Boatanic (boat + botanic) is a novel concept that combines existing know-how to create an unprecedented solution for growing food within the inner city. The idea is simple: take an existing tourist boat, take out the tourists, add seeds and water regularly, finally ensure the boat gets plenty of sunshine and then harvest regularly!OK, it may not be that simple, but we believe the Boatanic is within reach of plenty of cities that offer a combination of navigable waterways (canals or rivers), a good climate (not too warm or too hot) and plenty of localvores (people who seek out locally produced food).
You’ve got to start somewhere and since we are based in the Netherlands and Amsterdam already has very suitable boats we believe this would provide the perfect setting for the first Boatanic. The boat will provide a limited supply (500 Kg) of year round fruit, vegetables and herbs. This will be complimented with a conventional out-of-town greenhouse in order to boost the supply according to the demand. This greenhouse will also double as the Boatanic’s berth where it can stay overnight and charge up its batteries.
This means Boatanic has a double function: growing as well as distributing city-grown fruit, vegetables and herbs. Since the yield will be relatively small we will focus on a niche market. This will consist in growing speciality fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be sold for marginally higher prices.
The business model will be three-tiered:
1. Retail to customers in close proximity to canals based on subscription
2. Wholesale to restaurants
3. Educational programs to teach schoolchildren about growing food on-board
1 and 2 : retail and wholesale delivery by bike courier for short trips between the boat and the customer
3 : the educational program will consist of one hour on-board demonstrations and children participation.
Customers can track the Boatanic’s produce and location via its website and iPhone app. The website will refresh daily and show the day’s herbs, fruits and vegetables that are available for purchase. By picking, choosing and placing in the basket you make your order. The iPhone App would provide the location of the Boatanic at all times for direct incidental sales from the boat (a chalkboard menu would advertise the pick of the day).
Wholesale and retail customers will be emailed monthly newsletters which will provide a list of the months projected crops and their delivery. The newsletter will also provide an order form to be able to select preferences for the coming month. Suggestions with menus are provided for the subscription users.