Meet the couple that runs Mumbai’s first hyperlocal farm and sells fresh, organic greens

Joshua Lewis and Sakina Rajkotwala set up Herbivore Farms, Mumbai’s first hyperlocal, hydroponic farm, and grow 2,500 types of plants.
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Not many 24-year-olds would choose to ditch well-paying jobs and take up farming. But Mumbai-based Joshua Lewis and Sakina Rajkotwala decided to take the leap after a visit to Auroville in Puducherry in 2017 where they were inspired by Krishna Mckenzie, a native of England, who’s “honouring Mother Nature through local food.”

The duo got down to business with Herbivore Farms, Mumbai’s first hyperlocal, hydroponic farm. Today, the farm grows 2,500 plants, and sells fresh, organic vegetables to customers across Mumbai.

Joshua Lewis (left) and Sakina Rajkotwala (right) in their Herbivore Farm setup, source Mumbai Foodie

Also read: Farm Life: Why Gitanjali Rajamani quit everything to go back to farming

Speaking about the initiative to Mumbai Foodie, the couple said, “Herbivore Farms is Mumbai’s first hyperlocal farm located in Andheri East. We grow super-healthy varieties of leafy green vegetables like Swiss chard, kale, rocket, and lettuce using hydroponic methods of cultivation.”

Herbivore Farm is spread over 1,000 sq ft, and houses over 2,500 kinds of plants in a temperature-controlled indoor setting (it was initially a warehouse in an old industrial estate).

They say the hydroponic method they use to grow their vegetables sets their produce apart.

Explaining to The Logical Indian, Sakina said,

We could not find any real-time solution to all the questions that we had on hydroponic farming. So, a lot of the things we know now come from trial-and-error methods.

The couple taking a look at the produce, source The Logical Indian

Also read: [Startup Bharat] From the forests of Kodai, these two women entrepreneurs are bringing organic honey to your doorstep

The vegetables are grown in a clean, sterile environment, with zero pesticides, making them 100 percent safe. The entire setup uses up to 80 percent lesser water to grow the produce as it uses a “recirculating irrigation system”, Mumbai Foodie reports.

The water in which the plants are grown contains macro and micro-nutrients that facilitate the growth of the plant. Growing the plants in a vertical format has helped the couple to grow five times more the normal produce their farm would have otherwise done.

Also read: [Startup Bharat] From seed to store: how Nainital-based agritech firm cultivates local, fresh produce through soil-less, sustainable farming

Harvested vegetables are delivered to customer’s homes in a few hours, maintaining freshness, nutrition, and flavour. To make sure the customers like the organic produce, the couple gave away free leafy greens.

Talking about how their vegetables have been received, the couple said to The Logical Indian, “Even while the cost of the boxes is higher, the fresh produce has been a winner among our customers.”

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