eCommunity Garden path to market


Executive Summary

The goal of eCommunity Garden (eCG) project is to design, produce, and distribute an intelligent system to control plant growth, from pots, to indoor micro-gardens, to urban gardens, greenhouses, to large farming operations. This is part of the Sensing and sensemaking for glocal food systems initiative.

The project starts with a very simple system for indoor plants. The second step it to make this product more robust, for outdoor applications in an urban environment. The long-term vision is to scale the system from greenhouses to large scale farms. 

Copy of Sensing and sensemaking for glocal food systems

Highlights and key figures


Financial contributions


% of time contributions to the project

Roles occupied in this project

The Project

The main goal is to produce intelligent control systems for agricultural operations. The eCommunity Garden (eCG) gathers data from various sensors and makes decisions about different types of interventions, like starting an irrigation system, distributing nutrients, triggering pest-control systems, etc. In addition to managing operations, the system also records data over time and provides analysis visuals on demand. The user can interact with the system remotely, via bluetooth, WIFI or over the Internet. 

Since the eCG collects environmental data (temperature, moisture, level or light, soil characteristics, etc.), and it is connected to the network, it can also contribute with environmental data to a real-time open database, which in turn can feed different applications over the web. In the case of outdoors applications, the eCG  can be seen as part of citizen sensing platform, and provide social value.  


Presentation of Garden Manager - ecoHECK

The eCG project was first proposed by John, who contributed with an initial Arduino-based design and prototype. Cesar infused more energy in the project by contributing with his own Arduino-based indoor micro-irrigation system [design and prototype not share with the community yet]. Cesar's prototype was presented at ecoHACK/Montreal on September 17th, 2014

Some members of the JAM (Justice Alimentaire pour Montreal) network got interested in the project and proposed to install a prototype at SpaceX, an experimental urban garden in Montreal. 

This project is still at its first phase of development, the productization of the indoor fully automated pot and microgarden.

Presentation of the product and example applications

The eCG is still in its initial phase. The developing group is still trying to identify different needs, applications, markets. Different versions of the cCG have been proposed. In fact, there seems to be a consensus emerging around an ecosystem of products that scale up from a very simple fully automated flower pot, to indoor micro-gardening, to outdoor urban gardening, to greenhouses and farms. 

There is also a growing consensus around the idea of a generative products. First, eCG would be surrounded by a community of users. Some users can convert into developers. Second, the eCG would be a platform for developing new knowledge and know how around plant growth and for designing optimal growth conditions. Superusers would add value to the product experience by helping optimize the control system. Control parameters for optimal growth would be shared within the community. The eCG can be used in combination with other open hardware devices like Photosynq
Micro aquaponic system like this one can be shipped 
to North America for under 200$, see on Aliexpress. 

Immediate application
  • Indoor gardening The eCG takes care of your indoor plants when you are not at home or when you are too busy, and guarantees that they are in optimal conditions.  
  • Outdoor gardening The eCG takes care of your garden, giving you more free time to spend on other activities. 

Urban gardening application

Indoor micro-irrigation system - first prototype made by Cesar. 
The eCG will lower the barrier to urban gardening. It is design to allow people in cities to cultivate a garden, while reducing the level of the required commitment. The system doesn't take away the pleasure of gardening. It allows those who don't have enough time to take care of their plants to sustain a garden throughout the year.  

The system provides two levels of value. 
  • The first level is value for the user: lowering the barrier to gardening, offering an automated control system that takes care of the plants (distributes water and nutrients, and control pests) based on environmental conditions (temperature, sun intensity, soil moisture, etc.). 
  • The second level is value for the larger community, or the city: users can elect to send environmental data gathered by the eCG to an open and shared (online) database; this open database containing real time information of environmental conditions throughout the city can in turn be used by anyone for various applications.  

The services provided by SENSORICA through its affiliates.

Continuous innovation
Using open source development methodologies, SENSORICA affiliates strive to provide a fast and continuous stream of innovation in urban gardening. 

Community of users
SENSORICA OVN will host and nurture a community of users. 

We will put in place a sustainable production process, reducing the footprint on the environment. 
The eCG can be sold in kits or as a finished product. The kit version is designed to give the user a learning experience. Assembling a kit can turn into a family activity. The finished version will be designed for convenience: take it out of the box, snap a few houses and wires together, and the system is ready to go. We are considering selling it online or at local partner stores.   

The eCG will come with a guarantee. The product will be designed in a modular fashion, to be easily repairable and upgraded. As the project gets closer to maturity, we will create the space for a community of users and developers that can help each others with tips for usage, repairs, upgrades and improvements.  

Affiliates actively contributing to this project

Active affiliates

See the project VAS page.

Close collaborators

SpaceX, JAM network

Other projects in synergy

Green Wall

SWOT analysis


Timetable of activities and SMART objectives

Planning for this project was implemented in the NRP-VAS (see definition of this). The planning is done using two workflow recipes, the R&D and the Conditions

Advantages of the product

Rapid innovation, open source, modular, interoperable with other open source gadgets and products, low cost, supported by a community, sustainable, faire (created by an OVN with a fair redistribution model). 


Don't become the slave of your garden!

Market Study

need data here...

Industry Analysis

need data here...

Key success factors

The eCommunity Garden follows the new open hardware development trends, which come with great advantages for the end-user. Moreover, it stands on high ethical grounds: it is a sustainable and fair product. 

Factors affecting demand


Trends and market developments


Market analysis

First market segment

Who are the clients?


Buying behavior


How many are they?


What is the value of the potential market?


Sales potential for this market


Details on first customers/testers


Other potential clients



Analysis of the competition

Characteristics of the direct competition

  Competitor 1 Competitor 2 Competitor 3 Competitor 4
quality of products  

quality of services  

product line  




marketing tactics  

main strength 

main weakness   

Conclusion - Impact on SENSORICA


Outreach/marketing plan

Budget for sales and marketing