idea. She started to build an audience on TikTok, then decided to develop the app herself rather hiring an agency.

Osman launched Farmish on the App Store and in Google Play in March, and it had 1,000 users within the first week.

She then won Start Garden’s April 5×5 Night, which came with a prize of $5,000 to help her continue growing the app.

Osman said her next moves will include engaging an agency to update the app to enterprise-level and expand its reach outside the U.S. to Canada.

The $14.99-a-month premium feature — which allows sellers to upgrade to a public storefront with up to 10 active listings they can keep longer than the seven-day mark — is a work in progress, she said. Premium lets sellers create a profile with aggregated listings — a virtual “farm store” they can link to on their social media pages or include on business cards.

Currently, Farmish has a few users in the free trial of the premium feature, and she said it will be free to nonprofits that align with Farmish’s mission to “shrink the supply chain and build out local food systems.”

Osman also is in talks with home, farm and garden brands about setting up in-app advertising.

Although she has heard of instances where restaurant workers used the app to buy local produce for their employers, she envisions Farmish will continue to have a grower-to-consumer, rather than business-to-business, focus.

As of late May, Farmish had garnered over 100,000 downloads and 86,000 unique users, and about 7%-10% of those used the app to create listings as opposed to only using it to browse. As it was still early in the growing season for many U.S. farmers at that time, Osman said she expected the percentage of users creating listings to continue increasing.

A banner ad created to show off Farmish’s app. Courtesy Farmish

The next phase of Osman’s work on the app also will include gathering user input on whether they would like to see in-app transactions become part of the app rather than all purchases happening offline.

“Once we have more of a direct line of communication to those paid users, making sure that we can meet their needs and what they are, we for sure would like to offer that as an option, but still keeping that offline transaction available, because I want people to be able to barter and trade if they want and not have to go through a certain payment processor to make that happen,” she said.

“The more access points we can help people create, the better.”

More information about Farmish is at getfarmish.com.

Facebook Comments