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Nagarkrishi: Social entrepreneur initiative for better urban food and health

At present, employment for fresh graduates is hard especially finding a job and then we decided that we would create a job in the form of a business model.

Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, is rapidly growing and has come at the expense of green space and vegetation, along with a rapidly rising cost of living, pollution and the proliferation of adulterated foods. We realized an opportunity to combat all these issues through our knowledge of and love for natural farming. In the last 30 years in Dhaka, the amount of green or open space has halved. Food adulteration is growing unchecked - 50% vegetables and 25% fruits sold in Dhaka are adulterated with chemicals to extend shelf life beyond the natural expiration period.

We, students from an agricultural background, started our model farm on our rented house’s rooftop and we produce all kinds of seasonal vegetables, flowers, chicken, fish, bird and quail. We are practicing in a sustainable way where we use compost (comes from kitchen waste) and feed for all pet animals are available in the model roof. The best thing is that everyone lives in this building come to our place not only for recreation purpose but also they get learning opportunities.

They buy all the harvested crops from us with pre-order. Their children also join us while working. All these facts greatly inspired us to come up with a social venture. We started our journey in the mid of 2016 in Dhaka and soon we would spread to other major cities in the country.

Urban farming is a supplemental food source and mental recreation

‘Nagarkrishi’ is an urban form of agriculture. At Nagarkrishi, our social entrepreneur initiative, we thrive on pioneering new ideas and empowering city dwellers to reap the rewards of local food production. We believe that sustainable urban agriculture can promote healthy diets, environmental stewardship, stronger communities and improved quality of life. We hope that city-based farming ventures will increase public awareness of agricultural issues and foster a greater appreciation of farmers everywhere. 

Our goal is to reach 50% of the people living in Dhaka city to start growing food in their rooftop, backyard or even on their balcony. We believe in disruptive eating - producing and consuming fresh, healthy, and sustainable food in a way that gives consumers the power to eat right and take control of their own food. We want to expand our services to other urban cities across the country. 

We have already served 200+ families, with average 4 persons per household, in setting up or supplying their urban farms/gardens. Growing their own fruits and vegetables helps these families to save money, relieve mental stress and source of communal purpose; because we have seen that everyone gets involved. We have also provided vegetable seeds and training to 200+ young people aged between 5 to 12 to create a culture of urban farming in early childhood. Finally, we are working with 15+ farmer households (average size 4-5) who supply us with seeds and other inputs.

Instead of spending years figuring out how to grow food, we want to help others to grow better food by making gardening easier and more fun. Our customers make up a tribe of people who are inspired to grow their own food in a simple and fun way, fueled by each successful harvest. At present, our service is in entire Dhaka city and has planned to expand major cities soon. We look forward to helping you feed your inner farmer. Because we believe farming is fun.

 

Photo credit: Abu Yousuf Shihab