237. Seed Voyage | Dushan Batrovic | Toronto, Canada

237. Seed Voyage Founder Dushan Batrovic

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I have an innovative entrepreneur who’s doing something I know listeners are gonna love, Mike’s been bugging me to have something like and I love because I am the eater.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I say the little french twist on the name Seed Voyage

Rookie gardener

I started growing some delicious heirloom tomatoes and peppers. I’m generally an office guy.

Business executive and tech

Have some some younger kids, we moved out to a place where we had a little more room, so I planted a new 

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

Yeah, those were my first memories of gardening. I come from a European background and we tended to have a garden when I was a kid. 

delicious food out of the garden

most of my life I lived in the city and didn’t have a lot of property. Recently we moved out to more of the suburbs, the first opportunity to have a little bit of land, I thought let’s relive my youth. 

How did you learn how to garden organically?

I think back then it was just doing what made sense, I mean everything was organic till you start to screw it up with different chemicals. 

I don’t think my parents did anything, back then, I think they were just buying some good seeds planting it in good soil and it all worked out very well.

I’m really a novice garden

  • buying heirloom seeds
  • good quality triple mix
  • nutrients
  • no crazy chemicals

I try not to overcomplicate things with my gardening

mother nature

Definitely a thread to my show has been healthy soil. Tat’s something people talk about it. Let’s talk about Seed Voyage and explain what it is.

So really it comes from a personal interest

I had my first garden since I was a kid there are some things that came to mind!

These are some of the most delicious foods in my life!

Dushan6.jpg

I have no skill gardening

mother nature can do here

I thought to myself I should be eating way more

  • backyard produce
  • ultra local
  • that’s fresh
  • clean
  • a lot more of it!
  • more from a variety
  • limited by our garden size
  • can’t eat a whole lot
  • personal consumers

thought to myself it would be great to eat way more stuff but on the flip side I was way impressed by my yields

  • mainly tomatoes and peppers and herbs
  • these cherokee purple tomateos were amazing and 
  • oxcart tomatoes

science geek

I measured my yields which was more then 60lbs of tomatoes

on 4 plants which was more then I could handle

I enjoyed my tomatoes and wanted to sell some of my delicious surplus and buy what my neighbors are growing!

Dushan2.jpg

A lot of people grow heirloom and just a variety of things

things I was amazed by

great to create a little bit of a local community so that when you are able to buy and sell within a few miles of your house you are really getting access to hundreds of varieties you can’t get at your local grocery store not even at a farmer’s market!

concept

Then a connection place where you could buy and sell

Phone.jpg

Seed Voyage 

simple interface

then it was for me

  • fun using it
  • something that’s too difficult
  • talking about groceries you’re not going to spend the same amount of effort when going out to buy a car

initial thought

we need something that’s really simple

pricing simplicity

On the site everything is offered for $5

can get complicated

  • per pound
  • per ounce
  • number of tomatoes and a bunch

The grower will offer what they believe is fair value for $5

buyers will either accept or not

The market will dictate

notification based system

I didn’t want to create another storefront to figure out what’s available in my area

When a user goes in to they 

  • signs up
  • input your address
  • produce your growing

as a grower

or an eater

something

grower wakes up

sees they have a bunch

matching preferences

you have a great batch of zucchini within a couple of blocks of your house are you interested in buying it?

You’ve really thought about this, reminds me of Apple their clean simplistic you know how everything  has to have so much white space. I think people will like this. This is what our challenge is when we have 10 extra pounds of carrots, the grocery store isn’t gonna buy it, the health food store.

I also think I would not make a good CSA customer because I don’t want to commit to being at a certain place each week, or the farmer’s market.

my thought too, I think were on the same page

  • for me
  • I wanted to create a ad hock
  • yields
  • Us Hobby growers can’t commit to selling stuff

I might have a great tomato crop, I might not have a great tomato crop. 

I want to have the option, I have a bunch of extras, it sends out the notification, so it works for both sides

You don’t want to throw this out amazing food! And lots of people in your community want it! 

I’ve been a tech guy for a long time! I come at it from the tech perspective. 

I guess I’m looking at it as I mean we’re in a time where people get picked up by Ubers, etc and but just have you had any people say anything about I don’t want strangers coming to my house?

The concept is a little bit different

There might be some people won’t be pleased about

there’s a certain level of trust involved from both sides if you think about it. 

For me I have gotten some requests on how to find a middle ground

Let’s have a pick up spot like at the local church parking lot. But for me as an eater, I need to trust that the food I am buying from a reputable place, then I might have some seeds of doubt about where this food is coming from.

for me it’s a simple thing

those who don’t have to deal with people and an exchange of cash

you don’t have to.

I put in the site, when you issue on the site, you can say the vegetables are by the door or garage, simply put on my driveway

People will put click on the button

electronically

no cash exchange at the door

I actually think that actually it will be more like a meet up, where people are going to find other like minded people and they might even show them their garden. 

very local community

people who are generally neighbors

level of comfort there

certainly

that’s a great point

great emails from the users on the site

veteran farmer he’s been gardening for 50 years out of PA. He said let people know I’m happy to chat and give some of expertise and my wisdom over the years what works and what doesn’t. 

  • great community
  • going over and picking up
  • getting a piece of that knowledge

Here’s how you find the best tasting tomatoes

I think so too, and like I said, Mike’s been clamering for something to do with our extra produce for years, like you said if 4 tomato plants are giving you 60 lbs of tomatoes. I used to have a questions about what do you do with all those extra produce that seems to come on at the same time!

social community

  • It’s free signup up until a sale is made
  • 5% fee on the transaction
  • If the grower sells $20 worth of goods he receives $19.

Awesome! And they can pay with their credit card because so many days who has cash on them anymore? I notice FB is taking money, people keep asking is facebook going down? I’m like no way they aren’t going anywhere. 

don’t pay

electronic money exchange

You just enter your credit card info once. It’s all handled by Stripe

  • very secure
  • authenticated
  • Seed Voyage will never see credit card company

You input the info once the money is in your account

And the funds show up in your grower account so you can

  • cash out
  • take that money
  • put it in your bank account

but if you have a ton of zuc and eggplant but your peppers didn’t do anything so you want to buy peppers you can just do that.

I also think it’s a great way for people to connect.

  • A great way to sample things!
  • The things I am growing this year is
  • Even if you are a hard core grower

You will find that you bet your neighbors are growing something and you’ll find it, it’s great! 

And you know my husband is growing lima beans, this year that we have never grown, he’s growing as a cover crop to add nutrients to the soil! I mean fava beans. I know a lot of my listeners are the kind of people who have been doing this for a long time and have a garden about the size of their backyard.

I would just say that

  • so far this is our first season
  • our first year that we have launched
  • The feedback is really good this year
  • free signup.
  • Feel free to use or use at some point down the road

One things I never wanted to create was an ad based model based on clicks to the website

One advantage you go in and input your address and produce preferences

You don’t have to act again, and then you will get a notification hopefully in August there’s some cool stuff in your neighborhood!

SeedVoyageStates.jpg

so far were pleased to say we’re getting hundreds of users a month and we are in 35 states in the US 

SEedVoyageProvences.jpg

Provences in Canada

Great response and looking forward to seeing how spring and summer are going to pan out.

So living in Montana, my neighborhood is going to be more like 65 miles where as my mom in NY is going to have a neighborhood of about 10 blocks.

Yes when you input your address you input your radius of interest

within 2 kilometers

5-10-20

that’s where we’re at now

I was also thinking about it would be nice for me, when you’re traveling on vacation can you change your area? 

yeah it’s really easy

It’s a web-based app

  • didn’t create an android or iphone app it’s just web-based
  • any mobile phone
  • pc
  • really easy to go to the site

region of interest and then you’ll start to receive notifications in real time based on what you updated

How specific can it be, do you pick lettuce or do you enter I’m looking for romaine lettuce, and green leaf lettuce,or heirloom tomatoes etc…

so for now

I’ve set it up where the categories are a little broader

  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • peppers

That’s what’s used to create that match.

Tomatoes

There’s also an open dialogue box for the grower to input additional information about specify in the alert

  • Heriloom
  • organic
  • cherokee purple

whatever it is a little more specifity, that will be in the alert, but the platform is built around the bigger category of veggies

Once we get to the stage where there’s millions of people and we have lots of transactions.

Actually my original thought is you won’t want to go in an pick too many things anyway. I thank you have this all figured out!

Let’s Get to the Root of Things!

Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden?

It’s been fun. I guess watering is probably the thing. Watering is the thing, I don’t mind picking out the weeds and clipping my tomatoes, probably watering.

Yeah it’s time consuming!

I’d like to build an irrigation system at some point.

Last year Mike got this job like 20 miles from our house, to help this woman build her garden, and she had a really simple system. I think it was the kind of system you could do on one 4×10 bed. I’m pretty sure she ordered it online. The thing that surprised me was the size of the hoses were like tiny like the with of your pinkie finger.

I always thought you would have to have a big system but this was good for any size beds. In our garden, Mike has built these really cool pathways and sometimes it’s hard to drag the hose around the carrots etc. 

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?

I guess the anticipation of the fruit that is just about right! Looking at it and thinking “Tomorrow’s the day!”

Nobody’s said that! I love that! While you are out there watering, I am always thinking Mike you are the most patient person. 

Sometimes I get asked about the Seed Voyage name. For me that’s where the name came from because you start these seeds in March and it’s a long journey and adventure and you hope you have ripe fruit in August.

I finally realized that a marathon is not about the race day, it’s really all the training you do ahead of time so you can just crush that last day in celebration!

What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?

I would say, I usually get most of my advice from my dad!

He gives me new advice ever time I see him! He is a wealth of new and interesting information, probably from a  different region in the world, it’s probably a different time too, so it’s not what you would probably see on YouTube. 

A lot of people say you reaching out to other gardeners is some of the best ways to find information especially if you are learning about your specific area. 

A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.

I guess the shovel

The shovel’s pretty indespensible!

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

My garden produce is so good so I like to make a nice fresh salad

  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • fresh basil

don’t want to do too much with it

eat it fresh

  • warm from the sun
  • picked
  • put in a pot

put in my stomach within about 10 minutes after it’s been picked

splash of olive pepper

I think a lot of people agree! I know asparagus at our house never make it up to the house, they just go right in my mouth.

A favorite internet resource?

I probably most often go to YouTube. 

I think there’s so much variety areas of interests and expertise. Idk if I’ve found one that answers them all.

A lot of people say Johnnies but I’ve been doing this podcast workshop book and it asks me for 3 sources of gardening information I go to Peaceful Valley a lot! 

A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?

the one that I have just recently purchased

vareity

trying different things

VEggieGArdenREmixNiki Jabbour’s Veggie Garden Remix: 224 New Plants to Shake Up Your Garden and Add Variety, Flavor, and Fun

rings a bell

how to grow 250 different varieties in your garden.

YearRoundVegGardener

We have her Year Round Seasonal Book.

If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?

My business advice has always been finding something you enjoy doing and not necessarily have it be not profit driven out of the gate.

Make sure it is enjoyable and fun and gives you extra reason to wake up in the morning!

For me personally there are a lot of good businesses out there an app to occupy people’s time that wouldn’t wake me up in the morning.

  • interest in better food
  • kids being more interested in how to eat properly and
  • what things are supposed to taste like

All those additional benefits go along way in creating a business that inspires people and more then having that profit driven mindset the more community and society mindset. 

I like that it reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice in  Big Magic and all these different articles and stories she wrote while she was doing other things and practicing her craft and working as a bartender etc because she didn’t want to put that pressure on her creativity.

Final question- if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

Well, I’l focus on the Seed Voyage side because that’s one where my personal interest wanted to eat tastier and fresher food. But as I have talked to different people in the industry they all come at it from a different place

segment out there 

That feels that this type of a concept

  • peer to peer could have some far reaching ramifications
  • perhaps when people eat more delicious food and
  • understand what a tomato to taste like
  • puts pressure on the industry for the 
  • key criteria for a commercial tomatoes

Is that it’s red and round but has never been bread for nutritious flavor

So we don’t end up needing all the extra salts and sugars and fats

There’s the greenhouse gas angle

transportation trucks

lawnmowers

LAwns.jpg

I wrote this blog post about all this lawn out there

some portion of that the lawn is largest crop in the US was put back into something productive like food gardens

  • therapuetuic and mental angle
  • local prosperity
  • local area community to the benefit of society.

a lot of different angles

peer-to-peer space

  • ubers
  • air b n b
  • in the food world

potential long term benefits to society

fingers crossed, maybe we’ll all be getting a big chunk of our produce that way!

I think one thing my listeners are very interested in being productive theres that whole land piece you can have an earth friendly yard that’s looks beautiful and bringing in pollinators you don’t have to worry about producing foods maybe youre right by the farmer’s market and there’s so much you can do besides about growing grass! 

I love the way it’s gonna help our country because there is so much fear and that is so decisive and this connects people. 

Do you have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

I would say hopefully for those who haven’t taken the plunge. Connect with a neighbor and find someone with backyard produce when you do I would be surprised if you weren’t highly motivated to start your own garden!

  • trying is step one
  • share your produce
  • share through Seed Voyage or share with your friends.
  • tough to go back to the grocery store after you have backyard produce. 

I agree 1000% our last hen died this winter and we haven’t had eggs and I am going crazy and sure the produce is amazing!

Seed Voyage Website

How do we connect with you?

Seedvoyage.com

The Organic Gardener Podcast is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

If you like what you heard on the Organic Gardener Podcast we’d love it if you’d give us review and hopefully a 5 star rating on iTunes so other gardeners can find us and listen to. Just click on the link here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s