By Hand From The Heart is a biannual Makers Market held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Jitendra Prasad is the founder of Door 2 Door Organics, a dial-in delivery initiative, that provides a weekly farm box of organic vegetables and fruits to its subscibers in Chennai. A farmer himself, Jitendra and his team, independently operate a farm to table process from his organic farms at Red Hills and Tiruvallur.
A bit about you and how did Door 2 Door Organics come to be?
Despite the fancy designations I held in the corporate world with organisations like HDFC, TATA AIG, DST, deep down I’ve always wanted to be a farmer… and thats what I am doing today. A fulfilling career as an organic farmer who ensures that there is no place for middlemen & their margins in my quest to reach out to my health conscious customers. Door 2 Door Organics (D2D) does exactly this; ensuring seamless organic farm produce delivered from farm to kitchen in the shortest possible time frame.
Farm Box. What’s involved? Could you run us through the process?
Our D2D farm box is peace of mind and health delivered at our members doorstep. Based on intense research we have perfected a model where we address three issues of every household.
1. Availability of good quality organic produce on a regular basis for every meal.
2. Wide variety of farm produce to appeal to every age group in the family.
3. By providing enough veggies for the week with interesting weekly recipes, we ensure that the home cook is well equipped to procure a different experience every day.
We have our Veggie Farm Box and Fruit Farm Box – Every veggie farm box has 14 regular vegetables and 8 weekly variety. So in total there are 22 different vegetables delivered every week. The weekly variety keeps changing every week and the schedule is available with the member always. Our Fruit Farm Box has 7 different seasonal fruits delivered every week. Our farm boxes comes in Small, Medium and Large Size and the members can choose based on the family size. We are now gearing up to launch our organic groceries and other organic produce from our farmer community.
Describe a typical day at Door 2 Door Organics.
A typical day at D2D Organics runs like this…
4.00am – 7.00am :The produce from various organic farms and our own farm produce leaves to the central warehouse.
7.00am – 9.30am :The produce is sorted and packed in customer friendly boxes based on the delivery schedule for the day.
9.30 onwards: The delivery vehicles are split in to 3 routes every day and reach the customers door step. Each vehicle caters to a customised router and is planned in a manner that the farm box reached the customer as early as possible.
While the delivery are in full flow, in the backend we are…
1. Tracking the vehicles through our GPS tracking system with hourly updates from the delivery team.
2. SMS to the next day customers is sent out.
3. New customer enquires are handled and enrolled.
4. Planning with the farmers for the next day delivery requirement.
5. Final roll call on the targeted deliveries fro there day which currently ranges from 80 – 100 farm boxes per day.
In between all this, we manage 4 well deserved cups of organic basil drinks.
Apart from this daily routine, we have regular farm visits and farm inspection which is an ongoing periodic activity.
What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge without a doubt is to stick to our primary commitments:
1. Pitching the right expectation on organic produce in customers mind.
2. Fixed farm box price throughout the year.
3. At least one exotic veggies every week.
4. Ensuring timely delivery irrespective of what happens around us.(Incidentally we delivered on every day during the heavy rains & floods of November – December 2015)
5. Contingency planning to work around crop failures, unexpected climate change, etc.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten along the way in building your business?
When we started the end – to – end D2D model, one strong thought that coming through from every quarter was to, “ Ensure win – win of both farmer & customer with no undue advantage being given to any one of them.” We stand by this thought and it guides every activity of ours and ensurers the farmer – customer credibility connect.
You have participated in an earlier edition; what was your By Hand From The Heart experience?
Our participation in the earlier Artisans & Farmers Market edition of By Hand From The Heart was an eye opener. We definitely acquired a sizeable number of committed customers and managed to reach out to our correct target profile.
About Chennai. What advice would you give to other organic entrepreneurs, to explore Chennai?
My humble submission to all the existing and upcoming organic entrepreneurs is simple; The market is still new and the scope for business is massive. But, we need to build our business through credibility and trust. Please ensure that you take every effort possible to trace the origins of the produce you want to deliver. Organic means ORGANIC…. NO COMPROMISE !!
Jitendra Prasad of Door 2 Door Organics, Chennai, will be at By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – 18th Edition
Friday – Saturday, 5th – 6th August, 2016
10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, Tamil Nadu. India