Fresh: creating a fair and sustainable local food economy

In Chile, local food security highly depends on smallholder farmers. However, as they don’t have direct access to the market and often depend on intermediaries, they often don’t receive a fair price for their products. Fresh seeks to create a fair and sustainable local food economy that shortens the distribution chain. With this innovative e-commerce concept, we work directly with smallholder farmers and offer them fair trade, promote sustainable agriculture and create a market for organic products and responsible products.

We currently work together with 10 producers and deliver their incredible products to consumers and businesses in Santiago. Two of our farmers, Hernán and Gonzalo, recently shared their story with us and told us more about their experiences working with Fresh.

A new of way working together

Hernán is a farmer who, together with his family, has transformed the land into his livelihood. Gonzalo is an organic farmer and has been with Fresh from the start. “Being organic is a way of life, we are a family of farmers and we want to follow the tradition of natural agriculture.”

Hernán harvesting organic parsley at his farm in El Monte

Hernán joined Fresh a month ago and is very happy about what we’ve accomplished together. “I now have access to a larger distribution channel.” He can sell his products directly from his field and is managing to sell products that he previously had to throw away and transform into compost. Gonzalo also greatly values that we pay the same day and not in 30, 60 or 90 days, like big buyers do. “I like working with Fresh because they care about us and not only about generating profits by selling my products.”

Adapting in challenging times…

In the context of climate change, both Hernán and Gonzalo see water scarcity as their biggest challenge. Drastic changes in irrigation regulations affected the quality of the products and even led to the loss of some crops. Hernán explains: “For me it is key to grow so that I can invest in technologies that help me deal with this problem.”

For his part, Gonzalo has also been affected by COVID-19. Among his customers are many restaurants, that, due to contingency, had to cancel their orders. In addition, despite being a certified organic farmer since 2010, he has not managed to find a channel that values his products as organic, because of the large number of intermediaries in the industry. “I have to sell my products at the same price as farmers who use chemical pesticides, even though my vegetables are healthier.” 

…but optimistic about the future

However, when it comes to the future, both farmers are optimistic. They are positive about collaborating with Fresh and expect our digital channel to become a true trading tool. A tool that will help them to plan their crops more efficiently, based on consumer preferences, so they can increase their sales. “I think my dream and the dream of Fresh are in line with each other. My expectations for the future are high.”

Gonzalo harvesting organic lettuces at his farm in Melipilla

This is why we plan to grow rapidly in the coming months. We want to continue to support our farmers, keep securing the local food chain and hire people who have lost their jobs due to the current health crisis.

Join us!

Our ambition is to create a fair and circular food economy in Chile. If you are interested in what we do, want to collaborate or invest, be sure to contact us at nils@enviu.org.

In addition, if you want to try quality products and at the same time contribute to improving the planet through fair trade, we invite you to go to freshapp.cl and place your order!

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