For someone to whom sustainable living and healthy eating is a way of life, opening an organic store is only natural progression, and so it was for Rahul Pabreja. “We want to make the whole city organic, starting with Bandra” the owner of Mumbai’s first 100% organic store tells us. Selling organic dairy products, fresh veggies, fruits and a variety of grains and superfood, his venture ‘The Farmers’ Store’ is a small nondescript place on the Ambedkar Road, Pali Hill, which is all set to open next week.
Rahul and his business partner, Mithran Jayan have been associated with the popular D’Monte Park Farmers Market for quite some time now. They feel strongly for the cause of supporting rural farmers, especially now when the media is full of headlines screaming about the agrarian crisis. “On an average, a farmer gets 15% of the retail price of their produce. Through the farmers’ market, they get 95% of the returns,” he explains. There are no middle men involved and the team visits and interacts with farmers from all over the country to make sure that all produce they sell is organic and certified. He speaks passionately about the growing demand of organic produce in the city. “The store is a solution for making it more easily available under one roof,” he says. Everything comes from and goes back to NGOs and rural farmers. Nothing is sourced from corporate farms or aggregators.
The smell of the fresh white paint on the store walls, still lingers in the air as Rahul takes us through the various displays on his store. There are rustic, wooden baskets containing fresh onions, cauliflowers, brinjals and jars containing oodles of thick ghee placed alongside the labelled, super grain packets, neatly lining the shelves. A freezer on the corner exhibits something called the ‘free range eggs’ which come from free roaming, uncaged hens.
A zero-waste store, with a ‘no frills, no packages’ policy; the store even has grain dispensers, so that one can take what they want and pay by weight, thus making it easier for the store to control waste. They are planning to put up solar panels up on their roof and have also been encouraging people to use dead assets; something like a terrace, or window gardens to grow organic produce. “The cost of production is negligible. We manage the sales. All one needs to do in is put in the time and effort,” Rahul adds.
A week to their official opening, but ‘The Farmer’s Store’ already has a great customer base. Their best-selling products, avocados, are already all sold out and the store is currently in the process of roping in restaurants to support the cause. “We want to see more healthy cafes and restaurants popping up in the city, with them buying products from us of course,” Rahul chuckles.
Address: The Farmers’ Store opens at Siffin Apartments, Ambedkar Road, Bandra, right next to the Le15 Patisserie on the 24th of July. You can visit their Facebook page here for more information.
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