eKutir’s new project VeggieLite is a recipient of Grand Challenges India 2014, supported by the Gates Foundation, USAID and DBT, the Indian government’s anti-poverty scheme.
The pioneering project, created in collaboration with Wholesome Wave and McGill Center for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE), has been awarded US$ 250,000 under the Grand Challenges program ‘Achieving Healthy Growth through Agriculture and Nutrition’. This rewards the development of innovative interventions that integrate agricultural practices with nutritional outcomes aimed at improved health benefits for women and children, resulting in significant socio-economic impact.
Commencing in May 2014, VeggieLite will create a distribution channel for farmers to sell fresh vegetables directly to low income groups. It is an extension of eKutir’s VeggieKart initiative which creates sustainable market linkages for rural farmers to sell their produce.
VeggieKart launched in Bhubaneswar, Odisha in late 2013 to disrupt the current agricultural distribution chain, ensuring smallholder farmers living at the base of the pyramid gain improved and secure incomes whilst consumers receive fresher, better quality produce. VeggieKart produce is collected daily at a central point and distributed either direct to consumers via an online e-commerce platform, via assigned VeggieWheel carts located in main thoroughfares across the city or to existing retail outlets.
VeggieLite hubs will be established in local villages and urban slums to sell fresh, affordable and nutritious vegetables to low income households. Women will be empowered by undertaking key roles in this initiative as smallholder producers, managing the VeggieLite hubs and as consumers of fresh produce for their households.
Says eKutir founder and Ashoka Global Fellow Krishna Mishra “We’re delighted that VeggieKart/VeggieLite initiative has received recognition and funding. This sustainable and holistic approach improves the diet quality and enhances the livelihoods of our poorest communities whilst creating jobs for women.”
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eKuitir is a for-profit social business that develops innovative products and services for people at the Base of Pyramid (BoP) to improve their livelihoods. Through the implementation of their PIE (Participatory IT-enabled Entrepreneurial-driven) social business model which incorporates sharing knowledge via ICT solutions, building partnerships and mentoring last-mile micro entrepreneurs, eKutir addresses key social needs whilst reducing poverty and empowering people in rural areas.
eKutir’s services focus on the creation of WEALTH – the basic needs of the poor household.
- Water & Sanitation
- Agriculture & Livelihood
- Learning & Skill Building
eKutir is currently working with more than 50,000 smallholder farmers across 4 states in India.
About Wholesome Wave
Wholesome Wave fosters strong linkages between local agriculture and under-served communities to create a more vibrant and equitable food system for all people.
Wholesome Wave programs improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Reaching over 25 states in the US, they work with more than 60 community-based organizations who manage nearly 400 farm-to-retail venues, and impact more than 3,500 farmers.
The McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE) examines integrative and interdisciplinary solutions to diet and lifestyle related health conditions in ways that stimulate economic growth, by enabling transformation and innovation at individual, community, value chains, markets and health systems level. With co-leaders CGIAR/IFPRI (agriculture and nutrition) and the INCLEN Trust (clinical epidemiology and population health),
MCCHE is spearheading the formation of a coalition for the convergence of health and economics, with plans for 5-year start up plans for project, such as the present eKutir-VeggieKart or Wholesome Wave in industrialized countries, that target humanitarian outcomes in an economically sustainable manner.