(Lil) Green Patch Combines Environmentalism and Gaming

little green patch(Lil) Green Patch is a social gardening game that seeks to better the planet. With over 500,00 daily active users, it’s also one of the most popular games on Facebook.

(Lil) Green Patch waves the banner that the more a player uses the game, the more the advertisers will donate to save the rain forest. In concrete terms, these means that for every ten friends you send a plant to (which also doubles as an invite for those who don’t have the application), they will help save one square foot of rain forest.

The gameplay revolves around gardening your personal patch of land and helping your friends’ maintain theirs. You’ll be asked to help one of your friends deal with a gardening problem like rabbits eating their flowers, and you can buy supplies at “Crazy Al’s Green Store” to help them out. Essentially, in order to individually succeed at the game, you must help other people. It’s a perfect analogy for environmentalism in general – we all must help each other to make a difference. little green patch store

Very few games could realistically expect friends to help each other out in this way, but in (Lil) Green Patch it seems to work and is a smart adaptation to the social networking platform. You are rewarded for your kindness by gifts of game cash (after you click on butterflies) to help buy more supplies or decorations for your own garden like garden gnomes and flamingos. The artwork is uniformly cartoony, and though not particularly memorable, is pretty cute.

At times I wished I could personalize my garden more with perhaps more realistic looking flowers and maybe some barbed wire (I’m a manly gardener, dammit) but I was able to sell a flower I received from a friend that I found to be too adorable in the marketplace function. So while you’ll be tending to your friends gardens, sending flowers to your friends, and generally being a philanthropist, you can personalize your own stretch of digital earth.

The game has some room for improvement, however. The reward system, in this case epitomized in the form of little butterflies that you click on to get cash; this can be made more obvious so players know what the butterflies are there for. The point of the game, or how to play, could be better expressed in the FAQ section, though the adaptability of the game and the numerous links to earth-friendly websites are nicely integrated.

When you send flowers, it would also be nice to know which friends already have (Lil) Green Patch so you could know which ones would actually like to have more flowers. I understand it’s a subtle way to invite new people, but giving players the option would be helpful. I’ll also be painfully cruel and say that the name “(Lil) Green Patch” is awful and whoever came up with it doesn’t have a future in marketing. It’s a fun game and has a great future in getting people networked to better the planet, but the name doesn’t stick with you and could be branded better.

Gameplay: 5
Developers: 6
Good for World: 10

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Event

Mediabistro Job Fair

Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job! Register now!


Leave a Reply

20 Responses to “(Lil) Green Patch Combines Environmentalism and Gaming”

  1. Toby says:

    Hi, interesting article. I think the name (lil) green patch is quite catchy though!

  2. The Anti-Advertising Agency » Saving the Planet one Facebook Ad at a Time says:

    [...] learned that this game is a tamagotchi garden, where you share plants with people. It is one of the most popular Facebook games, with either 500,000 or 50,000 daily active users (there was a typo on the page!) It [...]

  3. Jonathon D. Colman says:

    Just as an update, as of June 13, (Lil) Green Patch has donated over $33,000 to The Nature Conservancy to help protect the rainforest in Costa Rica.

    You can see the total amount donated by (Lil) Green Patch on The Nature Conservancy’s Cause on facebook at http://apps.facebook.com/causes/2979?recruiter_id=1833869

  4. Turn Down the Suck, Make Better Social Apps! — Social Squared says:

    [...] a shift is still up in the air). There is a market for applications with a cause. Just look at the Lil Green Patch Facebook Application, it’s wildly popular! And if you still want to throw sheep, why not [...]

  5. ian says:

    How do you get rid of squrells

  6. .ORG 2.0 » The .ORG Blog says:

    [...] Lil Green Patch has utilized Facebook applications, created widgets, and built a variety of Social Games that include virtual gardening activities, to boost interest and visibility as well as foster the [...]

  7. The Le says:

    Lil Green Patch claims to have donated large sums of money to nature.org, but I have not seen any real proof of this. How do we know they are not pocketing the money?

  8. The Lady says:

    Yes, please. How can we tell if the claims made by these apps are real? I would be happy to participate if it is real, but I have seen too many scams to take anything like this at face value. The Nature Conservancy doesn’t have anything about it on their website.

  9. Auburn says:

    I was wondering if it was true or not too, so I emailed the Nature Conservatory and turns out, Green Patch does make significant donations:

    “Hi Auburn

    I wanted to let you know that lil’ Green Patch does indeed make regular donations to the Conservancy. If you visit The Nature Conservancy’s Facebook Cause page (http://apps.facebook.com/causes/2979), you’ll see them as our top donor having donated $79,800 through the Facebook giving mechanism.

    Thanks for using Lil Green Patch — it does make a difference. Best, Sue

    Sue M. Citro
    Senior Digital Membership Manager
    The Nature Conservancy

  10. Green Grounded » Blog Archive » Saving the World, One Facebook Visit at a Time says:

    [...] (white man’s burden: ignorance to the obvious preferential treatment).  Blogger Chris Holt covers the application from the gamer’s perspective (and the “manly gardener” perspective too)… which I would have never thought of [...]

  11. Lkdo says:

    Hi, nice post.

    And I just saw today, I can see which friends already have (lil) Green Patch. Their names are grouped in the “Greenie Friends” tab, next to the “All Friends” tab which opens by default. It must have been added since :)

  12. Pretty Salty: WTF Facebook? « The Pretty Year says:

    [...] as you harass old high school classmates and people who share your interest in bodysnatching and grass. Of course, what any individual sees is based on a highly sophisticated [...]

  13. Patrick says:

    Regarding the couple of posts referencing http://apps.facebook.com/causes/2979 as a measure of how much Lil Green Patch has donated to Nature Conservancy… I do not believe that is correct. That link is simply for the Nature Conservancy cause on Facebook and for donations made directly to that by Facebook users. I am not saying LGP doesn’t donate to NC, but I don’t think this is what they donate – could be more, could be less… does anyone know?

  14. Patrick says:

    Quick followup…


    That lists actual donations to NC

  15. joyce yorkevich says:

    the only thin thats wrong that the little green patch has went of my profile & would like it back please ….i like giving the plants back to ppl that send them to meet now i dont have them ….

  16. Joyce Yorkevich says:

    like i said i would like the little green parches back it just went away … please fix it …so now i wont get any from my ppl. to send back .

  17. Peggy Holt says:

    I love the green patch but I am having trouble getting on it. What is wrong with it?

  18. Dave Radford says:

    I used to have this game but it seems to have gone and I cant get back on it where or how do I get it back ? regards Dave

  19. Lynn beal says:

    Where is my Li’l Green Patch on my facebook account? Can we get it back?

  20. Justin Estell says:

    I’m trying to plat this game and I can’t seem to. Something I’m missing?

Get the latest news in your inbox
interested in advertising with inside social games?

Social Media Jobs
of the Day

Business Technology Editor

Washington, DC

Assistant Editor

8 Inc.
New York, NY

Editorial Manager

Air Age Media
Wilton, CT

Featured Company

Join leading companies like this one and recruit from the nation's top media job seekers on the Mediabistro Job Board. Every job post comes with our satisfaction guarantee. Learn More

Our Sponsors

Mediabistro A division of Prometheus Global Media home | site map | advertising/sponsorships | careers | contact us | help courses | browse jobs | freelancers | content | member benefits | reprints & permissions terms of use | privacy policy Copyright © 2014 Mediabistro Inc. call (212) 389-2000 or email us