Unlike many ideas of our time, we didn't come about by typing code in a garage but by growing oranges on a farm. While trying to make a living as young farmers, we learnt that we had to sell directly to end-consumers if we wanted to succeed.
In 2017, Gabriel and Gonzalo Úrculo joined forces with Juliette Simonin and Moisés Calviño to found crowdfarming.com and share their sales channel with other farmers.
We’re working to remove intermediaries from the food supply chain. How do we remove intermediaries from a chain without becoming an intermediary? The answer is simple: by providing value-added services.
The direct sale of food between farmers and consumers requires certain services for it to take place: a platform to offer and sell products on, logistics to transport packages, customer service (for our CrowdFarmers, as we call them), and advertising tools to make themselves known. These are the four services we provide to farmers.
We don't have a centralised purchasing centre or a supermarket where we sell food. We don't buy food from producers and then resell it. Our added-value lies in building a platform which provides logistics and customer service, so that our Farmers (with a capital "F") can sell their crops directly to the end consumer.
You're empowering them so that they can have an influence on the sale price of their food. Buying without intermediaries allows the producer to secure better prices. This helps generate better jobs and social conditions in rural settings.
Do you get the answer to these questions where you usually buy food? How much money does the producer receive for this olive oil? How much water has been used to produce this avocado? How many miles has this mango travelled? How has this orange been transported?
Our economic model is based on a formula that we've dubbed "Win-Win-Winner": it's good for the Farmer, it's good for society, and together we can improve the environment. We want to firmly link our economic profitability to our social and environmental impact goals.
This idyllic-sounding vision is a reality that works in the following way: the more the farmers sell, the lower the environmental impact of an order. If a farmer sells just one order, the transport cost and the environmental cost will be high. If a farmer sells one thousand orders, we'll be able to cut the transport cost and reduce the unitary environmental impact by optimising routes and maximising freight spaces.
Why demand a shiny piece of fruit? Why does it have to be big or blemish-free? We don't care about its appearance. The important thing for us is that it's fresh, tasty and free from preservation or aesthetics-related treatments on the skin.
A great share of food waste happens before food even reaches our homes. 11% happens at the source, which is the one that angers us the most: we are talking about produced food that won't even be harvested. 19% of food-waste takes place during the processing and wholesale phases, 5% at the retailer's, and 12% is caused by the catering and hospitality industry.
Consumers are more and more aware of food waste. The waste we see is the one we produce at home or at the point of sale, but there's a lot of waste that the consumer doesn't see. For example, the waste of crops grown and that will never be harvested, or the waste of fruits that don't pass the (alleged) beauty standards that the traditional market demands.
CrowdFarming fights against food waste at the source thanks to adoptions. When you adopt something, you allow the Farmer to grow a crop knowing that someone will consume it. In the food supply chain, many farmers grow crops without knowing whether they'll be able to sell them. Moreover, the Farmers at CrowdFarming don't throw away "ugly fruit", as they abide to product-quality criteria instead of aesthetic-ones.
We like acting the way we think. We live in a time where, as food-consumers, we ask ourselves questions beyond the taste of food.
As a team, we have some very enriching internal discussions on various topics: Do we only want organic-certified products available for purchase? Should we only allow vegan products? What is more environment-friendly: a can or a glass bottle? How much water is needed to produce certain foods? Should we be formal or friendly with the people who write to us? What methods of transport should we use? Everything is debatable as long as we do it respectfully.
We like undertaking these decisions with an open mind, and while being true to our values. We won't fall in the trap of trying to please everyone.
We think what we say, and we act as we think. We're not afraid of being wrong; we're only afraid of sitting back and doing nothing.
A personal and compassionate service is one of the greatest privileges of our times. We really like to rely on technology and automate tasks, but we won't compromise on compassionate service, whether with the farmers or the CrowdFarmers.
We don’t believe that we are the best at anything, but we believe we are capable of everything. Innovation isn’t only for big corporations. The greatest innovations are often the simplest ideas to implement.
But for real. We can't imagine implementing a model that doesn't create quality jobs and that isn't conceived to improve the environment. Internally, this means practising what we preach: optimising the company's resources, using only what we really need, reusing things, and thinking about their life after we're done with them.
We foster an agricultural market that guarantees respect for local practices and traditions. We support an inclusive culture that favours social and cultural exchanges, seeking not to impose global, but multi-local solutions.
What does this mean? It means there's no one-size-fits-all formula. We want to understand, integrate, and love the idiosyncrasies of each market where CrowdFarming Farmers produce their crops.
We're human and everything we do can be improved. The only solution to avoid making mistakes would be to sit still and do nothing. But this solution isn't our style.
If we make a mistake, whether it's an error on the website, an incorrect order or regarding the quality of a product, please let us know! Correcting mistakes is part of our day-to-day life. Thank you very much for your help!