2014-06-09

Co.Exist

Ripe Near Me Lets Your Neighbors Subscribe To Your Plants

Once a tree is registered with the service, subscribers get status updates about your fruit (not ripe yet, almost ripe, come and get it), and can buy what they want when it's ready.

Say you have an orange tree that produces more fruit than you can eat. RipeNearMe, a mapping platform for local produce, is a new easy way to make sure those oranges don't go to waste.

Once a tree is registered for the site, neighbors can subscribe to status updates (not ripe yet, almost ripe, come and get it), and buy oranges when they're ready or perhaps swap them for their own produce. "We didn't want food to go to waste," says co-founder Alastair Martin. "The tree is there 24-7, so we want to keep it on the map."

Sharing local produce is an age-old practice, but it's probably never been associated with so many Internet buzzwords before. RipeNearMe turns your trees and plants into subscribe-able resources and improves the share-ability of vegetables and fruits.

The Australian team behind it have created a growing inventory of food. The listings are time-limited to growing seasons. You start a few months out, then keep on keeping people informed. People can also make friends through the platform and follow each other's activity feeds. So far, 3,000+ people have signed up, the company says. Most listings are in Australia and New Zealand, but the site has a growing following in the U.S. and Canada.

Despite the small pool of users so far, Martin, who runs the site with his wife, says they've managed to get people who actually live near each other connecting. "It's ultra local. It's down the road. You walk the dog and get dinner sort of stuff."

The Martins, who charge nothing to use the site, are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to continue development. Plans include better notification tools and a hub for sharing other resources like compost. See the campaign page here.

RipeNearMe is a neat, elegant, mainstream platform that could appeal to all kinds of people. And, best of all, it has potential to cut waste, save money, and build community.

[Image: Orange tree via Shutterstock]

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