Urban Farming Comes to Life at Video Game Launch

To promote its latest game, Farm Heroes Saga, King planted a farm in the middle of New York City.

By Beth Kormanik April 24, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

Crates of colorful, fresh produce provided a tactile and on-theme photo backdrop. After the event, the produce was donated to a local food bank.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for King

Farm Heroes Saga Launch
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At first glance, urban farming and mobile app games might not have much in common. But an event promoting the new Farm Heroes Saga game combined the two popular pastimes by planting a pop-up farm in Manhattan.

Hay bale seating, veggie-centric catering, and tin cans holding flower arrangements set a country tone in the city at the #BeAFarmHero Urban Farming Pop-Up April 9 from King, creator of the mega-hit Candy Crush Saga.

“We thought it would be fun to create a moment of fun with a farm in the city,” said Susannah Clark, King's senior director of global communications. “It matched so beautifully with the Farm Heroes theme. The whole urban farming movement is growing. It's a way for people to take a break from the daily grind, which is what our game does, too.”

Open to the public, the outdoor event at Flatiron Plaza was intended to evoke a colorful and bountiful environment, Clark said. The footprint included three tented structures that looked like a cross between a traditional red barn and a greenhouse. One held a color-blocked photo backdrop made from crates of fresh produce, as if guests were posing in front of an organic marketplace. Another offered guests a chance to play the game on iPads, awarding prizes such as seed packets for the top scorers. In the third structure, New York-based landscape designer Rebecca Cole led hands-on urban farming workshops that invited the public to pot plants and create terrariums.

“The three structures have an open, outdoor feeling but convey elements of the game,” said Ebenezer Bond, C.E.O. and founder of Invisible North, which produced the event.

Other activities included mini spa treatments—nail art with decals of the characters and massages—to help urban dwellers de-stress. Live, costumed versions of the game's characters, called Cropsies, entertained guests. Catering included cold-pressed juices from Heartbeet Juicery and vegetable-heavy bites from Ilili such as carrot mousse.

Overall, the event decor integrated about 1,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, which were donated to City Harvest when the event concluded.

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