KUCHARA

KUCHARA: Your food, one generation away.

Lima, PeruLima, Peru
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Kuchara trains the best agri-preneurs and tomorrow’s food system leaders while connects them with responsable consumers through an e-commerce platform. Consumers can eat fresh local organic food at affordable prices and young farmers can sell their products directly to consumers.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if an e-commerce platform could be used to connect more efficiently consumers and young farmers in order to guarantee food security for our and future generations?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are a large number of farmers and consumers served by relatively few market intermediaries, who frequently take a large part of the profit (FAO). In consequence, urban consumers prefer to eat cheap than healthy, and rural youth, prefer to migrate and work in the cities, because agriculture has become in an unprofitable activity. For a world, which just embodies the key of sustainability in the global goals, this is not a promising figure.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Kuchara is an online community market that connects responsible consumers and young farmers allowing them to experience a direct, convenient and time-efficient transaction. In Kuchara, consumers can plan their menu, do the shopping list and receive by delivery fresh organic food directly from the farmer. Consumers can also buy suscriptions with what they will crowdfund education of future farmers, in exchange, they receive long-life discounts in their purchases. Kuchara achieves its goals through Kuchara School, where future farmers are trained as the best agri-preneurs and tomorrow's food system leaders; and, through Kuchara.com, where consumers can buy organic food at affordable prices while they generate social impact in each purchase.

Awards

Finalists in Thaski 2015, a social entrepreneurship competition in Peru.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Daniel, just graduated from Kuchara School, he wants to be a farmer and he has the neccesary tools to achieve it. Mary is one of his clients and she began to use Kuchara.com 10 weeks ago. Today, Daniel gets ready to bring the products to Mary and his other clients in the city. Daniel arrives at Mary's house, bringing the basket of goods that she has requested, including vegetables, eggs and some processed products. Mary tells Daniel, what she cooked last week and how the health of her children has improved in these 10 weeks. Daniel tells Mary, that with revenue of Kuchara, he just bought a computer that is helping him with his agriculture studies at the communitarian institute. Daniel and Mary say bye, until the next delivery.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Kuchara is ready to launch its first pilot in Lima-Peru, with the participation of 25 future young farmers and more than 100 responsible consumers in Lima. For the last 3 weeks, we have targeted consumers who have never eat organic before, who are willing to participate in the program, not yet crowfunding education of future farmers, but buying their products just because of the social impact they generate. Kuchara will transform agriculture into an attractive activity for young farmers, and will enable consumers in the city to eat fresh local organic food at affordable prices. Kuchara is going to change the competitive relationship between producer and consumer, where the producer tries to sell the highest price and the consumer tries to buy the lowest price, into a relationship based in cooperation, where both benefit more cooperating than competing.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In 2017, Kuchara will scale to other cities in Latin America such Mexico or Sao Pulo with their 21 and 23 million inhabitants; these big cities need a smart solution to bring food into their urban areas, while they reduce the high unemployment rates caused by migration of the rural youth. In 2018, Kuchara will scale to Europe, where the youth represent only 6% of the entire farming community, they urgent need young farmers, and Kuchara could be the solution. To achieve the expansion plans, Kuchara will find outstanding teams in each city, whom will run the local operations.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Kuchara's business plan is based in 4 different sources of income. First, through a subvention, where a person or organization pays the Kuchara School course of a young farmer who has not the money to pay. Second, through a retroactive payment from graduates of Kuchara School. Third, through the payment of a new farmer who want to use the platform. Fourth, through suscriptions that consumers can buy in exchange of discounts in their purchases.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Many organizations among NGO's and governments, have adreesed the problem of food security, with urban gardens, vertical farming, educational programs for rural youth, etc. All this initiatives are helping, but, they are not solving the problem of the large chain of intermediaries between consumers and farmers. Kuchara uses simple technology to connect directly farmers and consumers. Kuchara is going to help these NGO's and governments to make more efficient their interventions, but also, is going to give the opportunity to more farmers and consumers to be part of this empowering process.
Team

Founding Story

Around August 2014, Kuchara members identified first time the problem of lack of generational renewal in agriculture. They also realize they were product of that migration process, because years ago, their parents and grandparents had been those young farmers who decided to migrate to the city looking for better life opportunities. Kuchara members had a debt with today's young farmers, to generate opportunities where they through agriculture can achieve their goals in life. Since that day, Kuchara has been pivoting in the pursuit of a sustainable, innovative and scalable business model. Today, 14 months after, they have found it and they are ready to take the next step.

Team

- Diego Valencia is the CEO & Co-Founder of Kuchara. He is an experienced social entrepreneur, having founded other 3 iniciatives related with shared-economy. He has worked as a commercial advisor in a french NGO giving acceess to markets to small farmers in Peru. Diego is the only full-time member on the team, he is leading Kuchara and is on charge of the commercial joining of the young farmers and responsable consumers. - Patricia Marañón is the CTO & Co-Founder of Kuchara. She has experience working on agricultural extension service, having worked with small agroecological farmers in different regions of Peru, and, also training school students in Lima to become in urban gardeners. Patty is on charge of Kuchara School and all the technical support young farmers need. - Rolly Calvo is the CFO & Co-Founder of Kuchara. He is an experienced rural development volunteer, having traveled to many regions of Peru that gives him a solid knowledge of the complex problem of agriculture, and also a clear vision of Peru countryside reality. Rolly is in charge of the financial managment of Kuchara and also to lead the team of volunteers. - Daniel Paredes is the Web Developer advisor. He is helping to prototype the e-commerce platfom. For 2016, the plan is to integrate a full-time Developer in the team.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Facebook

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

CEO & Co-Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Zero Hunger, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

In 2012, with other friends from university, we founded Zoostener, a volunteer organization of university students. Zoostener connects young professionals of agrarian careers who want to travel and to have a broader vision of rural development, with communities who need technical support in different areas of agriculture. Communities inform about the topics they need, and during vacations, the young professionals travel to their communities to share workshops and talks about the topics they request, in exchange of food and a place to stay during the intervention time.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Our strategic partners are SUCO (Canadian NGO) and Vacas Felices (small enterprise). Both organizations have been working in Matucana (the area of intervention where we will implement our first Kuchara School) . SUCO is working with rural youth giving them access to agroecological education. Vacas Felices is a social enterprise who works with organic milk from small farmers. They are going to help us to have a better understanding of the zone and the challenges rural youth are facing there.