During theback-to-the-earth movement of the ’70s, there was a push to assign doctors to rural areas. Jonathan and Tim Lyons’ father took up a job in Appalachia, where the family lived among coal miners and farmers.

Like the locals, they worked their own garden, planting blueberries, raspberries and a mix of vegetables. When they moved back to Pennsylvania Dutch country, they continued the family tradition of backyard farming, making use of a relatively small space to grow their own food.

“We grew up partly in the mountains, then later between farmland and the exurbs,” says Jonathan, who migrated to Mountain View in 2011 to work with a tech startup. “My mom’s side is Pennsylvania Dutch, we grew up Mennonite… so we were instilled with those values of sharing and communalism.”

The brothers wanted to hearken back to that salt-of-the-earth upbringing with their fledgling urban home-gardening start-up, Plontz, which is based in Palo Alto. Plontz—the name pays homage to the family’s German heritage—is a curated subscription gardening box. And then some.

Each box comes with seeds that are selected based on the gardener’s local climate, their culinary tastes and what space they have available, inside or outdoors. Also included are recipes for homegrown meals, with insights from celebrity chefs. Most important, Jonathan says, is that every box comes with information about how to help local community organizations, like food banks and urban gardens, and how to share the food that’s grown.

“We’re trying to simplify gardening, while also promoting this whole idea that we can reconnect by sharing with our neighbors,” Jonathan says. “Gardeners can grow in abundance. There’s something in every box that inspires impact, whether that’s sharing a way to donate to a local school or a really great story that expands the way you think about gardening.”

For Jonathan, the new venture has allowed him to turn a solitary hobby into a network of likeminded enthusiasts.

“I’d always had a personal garden, even when I lived in an urban environment,” says Jonathan, who went from organizing political campaigns on the East Coast to working in clean tech in Silicon Valley. “When I’d have a really tough day at work, I’d come home and garden. It grounded me. It made me feel like who I was and gave me time to think. I wasn’t looking at the TV, I wasn’t looking at Facebook. It gave me time and focus to solve all these problems going through my head.”

About a year ago, he brought the idea for Plontz to his friends and his younger brother, Tim, a consultant specializing in healthcare for emerging markets.

“With my background in healthcare, I was excited about the impacts this could have on a community, making it a healthier place to live,” says Tim, who, as one of the first beta testers, is growing basil, chives, radish, mint and cilantro in his apartment. “This is the kind of thing that could develop the sense of community we’ve lost and I think a lot of people are looking for.”

Plontz curated home-gardening box. $85 per quarter.