We are basically an online ‘tarkari bazaar’For centuries now, Nepal has been known as an agricultural country where food travels straight from farm or garden to home. However we have come to an age where most of us, especially those living in the city, no longer know where the food we eat comes from.
For centuries now, Nepal has been known as an agricultural country where food travels straight from farm or garden to home. However we have come to an age where most of us, especially those living in the city, no longer know where the food we eat comes from. We don’t know where it is produced, what chemicals go into it, or how fresh or healthy it is by the time it gets on our table. We have adopted a lifestyle that is fast and efficient, for sure, but the question remains—what impact does the food we eat have on us and our environment? Green Growth Group is trying to answer this question and more by promoting local, organic, and healthy vegetables and fruits that are currently curated from 12 farms across Nepal. The company, which is run on different social media, is a sales platform that links consumers directly to the producers. In this conversation with Abha Dhital, the curator and founding member of the company, Saurav Dhakal, talks about why the company was established, how it works, and what the end goal is. Excerpts:
While you are working towards sustainable lifestyle, selling natural and chemical free agricultural products isn’t a ludicrous business. What drives your team?
Everyone in our team comes with different skillsets, but there is one thing that binds us together—we all aspire for a healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle. We share a common vision of establishing a sustainable food ecosystem amid the rapid lifestyle transformation that the country is going through. We all aspire for a shared economy, and above all, we want local farmers to benefit from this venture. We want their naturally grown produce to reach the homes of urban and semi-urban population in Nepal. Perhaps it’s the vision that drives us even when we are not an aggressively profit-making company.
Green Growth specialises in a weekly subscription that delivers food baskets to its customers, could you tell us how it works?
Green Growth has a network of around 560 subscribers—active and passive. A portion of them are active on a weekly basis and subscribe to personalised food baskets. They can virtually fill the basket with food supplies they want for the week. The basket may feature everything from easily available vegetables and seasonal fruits to special products from specific regions such as Jumla’s marshi rice. However, because we promise to deliver fresh and healthy food items, we have limited stock. We don’t sell anything that is stale or has surpassed its shelf-life, hence our list of available items is constantly updated. Whatever is available for the week can be browsed through our social media or our website. Once the customers have punched in their orders we segregate them according to their locations and have them delivered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
We are basically a ‘tarkari bazaar’ that’s clutter-free and online.
What else does Green Growth do?
Well the main idea is to bring food in from farm to home, and bring people out from home to farm in order to create a sustainable and natural food ecosystem that benefits all. There are two more legs of work that we do under Green Growth.
Under Green Growth Travel, we promote eco-tourism. We bring people out of their homes and encourage them to stay at farms. The whole idea is to bring them closer to nature, but also let our customers indulge in naturally grown food. We encourage people to live remotely at places that are far from the city’s dust and noise. Green Growth Travel aspires to provide our customers indigenous experience.
As of now we have assisted Patale Gaun organic farm at Kavre in building a farm-stay facility and promoting a one night stay package. We are currently also active in Sindhuli, Saptari, Jumla, Ilam and Kavre and have hosted more than 500 tourists—domestic and international groups since 2016.
Then there is Green Growth Garden, the third leg that focuses on supporting farms and farmers to adopt sustainable farming and climate-smart agricultural techniques. We help urban and suburban farmers in farm construction, landscape planning, garden designing and gardening. This project is facilitated by a group of experts who provide consultancy services. Under this service, we have been working to create a green space at Nepal Art Village, Sindhuli Agro Company.
What sets you apart from other similar businesses?
To begin with, we are very thorough with our work. We conduct surveys, researches and workshops to identify farms whose vision align with ours. We want to make sure that the products we procure are 100 percent locally grown, natural, and healthy.
Because we focus on qualitative collaboration, we have a strong network of farmers. We source fresh vegetables and perishable produce from the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley, whereas, geography-specific products are sourced from farms in Jumla, Sindhuli, Kavre, Khopasi, Mahottari, Ilam, Manang, Mustang, Nuwakot, Dolpa, Myagdi and Dailekh.
We know our sources inside out, and this helps us to share the information that our customers are seeking.
What also sets us apart is how we use social media for the sensitisation of sustainable production and consumption by sharing. We also operate 9-5 every day.
So what is the end goal? Where do you see your company in the coming years?
As of now we are functioning as a small-scale, almost boutique company. The basket is only available in the Valley, and in the coming years we want to tap into other major cities. We also want to reach out to more farms in more regions so that the impact is amplified. We don’t have an end goal as such, but as long as this journey is concerned, we want more people to adopt a sustainable lifestyle with Green Growth’s aid.