I Say Organic is a social enterprise which believes in giving people the option of eating safe food (grown without toxic chemicals and pesticides) while recognising and supporting farmers who grow this food. I Say Organic is working towards making organic products in India conveniently available and accessible, with the larger vision of helping create a movement demanding sustainable production & responsible consumption.
Ashmeet, founder of I Say Organic, started the venture after moving back to India from the US. After traveling widely across the country, which inspired him to tap into the enormous potential agriculture presents to create prosperity, while also ensuring environmental sustainability and strengthening local economies. He holds a Masters in Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship from Brown University and Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from University of British Columbia.
Quite a few of them. With a business-family background, it was clear that I’ll pursue a business of my own. Studied engineering and did a lot of internships. Took up a one-year entrepreneurship program to further equip myself. Thought of starting something in the social sector. Spent a couple of years in San Francisco before returning to India. Traveled across India and did voluntary work. Had thought of going into solar energy but livelihood and agriculture is where one finally took a call.
Like any market research, I started exploring the farming sector. Understood both organic and inorganic farming and gathered first hand experience of farming. Getting an organic farming certification is time taking. Fruits and vegetables were the two items identified. The support system was missing in getting the product from farm to market. So the first step was to connect with the right set of farmers who were shifting towards growing healthier produce. Pesticides driven produce were losing out. Today, feel proud that we have connected with some of the best farmers. Sourcing from authentic folks was very critical.
Where are we today
We have started going beyond fruits, vegetables and groceries. There are about 250 items where majority is plant based except for ghee and honey. In this journey, I have myself turned vegan. We are present in NCR but the plan is to go beyond too. We are going beyond raw materials and staples and plan to add value added products. We are keeping a balance between offline and online presence. We intend to go more into retail. We have built a reputation among key customers. New packaging got launched last month.
Nothing really. Have worked on managing stress over the last two years. Good health is important and if the work is fun, there is little room for stress.
Key takeaways from the journey
One must take a honest call on whether there is happiness in your life. I did have bouts of frustration. Life should not be only about work. It’s important that time is spent on other interests too. Taking out time for people who are important to you is critical. Every week take out 30 minutes and reflect on how happy you are. We all look for external motivators, while it’s the intrinsic motivation which is the key. A lot of external recognition will happen but one should be mindful of not letting that affect our work. Managing people is challenging. Was very reactive some years back but now I am more empathetic. Have become more considerate.
Launching into 3rd party retail thereby get more scale. Will be identifying more and more value adding products. We have no plans to do home delivery beyond NCR for now. Perhaps we will adapt the FMCG framework in the future. No plans to actively look for funding. Self and family invested so far and we intend being that for some more time