Hello CrowdFarmer, I'm so proud that my project caught your attention and that you're here reading this. My name's Xabier Mendia, son of Javier Mendia, who - together with his friend Pedro Gumiel - is the manager and co-founder of Gumendi, a project launched in 1992 (when organic farming was practically unheard of).
My father and Pedro, who were fruit and vegetable farmers, embarked upon this exciting journey in the midst of an agrochemical boom and decided to produce organic food. This was more than thirty years ago in Sartaguda, a small agricultural village in Navarra. They say that their main motivation was to start growing food again like their parents and grandparents used to; in other words, without using herbicides and chemicals. We call that organic farming now, but back in 1992 only a few people knew about it in Spain.
The beginnings were complicated, and they used to store the fruit in the repurposed ground floor of my father's house. Hardly anyone consumed organic products in Spain and sales networks were conspicuous by their absence. They had to go with their first few harvests to Perpignan, France, in order to sell their produce. Fortunately, the demand for our products has kept on growing, as has our project, which now involves about sixty people.
I learned so many things from my father and he infected me with his two great passions: agriculture and music. As a result, I'd spend hours and hours on the piano, on the accordion and on the farm. However, when it came to deciding what to study, I chose Law at university, so my professional career initially seemed to veer away slightly from the family business. Despite this, my love for agriculture and my father's hardworking ethics meant that I was always linked to the industry, as I used to provide advice to consumer associations and unions. That was until 2012, when I decided to come back to the family business and help promote Gumendi's growth as a business.
Pedro still works at Gumendi and lends me a hand in running the business. My father has decided to enjoy an active retirement and has returned to his full-time origins on the farm that he missed so much at the end of his career, when he was spending more time in the office than out on the land. He finally has time now to help other villagers with their farms, while also rediscovering and replanting seeds of traditional local species, such as the Sartaguda peach.
As you can see, my father and Pedro set the bar very high, but they definitely knew how to convey to me all their passion for farming, ecology and the business. With their support and know-how, as well as that of the entire Gumendi team, we're continuing to prosper and do our bit for a greener future.