With a degree in agricultural engineering, Prateek Tiwari recognized the potential of organic products long before its massive popularity today. To simplify the supply chain from farm to consumer, Prateek started an organic farming company in 2003, but it soon closed in 2006.
“At that time there was no organized retail business. It was also difficult to convince the farmers not to use pesticides, ”says Prateek SocialStory.
However, Prateek regards this failure as “negative inspiration” that drove him to build up the Vibrant green in the past eight years. the Company based in Jaipur was built with a unique idea: “What if people could grow organic products right on their roofs? ”
Most of the time, residential roofs are superfluous. These free areas can be converted into food growing areas. However, key elements such as packaging or a standardized product and experience were missing.
The Living Greens is currently bootstrapping and spent the first four years developing their product – a portable farming system.
“We focused on developing a bio-kit that combines sprays and root fertilizers with modern bio-control agents and Vedic Formulations, such as neem-based formulations, ”explains Prateek.
Once the startup acquires a customer, it tries to understand their interests and, depending on factors like the season, gives them the right seeds and instructions.
The Living Greens supplies the system in individual parts that can be reassembled and installed by the customer with the help of the startup’s online support. To date, between 5,000 and 6,000 systems have been sold.
“The pandemic is interested in [our product]“Says Prateek.
When people were stuck in their homes after the COVID-19 outbreak, they realized the unused space on their patio and saw the potential to make something of it.
Big impact from small changes
Getting fresh organic fruits and vegetables is a huge benefit for The Living Greens customers, but having green roof coverings also has long-term benefits.
“Since you cover the roofs, the building does not heat up as much. When the heat drops, so does the power consumption, ”explains Prateek.
Cooler buildings mean cooler cities in the long run. “Cities are also surrounded by green spaces, and as a result, cities are becoming depressions that attract more air pollution,” he says. Growing plants also help because they absorb carbon dioxide and release fresh oxygen.
In fact, reducing the supply chain and the distance between farm-to-fork makes a significant contribution to sustainability.
Prateek points out that with the increase in urban organic farming, people have the opportunity to eat fresh produce compared to vegetables and fruits bought in the market that lose freshness over time.
“I’ve spent my entire life telling governments and people to wake up to this thought,” said Prateek. He remembers meeting and sharing this idea with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where the Prime Minister told the team that such initiatives should be part of the Smart City missions.
However, Prateek says that investors are looking for massive growth in a short period of time compared to the tangible and intangible benefits in the long run, which is one of the main challenges for the startup to grow its business.
Increase impact and empower people
With a base in Delhi-NCR, The Living Greens has one Customer base of over 1,500 people in 25 cities and growing. It is also empaneled with that Bihar government for India’s largest 1,500 house rooftop farm subsidized by the government.
Another key element of The Living Greens business is green walls, which can be built indoors or outdoors, and help keep buildings cool. These walls not only improve the aesthetics of the property, but also help make it more environmentally friendly and reduce air and noise pollution. “We have a full 50,000 square feet of green walling,” adds Prateek.
In order to provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged women, The Living Greens have launched a “Mahila Mali” program. It currently employs two women who provide maintenance services. The startup would like to expand this program to young people with a migration background.
With expansion on the horizon and a growing interest in organic farming, The Living Greens aims to build a network of business partners in the city who can also help with on-site maintenance and provide hands-on support to end users.
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