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Ayoudo’s Social Garden connects green thumbs across Vancouver

Local tech startup Ayoudo launches a new initiative to help gardeners across Vancouver to connect via social media this spring.

Local tech startup Ayoudo is preparing for the launch of a month-long Social Garden initiative, connecting gardeners across the city through its innovative social media app. Now that spring has arrived and the cherry blossoms have started blooming, Vancouver gardeners are looking to cultivate gardens -- and a sense of community.

“We’re trying to get people to think of gardening as more of a collective effort,” said Ayoudo founder Michael Tippett, explaining his vision to help bring the age-old hobby into the 21st century.

That sort of “collective” mentality is what Ayoudo is all about. The unique online tool is like a simplified—and more stylish—version of Craigslist, allowing users to either request help or offer their services. Looking for someone to do your taxes, or help with babysitting? No problem. Want to get paid to mow someone’s lawn? Ayoudo will connect you with a homeowner in need.

Using social media to build community

Currently, the app is still in “beta” mode, testing the waters in Vancouver before taking it to other cities. And so far, they’ve been earning rave reviews from local users searching for a wide range of help and expertise.

“We’ve got a really strong community here in Vancouver, who are continuing to sign up and seem to be getting a lot of use out of the site. And one of the things we’ve noticed is that the things that people ask for sort of fall into various buckets, one of which is just general gardening,” said Tippett.

“So we thought it would be interesting to bring together all the social media people who have an interest in gardening, and then some of the local gardening community.”

Launching this Wednesday on the website, Ayoudo’s Social Garden will feature interviews with green-thumbed experts, share tips for beginners, and profile organizations involved in the local growing scene. To kick off the social garden, Ayoudo is hosting an invitation-only event Thursday evening at Subeez Cafe.

“Over the course of the month we’re going to have expert gardeners, landscapers, people that do urban food, organic gardeners, all people who provide gardening services—with interviews posted on the site so that we can provide bits of information and resources for anyone who’s a gardener who’s looking for help,” Tippett explained.

The initiative will also provide an interactive forum for gardeners all over the city to connect with one another, to exchange knowledge and skills, and create valuable networks around shared interests. Users can either request or offer paid help, or use the app’s volunteer feature to arrange unpaid or recreational gardening sessions.

“There are many cases where people have offered gardening help, not just to get paid but just because they kind of like gardening. Maybe they live in an apartment and don’t get a chance to muck around in the dirt, and this is a chance for them to go and meet some people and be a gardener for a couple hours or a couple days,” Tippett said.

“And on the flipside, there are people who need help. Maybe they’re just getting into it, or maybe they just have a lot to do, so what we’re saying is use Ayoudo to get connected to people who either want to give or receive help.”

Ayoudo works because of "openness" in Vancouver

Though gardening is Ayoudo’s top priority this month, Tippett says he sees a few other really common requests—like administrative work, pick-up and delivery, and tech support for people struggling with uncooperative devices. Overall, he says the response has been great among local users, often keen to reach out and connect with their communities in new and creative ways.

“I think there’s an openness in Vancouver that’s quite unique, and people are more ready to work with people in their neighbourhoods,” said Tippett.

“It’s such a new city, and so many people who live in Vancouver are so new to Vancouver that they often don’t have the deep community roots that they would have in other places. But there’s a willingness and an openness to kind of get to know your neighbours in a way that doesn’t exist in some cities.”

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