Play Farmville – except this time it’s for real!

by Julie Gibbons on May 6, 2011

The offer – subscribe for £30 and you can help to run a real-life farm for a whole year, via an amazing new project run by The National Trust : MyFarm.

The farm in question is in the Trust’s Wimpole Estate – and there are three main areas that the 10,000 virtual farmers will help to run: the open access parkland, the farmland, and the farmyard.

In return for your payment, you get a monthly vote where you can help decide on matters concerning the big decisions the farm faces. At the end of a period of conversion to organic farming, the farm hasn’t grown anything for a couple of years and the first vote to be cast by farmers will be on what the farm should grow.

You will also get a voucher for one free family visit to the Farm Estate throughout the year and if you choose to join The National Trust membership scheme, you’ll get your first 3 months’ membership free, and year round access.

The reconnection of everyday people and the land and food it produces is part of the reason behind the project, but I’m sure that the 10,000 Farmers (subscribers) will not be as disconnected from the land and food issues as perhaps some other areas of the populace are.

I’m really intrigued and at the time of writing I’m considering joining as part of our home education projects.

One thing that doesn’t seem quite in place yet is a genuine community space for the Farmers and this seems to be somewhat of an oversight by the organisers. What seems like a really innovative online social project might just suffer from it’s limited exchange flow of information.

The farm’s objective is to be profitable – will majority vote casting throughout help it be so? I guess we’ll have to continue to watch with interest. I’m particularly interested in whether its organic status will be used as an argument if it does turn a loss.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna Paterson May 10, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I haven’t looked into this properly but I have to confess when I saw the story on the news it made me feel really comfortable. What makes anyone thing we can make decisions about land, animals, welfare, farming from behind the comfort of our machines? Aren’t we reducing the blood, sweat and tears work of really getting your hands dirty?


Joanna Paterson May 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Uncomfortable even: it made me feel really uncomfortable.


Kate August 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

As a MyFarm farmer from the beginning, and a recent addition to the team looking after, I do hope you come and visit the site again soon, Julie. The discussions are throbbing with activity, particularly around our vote issues. And our members are really doing their homework.


Julie Gibbons August 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Hi Kate – I’m already a MyFarm Farmer and my son has been doing some of the research required to vote, although I’m rarely in time to do so. We’ll be writing a report of how we’re getting on soon :)


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