Direct Dil Se..

This is an excerpt from a candid talk with a Setu Seva volunteer.

It is an online market place for famers to connect, collaborate and display their products online to the consumers. This helps the farmers reach out to the consumers directly.
The consumers are benefitted because they get hand-picked farm products directly from the farmer. The product is fresh and not treated by multiple hands deteriorating its value. Also the products are grown naturally which means the benefit is just doubled.
Jeevamrut Foods is a social enterprise, it is an initiative of Setu Seva NGO.
Social enterprises are business created to further a social purpose in a financially sustainable way. They are run only for sustenance. The earned income from sales is directly shared with the farmers and is reinvested in their mission.
Difference between an NGO and a social enterprise is that it does not depend on donations or any philanthropy mechanisms and is built to sustain by itself over the long-term.
The difference between social enterprise and a company is that companies have a direct profit margin but social enterprises only run for sustenance.
Absolutely no. We are purely a volunteer based group, who only motivate the farmers to grow food naturally on their own land. The transition from conventional farming methods to natural farming methods is very difficult especially for the small farmers. Because the yield reduces and finding a market for their small yield is challenging. Hence our group provides them the knowledge of natural farming, the overall natural farming philosophy and also provide a market place where they can sell their goods directly.
We will shortly be putting another blog post with all the information of the farmers and the process of how we onboard them. But in short we have a group of 5 farmers from Yenkepally village in the Kameta mandal (Chevella). They practice group farming and natural farming only on maximum of 15% of their entire land share and slowly the % will increase based on the improvement of the quality of soil and the yield itself.
It took a lot of discussions with the farmers to help them understand the ill effects of chemical based farming. Initially the farmers denied of even accepting the fact that there could be a way to even grow food naturally without using pesticides and fertilizers. But we showed them videos and held multiple meetings in the village to educate them about the unknowing harm they are doing to their soil, themselves and even the entire country who is living on the produce.
It slowly got easier when the farmers revealed that most of the times the financial crisis they get into is because of the investments in the chemicals more than the natural calamities. They agreed that they would themselves not prefer eating some of their produce for which they know that the chemicals have been used in humongous fashion like brinjal, chilly, cauliflower etc.
We onboarded them by giving an assurance that first yield risk will be from us (the volunteers gave them a soft loan to mitigate any risks which after the produce is sold was to be taken back from them – like a 0% interest loan but with a catch that if no yield then farmers would not return.) And also our agricultural expert and mentor (Vishnu Kurmilla) is always with the farmers guiding them and helping them with all aspects of natural farming. With both these things the farmers slowly onboarded.
As mentioned above that our agricultural expert is the mentor for all the farmers and gives them end to training on the farms to practice the natural farming methodology. We are in process of acquiring the certificate from the mandal agriculture officers that we conduct only natural farming. The officers are currently having visits to the farm to vouch for the same. Stay Tuned…
We started the pilot with the green leafy vegetables to test out our entire end-to-end cycle from farming to delivery to the consumers. There have been hiccups in terms of making sure delivery happens on the same day, there was a time when the last delivery was at 11PM in the night but it was an awesome end to the day to see the customer so delighted to receive the fresh veggies directly from the farm.
By mid-march we are planning to have full-fledged vegetables –
Regular Veggies – Tomato, Potato, Onion, Brinjal (Purple, Green, Long Purple), Cabbage, Cauliflower, Drumsticks, Cluster Beans, Broad Beans, Ladies Finger, Bottle Gourd, Ridge Gourd, and Bitter Gourd
Salads- Beet Root, Carrots, cucumber
Garnish – Mirchi, Curry Leaves, Coriander, Pudina (we are trying to include Garlic & Ginger)
Green Leaves – Amaranthus, Spinach, Fenugreek, Bathua, Sarson, Drumstick leaves, Soya leaves.
Benefit to Farmers:
1. No Middlemen so direct income to them – this is important in natural farming methodology because the yield itself is very less and if we have more middlemen then it gets challenging to keep costs low as well as ensure good income to farmers.
2. Motivated to grow naturally because they get to serve the customers directly. Having middlemen kind of brings in less accountability to the farmers because once they hand over the produce they are done, but in this model they will have to be part of end-to-end cycle and interact the consumers, welcome them to farms etc and hence they are more motivated to grow naturally.
Benefit to Consumers:
1. Natural Food – No Chemicals
2. Fresh Food – Same day harvest same day delivery
3. Cost Effective – Above reasons

Benefit to Environment:
1. Cow based farming – elixir to the soil. Improving fertility of soil.
2. Less Water Requirement – only humidity in soil is enough for the growth of plants.

Jeevamrut farmers would be delighted to receive you at our farms, It will be our pleasure to be your host and take you through our farms, host a lunch in the farm, and hand pick the vegetables if there is the harvest season. This is the whole idea of the NGO that there should be direct connect between farmers and consumers. Farmers will be more encouraged to produce naturally and visits to the farms, seeing the hardships the farmer has to undertake day in and day out will automatically ensure that the perception value of the farmer and the produce from their farms is restored.
The mission cannot be successful unless every citizen is part of it. Every household and everyone of you who is reading this. There are a lot of challenges a farmer faces on the field, and unless we all give it the due credit this mission cannot succeed.
As mentioned earlier, we are a volunteer based organization. More people joining hands only with enhance the pace of our mission. Currently we are limited to deliver to the societies in below areas:
1. Kondapur
2. Chandanagar
3. Gachibowli
4. Nanakramguda
If more volunteers will join hands, we can plan an efficient method of delivery, bring in creative means to keep the costs low and can cover entire of Hyderabad. Please reach out to us if you want your society / area to enjoy the natural foods and in turn help this mission sustain.
Everyone has got different innovative ideas, like one of my friend was mentioning about collecting the garden / vegetable waste from home and prepare the compost in the farms. It really feels good when like minded people join hands and give back to the society. This is one way we can make this world beautiful enough for our future generation.

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