My name is Joseph Sinclair and I am currently a student studying a Bachelor of Computer Science at Monash University. I have always been a very health conscience person and enjoyed helping others less fortunate than myself. Combining my passion for health, helping others and technical skills, I began a project (which started as just a small assignment) that has grown into something that I have dedicated almost all of my time towards. A completed prototype is currently on the app store but only available for iOS. I am in need of funds to further develop Sprout while also create an Android version so that it is accessible to everyone.
If you are interested in checking out the current iOS version of Sprout - click here
“Healthy food is too expensive” is common excuse used by people that don't necessarily live a very healthy lifestyle; they are not wrong. Sprout aims to give everyone access to affordable fresh food.
Sprout gives home growers a platform to locally advertise, sell and swap their produce by pinning their location on a map and creating a user profile that lists available produce. All other app users can see where the pin is located on a map, view the seller’s profile and message them if they are interested in arranging a trade or purchase. All payments between the seller and buyer are external to Sprout. A filter also allows a buyer to quickly search and find available produce that others users in their area might be selling/trading.
The goal of Sprout is to allow anyone, whether they have a veggie patch or not, to connect with local growers so that they can receive affordable, fresh, healthy food that is grown in their neighbors backyards.
What are the bigger issues?
Some of the biggest barriers to a healthy lifestyle are a lack of knowledge, finances and time. Without adequate education we often struggle to choose the healthier option when finances and time are poor. We then create habits where choosing a cheap and fast meal from the local fast food chain on the way home from work seems like the best available option and easiest way to feed the family instead of taking the time to visit the supermarket and cook a dinner from scratch. Some people also simply do not have geographical access to fresh and healthy food as they live out of major cities and away from local supermarkets. People in these situations often rely on purchasing foods that are non-perishable, such as dried, canned and packaged goods.
When a habit of consuming fast and processed food is formed it wreaks havoc on the body. These types of foods are near unrecognizable to the body, forcing it to work overtime to digest the processed chemicals and excess energy in the form of refined carbohydrates, salts, saturated fats and trans fats. These foods also contain little amounts of fiber which means they are smaller in volume than their wholefoods counterparts and leave people feeling un-satisfied and craving more. Cravings for sugary and fatty foods are also heightened due to the food engineering industry which design chemicals specifically to increase the likelihood of eating, and therefore buying, more of their product. Eating this type of food on a regular basis is the leading cause of weight gain, increased markers for inflammation and body- image issues which can then lead to preventive diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.
Food consumption and production have a considerable impact on the environment. The food industry alone contributes to:
- Greenhouse gas emissions through livestock farming, the transportation of goods and food wastage in landfill sites.
- Reduced biodiversity through the removal of rain-forests and other habitable environments.
- Eutrophication and acid rain through the use of nitrogen fertilizers.
- Depletion of nutrients, energy and water required to grow mass amounts of crops and livestock
How does Sprout help resolve these issues?
Sprout makes accessing affordable, fresh and healthy food easy - regardless of location or educational level. By promoting a predominately plant-based lifestyle that is low waste and connects people through the local community helps not only the individuals themselves but also the environment that we all rely on to sustain us.
Sprout makes accessing food easy and affordable. Through the app, someone can be connected with hundreds of people looking to sell their excess fresh produce at an affordable price (or even for free), and that may even include their next-door neighbor. Furthermore, families that live in outer suburbs or in rural areas can use the platform to sell their own excess produce and create a small business for their family which provides an extra source of income.
As Sprout promotes a predominantly plant based diet through a trading platform for fruits, vegetables, and other home grown produce, it has the ability to dramatically improve health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. Eating more fresh and seasonal produce is what nature intended for us and gives our bodies the vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need to thrive. Reducing our intake of meat and dairy products and replacing these meals with whole foods, can dramatically increase a person’s quality of life through weight reduction, increases in energy and a lowered chance of preventable diseases. Not only that, Sprout connects us with nature through either growing our own chemical free produce or visiting a nearby veggie patch to purchase our food. Sprout also gives us the opportunity to be more social and connect us with others in our community, which can greatly reduce the feelings on loneliness and prevalence of anxiety and depression.
The food we eat is responsible for almost a third of our global carbon footprint and Sprout helps reduce an individual’s impact on the environment by promoting a predominantly plant-based diet. A plant-based diet avoids the most environmentally impact foods such as meat and dairy products and therefore reduces the demand for the livestock industry. Sprout also reduces food wastage, as leftover produce from a home growers veggie patch can be used by someone else in need, reducing the buildup of food products at landfill sites. On a broader scale, Sprout helps people shop locally and seasonally which reduces the transportation and importation of goods to local supermarkets.