Working with 7K farmers, GoodSeeds is helping urban families switch to organic foodHema Vaishnavi
As an online and offline marketing platform for local, small and marginal producers, Hyderabad-based GoodSeeds promotes sustainable ideas and organic products.
Living a holistic life and understanding the impact of our choices isn’t always easy, especially when making lifestyle choices that are eco-friendly, organic, and sustainable seems like an everyday battle. The myriad products that we buy today are mostly non-biodegradable, ridden with harmful chemicals, or simply unhealthy.
Deeply concerned about such state of affairs and driven by the zeal to bring in change, friends —Narayan Murthy, Sujatha Ramni, Lalith Mitta, and Ganesh Margabandhu — decided to start GoodSeeds as an alternative platform that would provide solutions leading to an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Organic and eco-friendly living
GoodSeeds was ideated as a lifestyle concept when the principal Founder Narayan Murthy, along with his friends, brainstormed ways of living in harmony with nature.
Narayan chose that name for the brand as it would reflect sowing good lifestyle ideas that would add value to the society and environment. Soon after, the concept was launched in the form of a stall in the Sloka School annual bazaar in Hyderabad, in November, 2011.
“Our periodic conversations on what we perceived as ‘healthy living’ and how we should contribute to the health of our planet and the society drove us to explore what was happening within India and abroad,” says Narayan.
“As the founding group, we wanted to understand how our ideas were received by people as we were looking to involve the community to generate new ideas,” he adds.
The founding members travelled to many places across India to meet organic farmers, artisans, environmentalists and people who were passionate about various social and environmental causes. One such travel ended up leading the team to Navadarshanam, a self-help group in Tamil Nadu. The conversations the founders had with this group inspired them to launch GoodSeeds in Hyderabad.
Goodseeds was launched as a business entity in 2014 with an aim to create a platform that would provide access to sustainable products and services.
The other founding members couldn’t continue being with the organisation, and GoodSeeds is now being guided by Narayan Murthy and Kaushik Raghuram.
Towards holistic living
Safeguarding the world we live in and the community we are part of, drives the activities of GoodSeeds.
“The way we choose to live influences our health, impacts livelihoods in the community, and affects the environment; hence, the larger issue that we try to address is how we all can adapt to lifestyles that positively impact these three factors,” says Narayan.
To this end, GoodSeeds gets produce from a network of farmers around Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Kashmir. The team believes in getting the produce from places they are known for – for example, seven to eight varieties of Kashmiri apples are brought in each year, more than 25 varieties of mangoes are sourced from Telangana, AP, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
The organisation also believes in promoting local producers. Daily vegetable and food grains are procured from organic farmers in and around Hyderabad, within 150-km radius around the city.
The team is tied up with over 100 organic farms across the country, purchasing from at least 10-15 of them at any given point.
GoodSeeds has served over 3,000 consumers, each consumer being a family, in the Greater Hyderabad metropolitan area. At present, GoodSeeds sells around five to seven tonnes of produce to its customers each month.
The team also works with over 100 farmer cooperatives or groups, comprising over 7,000 farmers. GoodSeeds organises markets in the city every month, where different farmers and artisans gather to sell their products. These farmer and artisan markets have supported over 2,000 artisans and weavers to date and enabled them to fetch fair price to their products.
GoodSeeds also organises talks and discussions around consuming organic products. However, the team doesn’t believe in evangelising the concept of ‘going organic.’
“All our customers have already been used to organic/sustainable living, but seek to be more informed about what they consume. Our customers seek information in terms of usage, nutritional details, where and how the products are produced, etc., and have built their trust over a period of time,” says Narayan.
Besides organic food products, the organisation provides access to eco-friendly personal care and home care products. The store also provides earthen cookware, home gardening supplies, composting solutions, festival items such as natural holi colours and clay ganeshas.
A self-funded initiative, GoodSeeds is working on bank financing and looking for seed funding or funding with operational partnership in the near future.