Farms come to cities

Four tech entrepreneurs have come together to create ‘PlantMe’, a farming solution for the urban population
Ashwin Ramachandran, Parvathy Sasikumar,  Nithin Kumar and Akhila Ramdas
Ashwin Ramachandran, Parvathy Sasikumar,  Nithin Kumar and Akhila Ramdas

KOCHI: Growing vegetables in the backyard and on terraces have become a common thing among urban residents, especially during the lockdown. But aking up sustainable farming in the city poses some sizable challenges. Not only is it hard enough to find space to farm in cramped up city living spaces, but installing supportive irrigation facilities can often burn a big hole in one’s pocket. 

After analysing all the facts, Ashwin Ramachandran - a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Mobme, Nithin Kumar - executive director of Kanaka Polypack Pvt Ltd, Parvathy Sasikumar- agritech enthusiast turned entrepreneur and Akhila Ramdas - a post-graduate in Artificial Intelligence have come together to create PlantMe Agro Solutions Private Limited ( “PlantMe is a sustainability-driven venture run by veteran eco-farmers and entrepreneurs,” says Ashwin. It offers the urban farmer intuitive support towards building a healthy lifestyle, depending on what they are planning to grow,” he added. 

Dutch Bucket, a design that helps recirculate water and nutrients and conserve space is the optimum condition to grow veggies like cucumber, tomato and capsicum. “For leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and mint, one could opt for the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system and Hydroponic Home Kit, that circulate nutrient-rich water through food-grade UPVC pipes,” says Parvathy.

The system recycles water and is hence sustainable. “The consistent flow of water also helps to avoid salt deposits from forming near the roots. The Home Kit comes with high-quality seeds and nutrient solutions and offers training for farmers to operate and optimise their NFT systems. All products are available on PlantMe’s e-commerce website and delivers across India. We offer 24/7 customer support and service for the farmers,” said Ashwin.

According to the founders, PlantMe Agro Solutions Private Limited is privately funded by Kanaka Polypack Private Limited. The company raised an undisclosed amount of investment from Kanaka Polypack Private Limited in 2020.

Food at home
Opting for a home garden is an effective way to ensure that the food that reaches our plate is full of nutrients and free of harmful additives. “PlantMe Agro Solutions Private Limited helps farmers with state-of-the-art gardening solutions, quality-checked seeds and semi-grown plants which are sturdy, resilient, and low-maintenance. This is the perfect recipe for ensuring that the urban farmers who are looking to cultivate a healthy lifestyle receive optimum support in their journey,” said the founders. 

The company also offers a buy-back facility for customers who have excess produce, thereby giving them a return on their investment. “The buy-back facility is currently available in Kerala and will be launched in other cities soon,” they added. Apart from the Urban Farming community, PlantMe Agro Solutions Private Limited has associated with NGOs in Kerala to inculcate farming interest to children. According to the founders, close to 200 plus urban farmers are associating with PlantMe since its launch in September 2020.

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The New Indian Express