Creating a Community Garden App: Gardens on the Go

children take a look at a garden.

From dirt to dynamic data collection. Our community gardens need to be able to collect data in a new way from a younger, more technology savvy group. Help us create an app for gardens that is as fun as Pokemon Go but encourages learning and education.

Project description

The BRRAlliance Inc. is a community based not-for-profit located in the northwest corner of the City of Buffalo. We are an economically challenged community within food desert. We are currently operating 4 community gardens, three of them providing food for our neighbors. These gardens also provide passive play spaces given the lack of playgrounds in our area, a safe community space for meetings or activities, and a space for educational opportunities by the BRRAlliance to a community that may not have knowledge about topics like environmental science, horticulture or botany.

We are looking for the development of an app that could be used by our community and volunteers to improve the interaction with our gardens. We are looking at this being a phase 1 version 1 activity with the most basic app to help us learn the capabilities of our garden from both a managerial and visitor perspective.

We would like to start with on the app:

  • how and where to access our gardens
  • how to travel in between them
  • what type of foods are in them
  • what is being picked when
  • what functions the garden could offer visitors, including educational opportunities for kids
  • when our head volunteers will be of service in the gardens

We believe this app will open the gardens to a whole new group of individuals. Our hope is to open communication: visitor to volunteers to organization, in an easier way than we currently have now. We would like to make the app as well as this opportunity as fun as possible!! We care about our community and think this app could improve the connection of the garden with its residents. Come create with us!

Project outcome

A version 1 app that can be tested and will include:

  • An app function that can log steps within the garden as well as steps from one site to another
  • An app function that can capture visitor check-ins and time spent in the gardens 
  • An app function that can help log and identify foods in our gardens including ability to take pictures and save on the app in a gallery 
  • An app function that can log quantities of foods picked that can equate to simple terms like "handful of beans" or "half a basket of cherry tomatoes" and then convert them into established qualitative measurements 
  • An app that provides fun goals to encourage use (perhaps rewards for different levels of participation in the garden). Must be simple to use for all ages.
  • An app that would be able to show the community how much a community garden can bring into their area and to their wellness, whether it be measurements of produce grown for the year to different activities documented. We want the community to have proof in qualitative numbers of what they have accomplished by participating.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Short (less than a semester; 0-2 months)
Start time Winter (December), Spring (January/February)
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Volunteer
Who is eligible Anyone with app-creation experience

Core partners

Project mentor

Christina Heath

Administrative Director

Experiential Learning Network

24 Capen Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8177


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Research on age appropriate apps for groups 5-25
  • Research on Google Maps of where our gardens are and how they link together
  • Research of our BRRAlliance website and Facebook page
  • Research on basic food in our gardens and its nutritional value. (We will provide a list of foods in our gardens.) 
  • At least one meeting with our team at our location to understand our community.