There have been so many changes in our eating habits and lifestyle in the last few years. Today hardly any of us would know from where and how do fruits and vegetables come in our house? Chemicals are being used on a large scale in the fields to increase the productivity. At the same time, some farmers doing organic farming, are not able to reach their product to the right customer. The Ahmedabad-based startup ‘Farm Se.’ bridges this gap between the consumer and the farmer.
At the end of the year 2018, CA Yash Mehta (26) and CA Raj Jain (26) started their startup together with MBA Rajan Patel (38) from Ahmedabad. Speaking to The Better India, Yash says, “Our aim was to focus on sustainable living along with sustainable food. For which we pay full attention to zero waste and no plastic policy.
‘From the farm.’ It is Gujarat’s first BYOC (Bring Your Own Container Store) store, in which minimum plastic is used for packaging.
How to make ‘Farm Se’.’
Raj and Yash belong to Pali (Rajasthan) and are childhood friends. Both cleared the CA exam in their first attempt. He also stayed in Mumbai for a few years for studies and then CA internship. Yash explains, “Pali is a small town. There isn’t much to visit, so we used to go to the farm as a child, on vacation. From then on I got attached to nature. But then maybe I didn’t even know that I would do any work related to it. While living in Mumbai, both of us had made up our mind that not working now, we have to do something else.
However, Yash worked in a law firm in Delhi for about three months. It was during that job that Yash went to Europe for a two-month exchange programme. There he saw that people are insisting on buying organic things. Not only this, organic spices and some other products sold abroad were made in India. After coming to India in January 2018, he spoke to Raj and his family about it. Yash says, “Though we have been watching agriculture closely since childhood. Despite this, none of us had any idea about organic farming.”
He did more research on this. That’s when he came to know that an Ahmedabad-based NGO has been working for years to provide a platform to farmers doing organic farming. For which an exhibition is also organized every year. Both these friends also started knowing about the farmers doing organic farming by joining this NGO. Yash explains, “We have seen many customers want to buy such organic products and vegetables throughout the year. But they have no easy way to reach these farmers. That’s when we made up our mind to work on it.”
From Farm to Home
It was through the NGO that Yash and Raj met Rajan Patel. In 2016, he quit his job and started an online platform ‘greenobazaar’ to take organic and eco-friendly products to the masses. At the end of the year 2018, these three together ‘Farm Se.’ started of. Earlier it was doing its work online only. Yash says that most people like to take vegetables and fruits only after seeing them. So, he started ‘Farm Se on Wheels’ a few months later. ‘Farm Se’ to many areas of Ahmedabad through a van. Started delivering fruits and vegetables. Yash and Raj also used to go to deliver vegetables. Raj says that this task was not that easy either. He says, “It was very difficult to convince people that our products have been grown without any chemicals. Also, it was a big challenge to find and connect with the farmers who do organic farming.”
Today ‘from the farm.’ More than 50 farmers are associated with At the same time, to win the trust of its customers, ‘Farm Se.’ The team of ‘farm pe.’ Started an event called, in which customers can visit the farm and see where the vegetables coming to their house come from.
Such events served to connect urban customers with nature. Yash explains, “Many families used to come to the farm to inform their children about farming. Once I got a call from one of my customers that seeing the hard work of the farmers, now my children do not waste food at all.”
In the year 2019 ‘Farm Se.’ opened its first store. Where people have to bring their own boxes or bags to take the goods. However, such a trend is not new to India. But since in big cities now everything is easily available in packets. So we have forgotten to use pouch etc.
‘From the farm.’ Apart from fruits and vegetables and rations, many other products are also available at the store like pickles, cosmetics, mouthwashes, fruit juices etc. Such by-products are made at home and are named “Ghar Se”. Giving an example, Rajan explains, “We came to know that a housewife from Ahmedabad makes mango pickle at home, which is very much liked by the people. We convey their ethics to the people. Similarly, many other products are also prepared by different people at home.
For now, ‘from the farm.’ K has three stores in Ahmedabad, two of which are franchise stores. At the same time, through the online website ‘greenobazaar’, they are selling 300 organic and eco-friendly products. In which from bamboo and recycled things to dry fruits, spices and cosmetics etc. Yash says that last year his startup did a turnover of about 1.25 crores, while this year he expects a turnover of more than two crores.
Within a few days ‘from the farm.’ An organic juice center is also going to open in Ahmedabad. In which customers will be able to extract fruit juice of their choice by cycling themselves. Surely after some hard work, the fun of drinking juice will be something else. At the same time, instead of plastic or paper glasses for drinking juice, to make the store plastic-free, only bowl glasses made of fruit or waste coconut will be used. With this new center, he also wants to give employment to such people who cannot hear or speak. They are also working on making the transgender community a part of their team.
All the three co-founders believe that this is the organic lifestyle in real life. In which care should be taken not only about food but everything around us. Be it man or nature.
From Farm to Store, customers can also collect credit points by giving their household waste plastic and paper to recycle, which they can use to buy organic products from the store.
To know more about Farm Se you can visit his insta page farmseindia. At the same time, you can also buy organic and eco-friendly products from their online website greenobazaar.
Editing – Archana Dubey
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