The lack of consistent and affordable access to proper nutrition is a harsh reality for the vast majority of people living in disadvantaged communities in South Africa. Currently, most people purchase their vegetables from commercial supermarkets and are therefore subject to escalating food prices and hefty travel costs relative to the small amount of money spent on each shopping trip.
Ideally, most people living at the bottom of the pyramid should be able to grow their own food to consume and sell. Unfortunately, in many disadvantaged areas the soil quality is poor and the skill of subsistence farming has been lost over time as a result of rapid urbanization.
Foodpods is a social enterprise that tackles the challenge of providing food security to disadvantaged communities in a financially sustainable way. We do this by training grassroots entrepreneurs to start and run small-scale, agri-businesses that supply their families and neighbourhoods with fresh, organic vegetables.
Our unique innovations for sustainable impact
1) We Grow in Crates to eliminate soil preparation:
To overcome poor soil quality, we plant our seedlings into ‘crates’ that are lined with a porous fabric and packed with a special mixture of soil and organic compost. Each crate holds between six and twelve seedlings. This innovation eliminates the need for laborious soil preparation, preservation and maintenance. To eliminate the financially unproductive growing period for small scale agri-businesses, we grow thousands of crates at a centralized Market and sell them to our Growers when they are market-ready. When the produce in each crate has been consumed or sold, the Growers exchange the empty crate for a new, harvest-ready crate from our Market for a small fee. Simple but revolutionary!
2) We replicate through Social Franchising:
We are pioneering a scalable, replicable, social franchise business model. A Foodpods Franchise (Market) is established as a manufacturing, growing, sales, distribution, training and resource centre in the heart of the township. A group of Growers are provided with a strip of Crates at the Market and taught how to grow, harvest, distribute and sell fresh, organic vegetables to their community.
3) We employ a rudimentary Push Sales Strategy:
Foodpods Sellers are selected and trained by our Growers to distribute and sell their produce from Mobile Sales Carts. Sellers arrive at the Market early each morning to collect their produce for the day. They return to the Market at the end of each day to cash up and return their carts. Their goal is to establish a loyal customer base, understand and meet their customer’s daily produce requirements and establish dependable sales routes.Through this rudimentary distribution method, Foodpods customers enjoy a dependable home delivery service, saving them time and money.