12th February, 2013 · 2 minute read
Growing up in a small town I often had to find creative ways to make money. I had a paper route delivering a fortnightly newspaper, later graduating to delivering circulars (that's where the real money was 😎). As a secondary income during summer I would sell excess fruit and veggies from Mum's garden at the bottom of our driveway. I'd sometimes make around $50 a day doing this, which was huge money for 12 year old me. Of course as I got older I spent more time freelancing and moved away from the mail delivery and produce industries.
In the summer at the end of 2012 it dawned on me that in New Zealand, although we have TradeMe for selling things online there was no website dedicated to facilitating trade of home-grown produce within rural communities. The solution at the time was likely to trade within neighbourhood or community Facebook groups. It sounds niche but that didn't matter to me. At the time I had been learning a lot of PHP best-practices, frameworks, etc. basically a lot of web development and I was keen to start working on a big project. Although the idea wasn't particularly unique and there may not have been a huge demand I wanted to try build a big website for practice, and as a portfolio piece.
Users can sign up and specify their location to see produce listings nearby. They can also post listings by specifying a title, photo and optionally a price. For example, if I’ve harvested too many tomatoes this week I might list a dozen tomatoes by snapping a quick picture and specifying $5. The listing will be visible to all users within a certain distance and they can flick me a message to organise a pick up, or meet up to exchange the goods.
There was no subscription cost or fees to buy and sell. Food Circle was intended to be a community-friendly grassroots type website to serve a specific purpose.
I had created the website in its entirety and from my point of view it had everything it needed to serve the purpose it was designed for. Unfortuntely I never actively launched or advertised Food Circle. It wasn’t necessarily going to be a huge cost, but it would at least be a big effort to get the word out and get people onboard. Also, I was heading to uni in the coming months and it wasn’t something I’d have time to invest in. I’m not sure I’ll take Food Circle any further. I learned an immense amount by developing this project and it’s absolutely helped me when working on large scale projects since.