Food

Lockdown has made us realise the value of locally-grown food

Sumeet Kaur, founder of Spudnik Farms, is delivering fresh, organic, local vegetables to Bangaloreans. She speaks of how she is bridging the gap between farmers and customers

Spudnik Farms is a community of local farmers growing and supplying organic vegetables directly to consumers. During the lock-down, Spudnik Farms is providing pesticide free, fresh, local vegetables. A typical box would provide six to seven seasonal vegetables such as beans, carrot, brinjal, capsicum, pumpkin; staple vegetables such as tomato, potato and onion; two to three greens and herbs such as spinach, amaranthus and coriander. Free-range eggs are available as add ons.

Sumeet Kaur who founded Spudnik Farms says. “On Tuesday, we deliver to Ulsoor, Indiranagar, Domlur, a few locations in Hebbal such as Kempapura, Kamanhalli, HRBR layout, Kalyan Nagar, and Lingarajapuram. On Friday, we deliver to MG Road, Vittal Mallya Road, Koramangala, and Bellandur. We have split deliveries to Cooke Town, Frazer Town, Richmond Town, Benson Town, Langford Town, Richmond Town, Vasanthnagar, and Cox Town between Friday and Saturday. On Saturday we have started our new delivery route to Malleswaram, Sadashivnagar, Sanjay Nagar, and RMV extension.”

Lockdown has made us realise the value of locally-grown food

Orders have been pouring in and Sumeet is ensuring that she delivers to as many customers as possible. “I have been receiving distress calls. There was a husband and wife in Bellandur, who just had a baby. The husband ate potatoes so that his wife could get to eat other vegetables. We received a request to deliver there. We could make a small deviation and distribute there. We have also received requests to distribute to parents staying in Bangalore.” She ensures that her delivery personnel and the customers are both safe. “We had already begun working under lock-down restrictions three weeks before lockdown was announced. We rolled out contact-less delivery, we do temperature screenings, we focus on sanitation, providing sanitisers in bulk to wash hands, we also ask our workers to keep us informed on how they are feeling, and not to come into work if they are unwell.”

Desperate times comes with lessons. With the lock-down, we are finally asking important questions: where does our food come from? Why we should be consuming locally-grown food? Sumeet offers an insight: “In a sense, the lockdown has been a huge validation of what we believe in. You should be eating locally grown food because there is less chances of pesticides being used. With lock-down, people are now understanding the value of food. They are also seeing the connection to food, which has been lost, such as the knowledge of which vegetable to eat in which season. For example, carrots, peas, broccoli and cauliflower are winter vegetables, but they are eaten the whole year round. The downside of this is that diverse native food has been forgotten, especially native greens. They are easy to grow. For example, purslane, a cultivar from the portulaca family, which is native to the Indian sub-continent, is rich in nutrients. There is also clove beans and star fruit.”

The lock-down has led to obstacles in demand and supply. “Enough vegetables and fruits are being grown, but demand and supply has been distorted. The wholesale sellers don’t know how much quantity is to be given by the farmers, because nobody can estimate demand. Also the farmers are confused whether they should get their produce or not. Local grocers don’t know how much of the produce is going to be sold. There are also organic fruit farmers who supply their fruit inter-state or even export them, but with the lock-down that has been disrupted. I know a sapota farmer who boards passenger trains to sell sapota to Delhi and north India. So for farmers like him we are buying their fruit in as much bulk as we can and putting it in our baskets,” says Sumeet.

While these are big challenges, she even has to contend with seemingly small issues. “I have stocked packing material, which I was earlier running out of. It is difficult to source things like markers and stickers, which I use for the logo and put the names of my customers with the name of their apartments and flat numbers on the baskets.”

Sumeet is a graduate of National Law School of India University. In 2013, she left law to get into agriculture. “Between June and July of 2013, I made my first attempt at agriculture. Spudnik Farms was among the 100 start-ups by women entrepreneurs incubated at NSRCEL, IIM Bangalore. I realised that I needed to learn more on how to scale up my business and make it profitable. I am a part of Atal Incubation Centre (AIC), supported by Sangam Ventures, which is an acceleration programme, supported by NITI Aayog, for eight start-ups in the agri tech and clean energy space. I got a cold storage through contacts at the acceleration programme, which has been of great help during this time,” concludes Sumeet.

The box being delivered is available on a monthly subscription. There will be weekly contact-less delivery, currently available is Spudnik’s standard vegetable box (₹3,000 for four weeks). Whatsapp or call 9900606698 or visit: www.spudnikfarms.com or www.instagram.com/spudnikfarms.

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 8:39:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/bangaloreans-realise-the-value-of-locally-grown-food-amidst-lockdown/article31367078.ece

Next Story