eKutir’s VeggieLite gains Gates Foundation grant
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
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.”