Global Farming Industries presented an interesting challenge from the very beginning.
It was an ambitious project (to put it mildly) that neither I nor its founder, Gigi Manders, knew quite how to approach in the beginning. How to create the first Sustainable Agricultural Village in Asia that would not only help the local economy by reversing the extreme damage done to the soil of the land by harsh pesticides and farming methods but also provide jobs after the training in new eco friendly farming methods while the first such village would be built around the farm.
The village will include housing units for all farm employees, personnel and their families; schools for their children and the children of the village and nearby (2) villages and continuing adult education options for the employees, personnel and their partners/spouses. A state-of-the-art hospital will be built on the grounds, the first one in over 5 decades, which will service not only the farm's personnel and their families but also the village and nearby villages that might need its services. Doctors and surgeons from Manilla will be on premises bi-weekly.
Numerous facilities will also be constructed as the project gets underway such entertainment, recreational and sports facilities as well as an orphanage to provide a safe haven for all children in need in an area infamous for its high poverty, broken families and abandoned children living in horrific conditions. Our goal is to eradicate poverty and illiteracy, heal the soil with organic and sustainable ways to ensure harvests for generations to come and eventually have a self-sustained, trained, healthy and educated community.
It became clear early on that the user experience would be double sided: first and foremost, it would be created for the farmers and their families, helping them in training (best pesticides, list of crops, information (medical and other)) but it woudl also have to engage the public to not only get them involved (crop farming contests etc), keep them up to date, educate them on sustainable agriculture and be completely transparent about where their input, suggestions and help was needed.
With that in mind, all designs had to be clean, modern but with a bit of a throwback feel to them, informative without being preachy and easy to navigate. The apps we are currently creating are meant to assist in a multitude of ways. We are creating soil check apps, (organic) spray apps for the crops to the more traditional weather/maps/information apps; information and farming equipment apps and training videos on best practices plus apps for all ages to get involved-educational, informative and many games and contests. It is our goal for the website and all its extensions to become a crucial part of this new community. The hospital will also be accessible online with information, q&a and the ability to make appointments online. All employees, personnel and family members will be given hand-held devices.
The project has already gotten the seal of approval by the Philippine government and has attracted the attention of the nation's finest architects, agriculturists, scientists, doctors and members of academia as well as their vow of involvement and assistance.