Big Idea

Reap what you sow

Pick a plot, grow your crop and take it home, Bengaluru-based Farmizen makes farming easy

It’s chemical free, fresh and healthier than the rest. Atleast that’s what the packaging proclaims under the ‘organic’ label that comes with a higher price tag. But, how can you be certain that it is indeed organically grown food? Afflicted by the same dilemma, two former Amazon executives and a gardening start-up founder rented a farm plot on the outskirts of Bengaluru to cultivate their own organic crops. And the results not only assured them a month-long vegetable supply but also presented them with an exciting business prospect.

Shameek Chakravarty, Sudaakeran Balasubramanian and Gitanjali Rajamani identified other urbanites, who’d like to grow their own food and Farmizen was launched in January this year. The trio developed a business model wherein they rent plots in fields on the periphery of the garden city and make them available to urban dwellers. For a monthly subscription of Rs.2,500, you can own a 600 sq plot that could house 10 soil beds and grow anything from brinjal and cabbage to cauliflower and lettuce.

What’s even better is that you can monitor your crop’s performance via an app and instruct the farmer about the process. Farmizen has a 50:50 revenue share agreement with every farmer, which may vary in cases, where the enterprise lends more equipment. You can be rest assured that what’s growing on your plot is indeed organic produce because, “We don't want the farmers to buy agri inputs from external markets since that would make it difficult for us to control quality. So we supply them all inputs,” says Shameek Chakravarty, cofounder, Farmizen. And with crops being delivered to your home within four-five hours of harvesting, there isn’t any need for a cold storage either. You may arrange for a barter with your field neighbor in case of excess production.

Launched with an initial investment of Rs.4 million, the farm start-up has currently partnered with six farmers and rents out plots across a 1.5 acre field. It has 79 customers currently and 550 more on a waitlist. It’s already in the process of adding seven to eight more farms in December amounting to a total area of 4 acres each. Farmizen makes about Rs.100,000 every month and even received a seed fund from Venture Highway and a few angel investors in September. With plans to invest more in automation and expand to Chennai and Hyderabad, this real-life Farmville is the answer to your search for a trusted source of organic produce.