Adopte ma tomate allows people who no longer have the time or the energy to maintain their garden to meet individuals who wish to do some gardening and grow some vegetables. As well as creating social ties and reducing isolation; the aim is also to make people more aware of the quality of their food and to produce food in a more responsible way. This therefore helps promotes responsible modes of production and consumption as well as promoting health and well-being via a healthier lifestyle and a way of creating social contacts.
Toulouse Business School
Want to make life-changing encounters while gardening? Adopte ma tomate is the answer: it’s an app which allows gardeners at heart to find people who no longer have the time or the energy to look after their garden but who enjoy homegrown food. Octavia also adds ‘there are tools, functionalities which enables us to form and organise ourselves in teams. As we have noticed whilst working with our users: we don’t have the time to garden alone, but we are willing. We have found the solution to put in place a tool so that several people can work on a garden, which requires some organisation.’
Adopte ma tomate was founded in 2017 by Octavia Ivan during a hackathon in Toulouse along with 7 other team members : it was during this intense week-end that the idea, the name and logo of Adopte ma tomate emerged.
After the event, the other team members pursued their own projects. Which therefore meant that Octavia had to work alone, which at first proved difficult. Luckily, her husband adopted the project and had the skills necessary to create the website and Octavia managed to develop its visibility. Octavia even shared a striking anecdote: ‘one day, I went to Starbucks and there was a wall on which you could place advertisements and I placed my business card which I had only just received. It was meant as a joke. The next day, a journalist from 20 Minutes called me in order to write an article about Adopte ma tomate. That’s what started everything. There are many touching stories with Adopte ma tomate, that’s why it’s still standing today and still going strong.”
The inspiration for Adopte ma tomate came from Octavia's childhood in Romania: Ceausescu was still in power until she was 7 years old and she remembered how valuable it could be to own a garden in order to be able to have some food.
'It is linked to my origins. I grew up in Romania during the communist period, everything was rationed, there wasn’t much in the shops,' confided Octavia. ‘It was a bit like in Venezuela today; sometimes you had the money, but there wasn’t anything to buy. I wasn’t aware of how fortunate I was to have a garden and animals. It was only when I arrived in Toulouse that I realized their true worth.' She had also come across a town in England where there were tomatoes being grown in the streets, anyone could help themselves. Surprised by the the lack of taste of the tomatoes and their year-round availability in the commercial centres, she suddenly had a rush of inspiration. Octavia then took part in the Hackathon during which the idea for Adopte ma tomate emerged.
‘It was a slow start as I had a lot of work to do on myself, as i was not ready to have a business,' says Octavia.
What is important to the business leader is to make people more conscientious about the wholesomeness of their food and the effort required to grow it. She hopes Adopte ma tomate will make people turn to more natural alternatives and make them more aware of their seasonality. It must be very rewarding to be able to enjoy food that comes straight from our garden!
As well as being more environmentally responsible, the idea was also to promote social contact and encourage people to share and interact with one another.
In the short term, it has allowed people to meet up and share gardens: Nowadays, Adopte ma tomate has 535 users and 31 shared gardens, including one in Belgium.
In the long run it expects to be able to earn money thanks to contracts with companies who use Adopte ma tomate for their unused land.
It should therefore have a positive environmental, social and economic impact.
Adopte ma tomate hopes to obtain contracts with companies in order to give them the organisational tools necessary to allow employees to cultivate the grounds belonging to the company which are not being used. The objective is to have a turnover of 50 000 euros with about 10 clients and 1000 users. These figures are achievable, according to Octavia Ivan, and can even be exceeded. They also plan to develop the app in France, then Europe and the rest of the world, especially in Canada and the US, as they already have urban gardening activities.
They started off as a simplified joint-stock company but may turn it into a "entreprise d'utilité publique et éthique", a status which requires the company to be ethical and useful to the community (has to respect the environment, the employees, the suppliers...). Transparency is a key value here and future employees are expected to be trustworthy: if the business leader is not present, business is expected to continue as usual. Octavia wishes the employees to be like a family, she does not want a vertical hierarchy: employees will not be associates but people who believe in the mission of the company and want to help the firm evolve.
The expected benefits for the business are new partnerships with companies, Adopte ma tomate also allows the development of the sharing economy and urban gardening activities. It will also create employment as the business leader expects the business to grow and to require hiring employees.
‘Some strong bonds have been created. We realized that we also had an intergenerational impact as most of the owners were elderly people who transmit their know-how, which allows them to feel useful and values their experience.’
As well as allowing users to eat tasty local vegetables, Octavia has developed partnerships enabling Adopte ma tomate to offer users local organic composts. ‘Gardening allows us to be more aware of what we’re eating because we understand the work involved behind everything and we turn back towards nature. Our aim is also to make people more aware of this.’
Adopte ma tomate is therefore beneficial to both society and the environment. It is a positive action for the social aspects as it represents a way for individuals to socialize and share knowledge. It even promotes intergenerational solidarity and reduces the isolation of the elderly. Adopte ma tomate is also beneficial for the environment as it develops green areas in cities by using unused spaces. It also encourages a more environmentally conscious way of producing food and in the long run should help people turn away from mass-produced food from shops.
Octavia Ivan, co-founder of Adopte ma tomate
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Toulouse, Occitanie, FR
Business Website: https://www.adoptematomate.com/
Year Founded: 2017
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Adopte ma tomate is an app which allows owners to share their garden with people who wish to do some gardening and grow vegetables. This allows consumers to make social contacts as well as making them more aware of the quality of their food.