Log in or register to follow or vote for this project.
URBAN NEED [SAFE FOOD]: 97.2% of urban residents rank food safety as a major concern (Chinese Ministry of Commerce). Because no central administration regulates food safety, 2011 still brought scandals over exploding watermelon, bleached mushrooms, glow-in-the-dark pork, arsenic soy sauce, and cadmium-tainted rice. Rampant corruption has rendered even the government organic certification system meaningless.
RURAL NEED [ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & EMPOWERMENT]: Rural households make up 50% of China's population, but urban income is now 3x rural income and inequalities are only expected to increase (BBC, USDA). Furthermore, poor farmers who cannot afford losses will keep using dangerous chemicals to produce higher yield and better looking crops (Baylis, 2011).
STATUS QUO: Corporations like Lenovo and Goldman Sachs invest in industrial organics and profit from high market demand, while rural households struggle to live on income from cheap conventional produce. In light of controversy over heavy “natural” chemical use on industrial organic farms, we believe large networks of small farms can produce better food at the same scale, with less environmental harm.
OUR MODEL: The Sprout cooperative connect transitioning farmers with organic veterans so the former can learn best practices from the outset. As member farms grow in productivity & revenue, we lease land and equipment to lower the cost of scaling up. Regular inspections will be conducted to ensure high standards of quality and earn public trust on behalf of our farmers. Sprout will then distribute aggregate yield from our cooperative directly to local consumers — allowing farmers to focus on farming. During summertime, we will launch “Camp Sprout”, a camp hosted on member farms to raise brand awareness and teach urban youth about environmental stewardship.
INNOVATION: Empowering small-scale farmers to embrace cooperative efficiency and methods that produce high quality food with high profit margins.
SCALABILITY: Adding farmers to our cooperative produces more safe food, generates more revenue, and raises more farmer incomes.
SUSTAINABILITY: Employing rural households rather than displacing them. Reducing chemical use and nurturing healthier farmland.