Did you know that only 30 percent of your purchase at your local Medellín grocery store actually goes to the farmer that grew and harvested them?
On top of that, the farmer sometimes doesn’t even break even when selling his vegetables to the local Mayorista because of the obstacles that stand between his harvest and the selling point.
What if you could give the local farmer twice that amount by simply ordering online and having it delivered?
As a bonus, consider if these vegetables were grown with techniques that avoided toxic sprays and offered a variety of products that you can’t find at the local store.
I hate going to the grocery store (as opposed to my partner who can spend twenty minutes in a single aisle!) so ordering my produce and products from home sounds like pure bliss.
However, SiembraViva is so much more than “the website where you get your vegetables,” it’s the middleman (and woman!) between the farmer and the consumer, facilitating the entire process and giving the farmer much more for it. (Somewhere around 1.5 times the minimum wage).
So, if you didn’t already have “eat clean and healthy” on your New Year’s Resolution list, you are out of excuses.
SiembraViva is the e-commerce company that is taking locally grown products right to your door. They’ve been up and running for about three years and have deliveries available for Medellín, Envigado, Sabaneta and Bello.
Their vegetables come from specific farmers in areas like Santa Elena , La Ceja, and other nearby areas. SiembraViva is careful to choose places in the vicinity of Medellín but also pick farmers that generally have a harder time taking their product to the city.
The farmers and SiembraViva have worked together during every step of the process: the seeds and organic fertilizer are provided for them, techniques like auqaponics explained and accompanied by SiembraViva agronomists who stay on the fields, the harvesting, and the transportation are all team efforts. All without toxic sprays.
This all started with the idea of facilitating the process of farmer to consumer transportation to assure the farmer his profit that makes all the months of work worth it.
However, when Diego and Ana found out about the toxic sprays used in most produce- sprays that aren’t even legal- they decided they had to go one step further: organic.
Their warehouse is now in Belén, and from there they take the produce, weigh, measure, and wash it, and finally separate it into packs depending on the type of product (see below).
Organic vs Agroecological
While the process is all free of toxic sprays and carefully monitored, it’s not exactly organic. Only because organic as a an official label takes years of processing and testing soil, etc. Agroecological, however, is what they call their process for now.
Purchasing from SiembraViva
The entire website and process are in Spanish, but every vegetable has a photo and description that could be deciphered by anyone at a basic level.
Under every item, you can find the “add to cart” plus sign, which also defines the quantity, and when you’re done the total is at the top right with the go to payment button.
You can choose from different kinds of produce that you won’t find in your regular grocery store, but also plenty of other products made locally like breads, coconut oil, condiments, nuts, honey, teas, among many others.
Payment options are flexible: pay via credit card or in cash when your order arrives.
The process for scheduling delivery was great. I got to choose when I wanted my items and the time I would be home to receive them.
The delivery man was kind and even took my vegetables all the way to my fourth-floor apartment for me.
All vegetables were fresh and tasted great! I had so much with only about 30,000 pesos (less than $10) that I even shared some with my partner and family.
Acumen’s collaboration with SiembraViva
Acumen is an organization looking for entrepreneurial solutions to poverty- sustainable solutions, not charity.
Recently, they’ve begun their presence in Latin America and have chosen SiembraViva as one of their projects. They describe their mission with the following:
“The organization we envisioned wouldn’t simply make grants, but would invest in entrepreneurs who had the capability to bring sustainable solutions to big problems of poverty. We would create a venture capital fund for the poor, supported by a global community of philanthropists willing to take a bet on a new approach.”
The fact that they’re involved with SiembraViva says a lot about the possibilities and the reach SV has.
So far, I’m pretty impressed with SiembraViva, and I know that they can fill the needs of the market of people who, like me, hate going to the grocery store and want to help local farmers out to the best of their ability.
For more on SiembraViva see: