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Farm to Table Relief Fund: The Success Story

Updated: Jan 14, 2022

The lockdown and its wrath:

The COVID-19 pandemic had taken a huge toll on the health of lakhs of Indian citizens in 2020. But another major outcome of the pandemic was the worsening of the economic divide in the country. This divide, characterised by the unavailability of basic resources in times of turmoil, was further exacerbated by COVID-19 and the subsequent country-wide lockdowns.

Thousands of hungry and out-of-work labourers in cities, farmers devoid of income in rural areas were hurt the most. While farmers were unable to market their produce due to logistical constraints imposed by the lockdown, migrant labourers stranded in cities did not have access to adequate food and ration. Since the government wasn’t able to successfully ameliorate the situation, a handful of good samaritans and organisations took it upon themselves to achieve the task of both eliminating hunger in cities and providing steady income to those suffering in rural India. Enter Taru Naturals, Americano and the International Association for Human Values (IAHV).

Achieving twin objectives: The ‘Farm to Table’ Relief Fund

The tagline “Save a Farmer, Feed a Family'' perfectly captures the essence of this initiative - helping small farmers sell their harvest and feeding daily wage earners who are struggling for essentials in containment zones. Social enterprise Taru Naturals and Restaurant chain Americano set up the ‘Farm to Table’ fund to purchase food kits directly from small farmers and distribute them amongst economically weaker communities in the cities (comprising labourers). Ideated by Chef Alex Sanchez and Mallyeka Watsa, co-founders of Americano, the initiative was materialised by the Taru team, headed by CEO/Co-Founder Ruchi Jain, which was tasked with the logistics of transporting food kits from farms across Western and Southern parts of the country to Mumbai via truck. Each kit consisted of 5 kgs of wheat, 2 kgs of rice, 3 kgs of Dal, half a litre of oil and half a kilo of fresh vegetables lasting for fifteen days when consumed by a family of four. The core partners managed to raise a sum of Rs. 16.2 lacs till date on fundraising platform Ketto with the support of partner organizations (such as Sri Sri Rural Development Programme and Dixcy Scott). These proceeds were used solely to purchase food kits, each costing Rs. 650, directly from the farmers.

The Impact:

The success of the fund was visible in the impact created by the core team. A total of 4161 kits (approx. 126 tons of essentials), the majority coming from Pune, were purchased from districts across Karnataka (Belgaum, Bedkihal) and Maharashtra (Osmanabad, Pune, Maan Taluka Satara, Hadapsar). A total of 5000 farmers were benefited in the process. These relief kits were then distributed to labour groups across Mumbai via IAHV, spanning the suburbs of Dharavi, Kandivali and Alibaug. Donations worth Rs.1 lakh were also made to daily wage earners in Kashmir, impacting approximately 300 people in the capital city of Srinagar. Partners Dixcy Scott and Sri Sri Rural Development Program took the initiative a step further by donating masks to the National Association of Blind and the National Association of Street Vendors of India respectively. A total of 6000 masks reached the hands of the needy.

The incredible efforts of the core partners, generous donors, staff and volunteers culminated in the success of the ‘Farm to Table’ relief fund. But the journey has not yet ended; there are thousands of farmers and labourers who might still need help and this initiative strives to touch as many lives as possible. With the help of benevolent donors, the Taru team and its partners aims to keep this goal alive

Authored by: P. Krithik, Intern (IIM Indore)

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