A few months ago I started to explore the idea of turning out of my father’s garden and his passion for gardening an educational food camp in the middle of the nature.
Has been a journey since then. I’ve connected with interesting people and I’ve done some customer discovery based on the Papa’s Garden concept. The feedback was very interesting and people liked the idea. Some of them were ready to try and even to pay for the experience. I felt great when people were telling me about their eating habits and I was happy to find out that some of my friends and people I know, had made some good decisions regarding their eating habits. Well done, fellows!
Since then, I started to learn more about the food industry and urban farming. Beside the fact that urban farming is being a new market trend, the facts and figures of the food industry are shocking. Just to name a few of my sources:
- TED Talks and simply search for the ‘food’ key word
- Tristram Stuart and his great project WASTE
- FAO – Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
- National Geographic – The future of Food Project
- Last but not least, one of my favourites, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and his amazing projects. He also has an incredible TED Talk.
Since I came back to Romania I have been fully dedicating to the Papa’s Garden concept. My wish was to build an eco house in the garden in order to provide a sterling countryside living experience. But more than, to create a natural environment that could educate and create awareness about our eating and food consumption habits and where the food comes from. The concept is not just about gardening it’s about the living and eating experience itself and learning what food is really about.
I’ve connected with entrepreneurs and architects specialised in building eco houses. I’ve discovered that Romania has an incredible potential for eco-tourism since we have such an amazing country, culture and tradition.
However, I contacted a few of them. They liked the idea and the concept itself but after a few meetings I faced another side of the project.
- Papers and signatures. My family has been using the land for more than 25 years now. My father has been taking care of it since I was a little kid but the issue is that he doesn’t have the right of using the land with economical purpose nor to build a house for making profit. So now, probably a lawyer and a notary could help me to better understand how to overcome the issue.
- After a good talk with a few architects interested in developing the idea further, we came out with the conclusion that my first budget was under estimated. My family doesn’t have the financial founds for building an eco house therefore I was planning to crowd found the money. At the first glance, there could be an initial investment of at least 100K. A few friends has suggested me to access the EU funds and check their investments criteria.
- The house. From the architectural perspective building an eco house in that place could be a challenge but a wonderful project. The garden is situated across the Danube Delta River basically on the other side of Tulcea our hometown. There is a certain type of soil that makes the construction more expensive with approx. 20% compared with a house build on a more condensed soil.
Now, here are some of my biggest challenges to overcome. Nothing impossible so far but everything require time. This kind of details makes out of Papa’s Garden a complex and definitely not a cheap project.
The good part is that so far I’ve reached some of the most important objectives that helped me to create the real side of such a project.
I’ve discovered that to partner with architects it’s not hard but I have been asked to prove my ability of getting founded and I might get good deals for some great work due to the overall concept of the project.
A few weeks ago I made a presentation with the Papa’s Garden story where I added some pictures of the garden from last summer. Please, check it out
Now, the question is how long it will take to solve the first issue and what would be the minimum viable product that could help me to get some validation this summer.