The Online Game that Plants Real Seeds: Rainmaker Project
By Jeff McIntire-Strasburg
You could certainly be forgiven for seeing phrases like “online game” and “planting seeds” together, and automatically thinking of Farmville: even though the Facebook game has died down in popularity, its still the standard for gaming about planting. The Rainmaker Project has something quite different in mind when it brings together these terms, though: a global community committed to the sustainable exchange and planting of seeds… in the real world. It ain’t Farmville; rather, its more like Facebook itself, made up of people committed to expanded landscape of real, live plants, and ideas for cultivating those plants more sustainably.
Creator Michelle Moriyasu came up with the idea after discovering, and then visiting with, Japan’s Rainmaker Organization. This non-profit is dedicated to a relatively simple concept: the planting of seed balls as a more sustainable means of growing more crops in places that need them. Developed by Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka, and detailed in his book The One-Straw Revolution, the seed ball method helped farmers in dry regions of Africa, India, and other places grow more crops during the 1990s. Michelle wanted to spread the practice of seed ball use, and raise funds for the organization itself, so she created The Rainmaker Project global game to achieve both of those ends.