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A farm in your own kitchen? Our business is tackling food waste

Thought Leader

A farm in your own kitchen? Our business is tackling food waste

Uninspired by their options as new graduates, these three co-founders took their future into their own hands. Making an impact on everyone else’s on the way.

 

Name           Jack Farmer, Charlie Guy and Ben Crowther
Business      LettUs Grow

 

LettUs Grow.jpgFood waste is a colossal problem. But can a group of recent graduates address it?

 

With potential employers not having a focus on sustainability and social impact, Jack Farmer was left uninspired.

 

Having just completed his degree in Biology, he knew exactly how convoluted the supply chain was for fresh food in the UK.

And seeing that urbanisation was on the rise, that there was a need for increased farming space which just wasn’t there.

 

“Essentially I was thinking, ‘how can one person make a difference to a complicated supply chain?’”

 

And to make that change happen, he got the ball rolling himself. He started at the University of Bristol’s start-up accelerator, working on an urban farming product. The concept: to make products which make it easier to grow salads and herbs  at home, easily and ethically, whilst reducing food waste at the same time.

 

For the first few months, Jack looked at this from a biological standpoint. But he realised it needed some technical genius to really accelerate the business.

 

Engineers Ben Crowther and Charlie Guy joined the founding team and together they formed LettUs Grow. 

 

The #VOOM impact

 

Not long after they joined, LettUs Grow got involved with #VOOM 2016. Imagine taking part in a 29 hour Pitchathon one day after your final exam. That gave Charlie a lot of preparation to do.

 

“We jumped into the deep end with #VOOM. We wouldn’t have put ourselves out there as much as we did without the competition.”

 

But taking their idea of home-grown produce to the public meant that they could start off with the market research they needed. They got great press and customer validation which helped them to push ahead and take their products to the next level.

 

Looking for funds

 

Like most product based start-ups, LettUs Grow found it difficult to grow revenue whilst still developing the tech.

 

Jack said, “It was difficult to maintain our momentum, and resulted in lots of part time jobs. Keeping our energy up became a challenge as our workload doubled.”

 

But 2017 kicked off by securing a vital grant funding collaboration with a local product design company – meaning the team are all full time now and really accelerating. The positive reaction from #VOOM shows that their idea has the right interest – which along with sheer persistence has been crucial in finding the support they need.

 

Next steps

 

Over the next 6 months LettUs Grow are focusing on completing prototype development. This autumn the products will be put into real users’ hands, and the team are excited to learn more about how customers interact with them.

 

“For us, it’s planet and profit. The business must be sustainable in every way”

 

Making an impact is the top of LettUs Grow’s priority list. And Jack, Charlie and Ben know that they won’t stop until they have created an environmentally friendly product that benefits people and the environment.

 

Jack summed it up with, “Success is about influencing people, either through behaviour or their actions, to do better in the world. If we’ve made someone happy, made their life easier, or provided them with a much tastier herb, that’s a success.”

 

Growing in your home is a thing of the future. Watch this space.