Kitchen gardening has never been more valuable than today. As more and more people are waking up to the realization that it is important to know what is on their plate and consequently, inside their mouths. We are seeing a sharp surge in home gardens for fruits and vegetables. The ‘grow what you eat and eat what you grow’ trend has been escalating due to the widespread fear of contamination of food with fertilizers and chemicals.
The pandemic has been a key accelerator in this shift. While people were stuck at home during the lockdown, kitchen gardening suddenly became a therapeutic hobby for many. From fighting boredom to adding a touch of fresh air to their homes to battling rising concerns of health to switching to sustainable living, people started growing their favorite herbs, vegetables, and fruits in their backyards. Social media has also been brimming with tips and tricks for kitchen gardening enthusiasts. And then there were some who were able to feed themselves and their families during the lockdown only by growing their own produce. For instance, in a small village in Odisha, as daily wage workers were struggling to survive during the lockdown, kitchen gardens not only put food on their table but also helped generate income by enabling them to sell the surplus to their neighbors.
While growing your own produce ensures you always eat fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables, it can also be a great way to start making some money by selling them. Most home gardeners have wondered at some point how to get started with selling their produce but struggle with finding the right marketing channels. Through this article, we bring you a guide on how to start selling your homegrown fruits and vegetables.
1. Word-of-mouth marketing- Most home growers start their kitchen gardens as a hobby or a passion project. And when they are blessed with their first batch of fresh fruits or vegetables, they like to share it with their friends, relatives, or neighbors for free. This could be an interesting way to generate customers whenever you plan to start selling your produce. Your friends, neighbors, and relatives could become a great channel to spread word-of-mouth. Hand out some free batches initially to them and ask them to share honest reviews on quality and freshness to people in their local community. This word-of-mouth will generate many local customers in your area. Most home growers told us that at the beginning of their venture, neighbors brought them maximum sales.
2. Start selling online- Internet penetration across the country today has definitely increased the ease of doing business. Even as a small business owner or farmer, you can easily set up a website and social media for free and start selling online. You can start promoting your business online at a nominal price or leverage Facebook groups for free. Online platforms will allow you the freedom to expand your geographic boundaries and find customers anywhere in India. Listing your business on Google My Business (GMB) will also help customers easily find you in their search queries. You can also find aggregator websites to list your products and cash in on their existing customers.
3. Farmers’ Markets- This is where the ‘know where my food comes from’ trend has gained popularity. Most customers come to farmers’ markets to connect with the food producer. It becomes an experience for customers to connect with the farmer and learn about the source of the food, the growing process, food miles, whether it is truly organic or not. Of course, the fruits and vegetables sold at these farmers’ markets are fresher and higher in quality than what one finds at a supermarket. So as someone looking to sell their homegrown produce, you can visit these weekly markets and easily gain many customers. Just make sure to keep your quality consistent and stay away from any chemicals.
4. Restaurants- When it comes to restaurants, the focus on fresh and quality ingredients becomes key. Hence, most chefs are open to sourcing fruits, vegetables, and herbs from a local grower. You can easily get in touch with local restaurants in your area and start selling your homegrown produce. Handing out free samples, in the beginning, will help the chef be sure of your quality. Orders are usually given on a weekly basis as per the menu, so it would also be easy for you to plan your orders. Most home growers prefer to sell to restaurants as they are bound to get repeat orders and profits are higher.
You can also experiment and diversify your offerings by expanding into homemade foods like jams, salads, etc from the surplus produce or start selling your saplings. Many home growers are also building their social media presence by offering kitchen gardening tips and tricks and conducting workshops. With such avenues, growing fruits and vegetables in your backyard can definitely be a profitable venture today.