George the Farmer is a colourful children’s brand whose primary aim is to educate about farming practices along with how food and fibre is produced through entertaining picture books, toys, music, performance, interactive story apps, videos and free curriculum-aligned educator’s guides. Our brand was launched as an interactive story app on the iTunes market and consists of two interactive stories, two games and a sing-a-long section. It regularly sits in the top apps for Australia and New Zealand in the Education > Technologies section and is used in 13 countries across the globe.
We educate children about farming practices and how food and fibre is produced in an entertaining way to: generate food security by stimulating children to consider future innovative careers in agriculture; awareness and gratitude of those involved in primary industries globally and; to help children make informed healthy food choices. On a personal level, we aim to provide children with the same inspirational connection to the land that we were afforded from growing up on farms throughout our childhood. The concept of George the Farmer was formed when co-creator, Simone Kain, became aware that there wasn’t an educational children’s farming character globally telling stories about living on the land and producing food and fibre, whilst looking for an inspirational character for her son, George. Simone realised that there must be thousands of families who also couldn’t find said character. This was the brand’s first outcome-based segmentation that was developed. By launching our brand as an interactive story app we have been able to penetrate a global market which has resulted in the development of a physical product line and exploration of a global television program.
The George the Farmer name and logo was trademarked before launching the brand on the app market.
As the app was being developed for children we wanted the functionality to be relevant while requiring the least amount of manual intervention for the selection of the main components of the app (eg story, music or game sections).
We designed the interface to be aesthetically pleasing to children with bright colours and big obvious buttons. The app includes two interactive story apps, ‘George the Farmer Plants a Wheat Crop’ and ‘George the Farmer Shears a Sheep’ where the children can help shear a sheep throughout the story, fill the motorbike with petrol plus other functions. There is also a colouring-in section, a memory game and a sing-along section. A children’s safety button was also included to prevent them from accessing external websites without successfully answering a maths equation first. Our app is not overly innovative in it’s use of technology, however it is innovative in it’s overall concept, as there’s currently no other farming characters globally. We pre-tested the app in our homes and at various kindergartens and schools with many improvements being made before launching, and again after launching.
We have experienced much success from the launch of our app and other products which have rolled off from the establishment of the subsequent company, George the Farmer. We receive regular feedback via social media, email and fan letters in the post from parents and children who adore George the Farmer and his educational messages. Our social media presence has grown quickly to include over 40,000 fans across the globe.
Teacher’s love using the app along with our hard-copy books and toys as teacher’s aids to educate children about food and fibre production while covering STEAM based subjects and the cross-curriculum priority of sustainability.
The app and brand as a whole contributes to South Australia’s innovation, technology, education and primary industries. The app has won an SA Women in Innovation Award in the Arts category, it has been awarded a Brand SA Flinders University Education Award and the brand was recognised in 2016 as a Google Australia Regional Online Hero. Our brand has great potential on a much broader level, to place South Australia on the global map as producers of clean, green, nutritious food as George the Farmer’s farm, his hub of food production, is located in ‘Penola’, South Australia.