We all have a deep appreciation for food, but it’s valid to question whether the food on our plates aligns with our well-being and the environment. Everyone knows that what you eat has a big impact on your health. However, studies show that what we eat also has a direct effect on our mental and emotional health.
But the food we eat these days, be it vegetables, flour, or fruits, often carries a load of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These harmful agents have been linked to serious health issues like cancer, hormonal disruptions, and negative effects on reproduction and growth.
With the onset of the green revolution, we achieved our aim of becoming self-sufficient but lost our focus on health. Given that it is our duty to prevent the negative effects of pesticides on the next generation, this issue deserves careful consideration.
People know that organic farming is the answer to this problem. However, since organic farming is costly and not as productive as its counterpart, not many individuals are taking up organic farming. As per statistics, Organic farming is still in its early stages in India. As of March 2019, only 2.30 million hectares of farmland were under organic farming, or two percent of the country’s total net sown area of 140.1 million hectares, which is just not enough of organic farming.
However, everything is not just plain black; some individuals are taking risks and leading the revolution to fight back. They are proving that with the use of scientific research and technology, it is possible to grow vegetables and fruit in abundance even when practicing organic farming, surpassing the standards set by pesticide- and chemical-based agriculture.
Today, we will share the story of one such initiative, “Nutrifresh India.” The founders of this company are Sanket and Ganesh, and they started practicing organic farming just because of a casual conversation about the quality of food they consume.
What is Nutrifresh India?
The story of Nutrifresh India’s origin took root in early 2012–2013, when Ganesh met Sanket, a credit manager at the Central Bank of India in Pune, to discuss a few agri-financing proposals.
Sanket, who holds a Master’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Pune, and Ganesh, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, had a few casual conversations about agriculture and food, which led to the idea to do something about pesticide-laden food and can organic farming be an answer.
The core of the conversation was –
“Our stomachs are not trash cans, and hence, we have the right to know how the food we consume was grown or where it comes from.”
A simple but powerful thought led to many more conversations around organic farming. As their friendship grew, they thought of starting a partnership business that would be about organic farming. They were so convinced that both of them gave up their high-paying jobs simultaneously to work on Nutrifresh India, an organic farming venture.
Who are the Owners of Nutrifresh India?
Both founders of Nutrifresh India began with just 1 lakh rupees in personal savings in 2014, renting a 4-hectare plot with an organic sugarcane harvest. In the first year, their method of organic farming proved so good that they outperformed the industry average of 60–70 metric tons of sugarcane production by producing over 100 metric tons in the first year using organic farming.
In 2016, they built playhouses to grow orchids, gerbera, and roses, which they still do. Nutrifresh India is currently the largest supplier of orchids using organic farming in Maharashtra.
With the success of their earlier ventures and research, they learned about hydroponic operations. The potential of this technique to produce high-quality produce with little water use piqued their interest. And the founders practicing organic farming saw a huge opportunity to begin an initiative to create a revolution, a farm-to-fork movement.
“We want to create a brand that is synonymous with healthy, fresh, and clean food. We want to reach out to every household in India and make them aware of the benefits of hydroponic produce. We want to be the pioneers of the farm-to-fork movement in India.”Sanket Mehta
Today, Nutrifresh India is a profitable organic farming brand and India’s sole hydroponic operation, growing and selling 42+ various SKUs. It has approximately 15,000 users and a weekly active user base of 1,000. Furthermore, this organic farming venture claims to receive roughly 100 orders per day.
Moreover, Nutrifresh India’s journey is marked by financial backing from prominent investors like Archer Investments, Green Frontier Capital, and Sky Kurtz, raising over $5 million. Their sprawling 10-acre hydroponic organic farming land in Pune is just the beginning.
Hydroponics: The technology that changed Nutrifresh forever
As stated, while researching innovative organic farming methods, the founders stumbled upon hydroponics. It is a soilless organic farming technique that is revolutionizing agriculture. Instead of soil, it feeds plants directly with nutrient-rich water solutions.
This technology allows for perfect control of growing conditions, reduces the need for hazardous pesticides, and saves water. Hydroponics technology has resulted in a spectacular upscaling of per-unit productivity while conserving 90% of water and delivering pesticide-free fruit.
Moreover, with the success of this organic farming method, the company has been able to expand and grow. Nutrifresh India currently uses 33 hectares of organic farming land for cultivation. Its processes have become cleaner and more refined.
For example, from the starting point, it makes sure that there is no hand touch in post-production, and that vegetables, fruits, and other agricultural products are sent directly to customers from the organic farming sight. It means the produce is pesticide-free, chemical-free, and filled with nutrients.
Ganesh Nikam passionately echoes this sentiment: “We believe that everyone deserves access to good food, and we are committed to making that happen with enough organic farming happening. Nutrifresh is our way of making a difference in the world.”
Artificial intelligence is looked upon as the next big thing, and it is certainly a contribution to the success of Nutrifresh. They have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize their hydroponic organic farming processes.
AI continuously monitors and adjusts factors such as water usage and temperature, ensuring that resources are used efficiently. This conserves water and guarantees optimal growth conditions for their crops.
Sanket Mehta emphasizes, “Our integration of AI into organic farming isn’t just about technology; it’s about responsible resource management. It’s about using every drop of water wisely and creating a sustainable organic farming model for generations to come.”
A Company That Includes And Empowers Women In Its Journey
One notable aspect of Nutrifresh India is its dedication to gender equality. Its workforce includes almost 60% women. Nutrifresh India hires women from the surrounding towns where its organic farming plant is located. Aside from that, there have been several activities that demonstrate their unwavering support for women.
For example, Nutrifresh has taken a great initiative by forming a mom-centric distribution network at the organic farming sight that encourages women’s entrepreneurship and advocates a healthy lifestyle for today’s moms.
Nutrifresh India has partnered with ‘Tigress Moms,’ a group of 10,000 women in Mumbai and Pune, as part of a localized P2P marketing push to encourage healthy eating and living. The women under this project receive a 10-15% commission on each order value from the thoughtfull organic farming venture, NutriFresh.
Nutrifresh: Making the farm-to-fork movement a Reality
The founders of Nutrifresh intend to deliver fresh vegetables, fruits, and other cultivated agro-sprouts directly to the customer. Fresh from the farms right to the consumer’s plate. After all, fresh agro products are something that customers desire.
It has taken significant steps to make it a reality. For example, it has an app and more than 100 b2b partnerships with companies such as Zomato, Big Basket, Swiggy, and many more. As a result of these efforts, Nutrifresh is now available in many parts of India providing fresh organic farming products to each doorstep.
Nutrifresh: Silent Revolution In The Agro-food Industry
Nutrifresh India is more than just an agri-tech firm; it is the silent revolution blooming beneath the Indian food industry’s surface. Nutrifresh India’s creators, Sanket Mehta and Ganesh Nikam embody a desire inspired by a concern for farmers’ and consumers’ health. They are incubating a revolution that promises safe, healthy, and affordable food for everybody, with hydroponics as their ally and AI as their guide.
The movement will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences for the Indian food industry and beyond.
Nutrifresh India’s founders stated, “We’re excited to see what the future holds for Nutrifresh.” We believe we can significantly change how people eat, and we are committed to working hard to achieve that goal by promoting organic farming in each part of the country.
If you liked this story about organic farming, read about This MBA Grad Turned To Guava Plantation, Now Earning Crores In Profits On Just 5 Acres of Land
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