The beginning of the New Year marked a time of innovation for Profugo. We intentionally organized and mobilized our community members, sowing the seeds that we hope will germinate into enduring opportunities for our community members to be owners and leaders in improving their quality of life. Notably, we began the registration process of starting our Profugo Real Toxin Free Farm Products and Farmer Producer Company (FPC) with a founding shareholder class of ten empowered female farmers. Thus, we established one of India’s only all-female farmer producer companies. Our inaugural Community Resource Ambassadors (CRAs) completed their multi-level training and began their work in the field. Invigorated and motivated, these leaders already have greatly expanded our community outreach efforts by establishing new corner groups that are shareholders in the Profugo Real FPC.
We continue to prioritize sustainable agriculture practices through our Organic Kitchen Garden (OKG) program. We initiated the Profugo Real-Karimbil Vegetable Cooperative to sell our quality, toxin-free produce and food stuff to a group of foreigners in an area about 6 km from our Center for Development. This marks a pivotal transition in our sustainable agriculture program, from subsidy-based activities to an income-generating venture for our farmers.
Our CRAs, supported by the staff, have surpassed all goals and expectations for formation of new corner groups. Corner groups have been critical social capital for Profugo to engage with and organize with community members for years now, but now corner groups will also be enrolled as shareholder entities of the Profugo Real Farmer Producer Company. To establish a group, CRAs must hold formation meetings, collect membership forms from each member, and collect the necessary shareholder fees. As members of corner groups, these individuals will be able to engage with and benefit from our various schemes and activities, from farming to poultry to microcredit, just to name a few. Our CRAs are now the organizers in leading these groups, in partnership with each group’s corner group leader. We are thrilled to see the beginnings of this reinvigorated community leadership model.
Organic Kitchen Garden and Vegetable Cooperative
After distributing our organic vegetable seedlings in October 2020, we conducted rounds of monitoring visits to ensure the best local toxin free farming practices and quality produce possible. We conducted our third and final monitoring visits in January. The team was able to connect with a community of foreigners living near an ashram in Karimbil, an area about 6 km from Profugo’s Center of Development. After building a relationship with these individuals, we began a cooperative where these individuals order our products (vegetables, fruits, spices, and eggs) on a weekly basis, we collect the necessary stock from our farmers, package and assemble the items, and deliver them to convenient pick-up locations in their area. Our farmers are thrilled by this opportunity. There is no local market for toxin free products and items that are common household staples, such as papaya or passionfruit. However, these items are heavily desired by foreigners. They are engaged in intentional living and appreciate the opportunity to purchase quality, ethical, and toxin free produce. Thus, we are able to offer the farmers a novel opportunity to generate revenue from their organic farming. We are able to offer farmers excellent profits for their produce and provide a fair rate for toxin free products for our customers. This is a mutualistic relationship, that we hope to expand and scale up in the future.
Overall, our first month of 2021 reflects a hopeful start, laying a fertile foundation, ripe with potential for continued growth!