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Farm-to-table ventures have been gaining popularity across India in the past few years. People are inching towards a healthier diet that is essentially organic, chemical-free and sustainable. Across India, farmers’ markets or Mandis, which were once considered the treasure trove of fresh ingredients, are reviving in prominence. Environmental activists are promoting such farmers’ enclaves in their locality – helping the lesser privileged farmers connect with a steady urban consumer base.
Community Farm is one such farm-to-table initiative in Bengaluru that deserves a special mention in this context. This organic farmers’ market has helped hundreds of small-scale farmers and agricultural co-operatives connect with potential customers who are looking to eat fresh and organic. However, what really sets Community Farm apart from similar organisations is that they are completely virtual!
That’s correct. Community Farm, in essence, is an online farmers’ market that promotes organic and Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), while bridging the gap between the food grower and consumer. In the post-Covid times, when gathering at a marketplace to physically choose your groceries is highly discouraged, the Community Farm model has worked wonders.
Satisfied Customers and Vendors
Community Farm was set up by a group of agricultural aficionados, including agricultural researchers with years of experience and knowledge. Their motto was simple – “to bring a seamless experience for the community of local farmers and farming enthusiasts.”
In the end, their aim was to promote healthier lifestyles among the city people while also helping to improve the farming ecosystem.
True to their word, Community Farm has indeed made life easier for hundreds of their customers. Pleased with the quality of products and excellent service, most of them have become dedicated regular buyers. At the same time, more and more farmers are joining the platform with each passing day, after hearing about its benefits from their peers.
“Such a fantastic platform that aggregates small farmers and delivers their produce to customers in an easy manner. Logistics are all beautifully handled and customer service is great. If you are a customer, this is a no brainer to get organic produce. If you are a farmer, then this is going to make your life easy! Love it,” says Nitya Ramakrishnan, one of their regular customers.
Naveen, one of the farmers selling his produce through Community Farm, also expressed his satisfaction with the platform. “Being one of the farmers who supply farm produce to them, I can say (they are) one of the best people to deal with. One major problem with chemical free farming is consistent quality of the produce, which is understood well by CF. They have given us good feedback to improve further,” he shares.
Everything Organic, Natural, Safe and Healthy
After learning about them from an acquaintance, we decided to take a closer look at Community Farm. The website appears quite simple, especially if compared with the popular online supermarkets. However, we felt that the true essence of the platform should not be judged by a cover photo. Thus, we proceeded on to browse through the available products.
The products are neatly categorised into specific sections – from vegetables, grains, poultry to baked goods or personal care items. Each and every item sold on Community Farm is certified organic. In fact, they have mentioned in detail about the different types of products they are selling – from organic to ZBNF or hydroponically grown.
One curious aspect about the platform is that their product list is visible only after one selects their convenient time and date slot for delivery. This might apparently seem like a bother to someone browsing casually.
But we felt this feature adds credibility about the freshness of their products. We have to keep in mind that this online market is similar to a farmers’ market where the products sold depends on a number of factors. From seasonal availability to delivery service, Community Farm keeps in mind the convenience of their farmers and displays the products accordingly.
Authentic Reviews About Sellers
The products are available in over 30 separate categories, including options for vegans as well. Each product listing comprises multiple pictures, specifications, weight, price and all other relevant details. What assured us most was the detailed information about the farmer(s) selling the product, along with authentic reviews about them from customers.
The item prices are either less or similar to other organic outlets in the city. Compared to the luxury organic stores online, Community Farm caters to the urban middle class. Their products are quite affordable even by students or young jobseekers, who often have to think twice about their budget before buying ‘organic’.
Community Farm accepts orders from Monday to Saturday up to 2 PM, and the deliveries are done only on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, across Bengaluru and the suburbs.
The delivery charge stands at a nominal Rs 45, which is much lesser compared to the doorstep deliveries facilitated by popular e-commerce platforms. The delivery charge is negated if the total weekly order amount is above Rs 450. So, if you are choosing Community Farm to procure your weekly groceries, it’s most likely that your delivery will be free.
Once you select a particular seller, their details pop up along with the entire list of products under their name. This way, you can ensure to get all the items from your favourite vendor at one place.
And it’s not just farmers. The platform has on-boarded several small businesses as well – like a patisserie or a beverage brand. The idea is to supply all your daily needs, even for special days, at one place.
Creating the Real Sense of Community
While browsing, we came across the Community Farm blogs. Blogs on various topics have been shared by participant farmers, enthusiastic consumers or the founders themselves. We found a list of lip-smacking recipes with jowar, one of the healthiest but underrated foodgrain. We also found several traditional kitchen tips and tricks shared by a culinary expert.
The platform has diligently powered through to continue their delivery services even during the lockdown. They ensured that their customers continue to eat healthy and build a strong immunity.
In fact, it must be mentioned in this context that the founding team even went out of their way to organise a fundraiser to support the marginalised communities affected by the lockdown. They have provided necessary help and rations to slums, labour camps, transgenders and among other lesser privileged families.
The Farmers’ Market You Have Been Waiting For
If you are someone from in and around Bengaluru who is looking for sustainable options for their groceries, Community Farm is your go-to place. Sitting at the comfort of your home, you can order the best quality vegetables, fruits, spices, cereals, poultry, pickles and what not.
Unlike other farm-to-table brands who prefer a subscription model, Community Farm does not compel you to register for a weekly or monthly subscription. Instead, you can buy things according to your own convenience and leisure. This allows you to avoid wastage of products on the days you are not available at home. In addition, this also helps you avoid unnecessary expense on excess vegetables.
And if you are a farmer or small business owner whose goal is to promote organic farming and healthy lifestyle, Community Farm will help you connect to a sea of potential consumers. Upon a simple registration and verification process, any vendor can reach out to hundreds of customers each week through the forum.
Community Farm is helping to reestablish the true ethos of a community that is happy and healthy.