Farmer -> Coder : Reflections On Building Our First Mobile App

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We’ve been absent from the blog and the social media pages (outside of sharing things I’m reading) for the past 4 months. I’m excited to take a minute to pause and explain where we’ve been.

To start, I want to take you back to November of last year. We started this whole “From Seed to Spoon” with an idea that we wanted to make a positive impact on the world in the face of all the negativity and chaos. We started with our website where we talked about how we started growing food and shared what we’ve learned along the way converting our back yard into food gardens. Then we were fortunate to have the opportunity to pair with our wonderful partners Marcum’s Nursery , Prairie Wind NurserySmart Pots, and many great volunteers for our four children’s gardening festivals that introduced over 500 kids to growing food, the world of butterflies, ladybugs, beans, and most importantly, worm racing! ?

Highlights From Our 2nd Kids Gardening Festival!

However, the thing I’ve felt compelled to do since I first started trying to memorize gardening books was to build the ultimate gardening mobile app. I often felt lost and overwhelmed when I first started growing food. I was always having to pull up the Kindle app on my phone and search through books when I needed to recall information about growing a plant. I also spent a lot of time taking pictures of insects and looking them up to see if they were beneficial or not. What became even more difficult was trying to keep track of which plants I should plant next to each other and which ones to avoid. From the beginning, I’ve had an idea in the back of my mind that I could build a mobile app to solve these problems and many more.

I’ve had a love affair with computers and software since I first got my hands on one as a kid. I’ve worked in the software business since shortly after I graduated from high school; however, I hadn’t done much real coding outside of a few lazily failed attempts to learn. I’d always considered learning to code this mountain that “I’d climb someday when I had time…”.

I started towards learning last year, but didn’t feel like I had the skills to build a mobile app and that I needed someone to partner with me in order to build it. Then I had a lunch with friends from work that changed my thinking. I was complaining to them about not being able to find a partner and they all told me they thought I was ready and that I should jump in and learn. Then a couple of them spent some time afterwards showing me how to get the project set up. That’s basically the moment I went dark from here. All of my time at late nights and early mornings when I couldn’t sleep that used to go towards writing blog posts and editing videos shifted to learning how to build a mobile app and I’ve been peddling as fast as I can towards that goal ever since.

I’m “coming out of my cave” for a bit now and I’m proud to announce that the first version of our mobile app that helps you grow food is now available in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store! This first release will allow you to learn about how to grow, harvest, and prepare over 40 different foods! You can also find out which companion plants go well planted next to each other, as well as identify and learn about how to treat over 30 different garden pests organically! You can also view any blog posts or videos that we’ve posted about each vegetable or pest on our website.

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We struggled with the decision about whether or not we should charge for the app or make it free for a long time. It became clear the more we thought about it what we should do. From the beginning, our goal with From Seed to Spoon has always been to make an impact on the world by helping people learn how to garden on their own. Charging for this app would add a barrier between you and the help. Thanks to your generosity, supporting us by visiting our site, downloading our app, and using the Amazon affiliate links, we do not have to charge, so we are not going to!

If you’d like to support us in our mission, simply use the links within the app to buy things on Amazon. We will get a small percentage of that transaction and it will go towards allowing us to create the really cool features we have in mind for this application. You can also support us simply by sharing our application with someone you know that wants to grow food or by rating and reviewing us in the app stores. I don’t like asking people for money and I have no interest in doing so now. You can help us more than you imagine simply by using our links, sharing our app and blog posts, or writing a review in the app store.

This is just the beginning for us. We have a lot of big ideas about how we can help make the food growing process easier for anyone that wants to grow. We’re excited to release our first version and would love to hear any feedback you have on how we can make things better!

We’ve had a lot of help, feedback, and advice from many friends and family, but I can’t end this without specifically thanking a few people. Carrie was every bit as involved in building the mobile app as I was. One of my favorite things about this experience has been working with her on this app. I found new ways to fall in love with her during this process and it was truly a beautiful experience. She has a way of understanding me and translating that into words that’s better than anyone I’ve known. It’s been such a fun experience to work side-by-side on this with her

Also, my niece Morgan was a huge help on this project. She is one of the craftiest wordsmiths I know and spent many hours helping us make sure this all hopefully makes sense to someone that didn’t know a lot about gardening. My uncle and father in law played the role of testers and had the tedious job of making sure that every button and link works several times over during testing. And lastly, I’d probably still be sitting at a lunch table complaining about not having a partner if not for my team at work. They’ve taken me under their wing over these past few months and have been incredibly patient, encouraging, and have helped to guide my learning path along the way. Thank you to everyone that’s supported us and joined us on this journey and the others that have given us feedback on the app along the way! I’m having a lot of fun right now and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more inspired. We’ll pick back up with blog posts and videos again soon. Until then, I’m off to start building some of the big features we have planned. Stay tuned…

“I’ve never been alive like I am now”

– The Avett Brothers

Never Been Alive

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