OPINION6 May 2011

The real life Farmville

The National Trust’s MyFarm initiative is either a bold attempt to change attitudes and behaviours, or co-creation gone mad.

The majority of Facebook users will be familiar with Farmville, the online game that sends out constant notifications to let you know whether your friend John Smith has bought a pig, sold his goats or planted a fresh strawberry crop.

Now, thanks to the National Trust’s new MyFarm initiative, John Smith can actually buy a real pig and have a say in what crops get planted at a farm in Wimpole, Cambridgeshire.

The organisation hopes to change people’s attitudes and behaviour towards food, farming and the land used to raise crops and livestock by giving 10,000 participants the chance to have a say in how a real working farm is run.

For a fee of £30, subscribers are given the chance to vote on farm-related issues such as whether wheat, barley or oats should be planted for autumn sowing and have a say in which animals are bought and reared.

The National Trust said that it hopes to give subscribers “the opportunity to experience the highs and lows and often complex decisions that farmers face on a daily basis”, as well as changing attitudes to farming and food origins.

Richard Morris, the National Trust’s farm manager at Wimpole, said: “MyFarm is Farmville for real: real farming decisions with real farming consequences. By influencing the work at Wimpole our farmers will start to understand the effects and implications of their own decisions. They will also witness first hand how unplanned events can turn a profitable year on its head.”

Click here to find out more about the MyFarm.

A great idea or co-creation gone mad?