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29 August, 2022

From Portfolios

GREENS aims to empower Indonesia’s 240M non-farmers with its meta-farming solutions

GREENS has created a seed-to-meal dine-in platform, indoor growing chambers, and farming as a service for anyone to grow food in their community

Despite being a country with abundant agricultural resources, Indonesia is facing a threat to its food security.

The archipelago loses up to 48 million metric tonnes of food annually primarily due to inefficient processing, storage, transportation, and selling of food crops. It also faces a very high risk of soil erosion. The lack of organic content in the soil harms yields and leads to malnutrition.

Growing food loss, contamination, and undernourishment due to complex supply chains, climate change, and deteriorating lands — all pose a massive threat to the country’s food security.

Geraldi Tjoa and Erwin Gunawan, two entrepreneurs at heart, wanted to do something about this.

So, in 2019, they set up GREENS with a mission to eliminate unnecessary food loss and nourish people.

GREENS is a hyperlocal meta-farming company (meta farming is a way to farm virtually from anywhere, including metaverse, and consume and monetise their harvests in the real world).

“Our vision is to build hyperlocal gastronomy in every neighbourhood,” says Tjoa.

GREENS is led by CEO Andi Sie and Co-Founders Tjoa (CPO) and Erwin Gunawan (CBO).

Sie and Gunawan hold Bachelor’s degrees in Science from The Ohio State University. While Sie has over 15 years of building tech startups in the US and Indonesia with multiple exits, Gunawan has equal years of experience in the supply chain, F&B, and distribution and is also blockchain certified.

Tjoa, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Pelita Harapan University, has expertise in food production and automation with a robotics background.

Building a hyperlocal food ecosystem

In a nutshell, GREENS aims to build a hyperlocal food ecosystem in Indonesia, leveraging AI and Web3 technologies.

The Jakarta-headquartered company has created a fully integrated seed-to-meal dine-in platform (GREENS station), indoor growing chambers (GREENS pods), and farming as a service so that anyone can eat well and participate in growing food in their community.

GREENS stations will be distributed in every community to help decentralise food sources and increase access to food equity for all people. Each GREENS station is powered by one or more GREENS pods. GREENS pods automatically use AI to cultivate every crop with minimal human-to-plant interactions. It uses IoT to fulfil the growing needs (like water, temperatures, and others) of different crop varieties.

“Hyperlocal food ecosystem is where food is grown, processed, and harvested in the same location. We build this ecosystem using our proprietary indoor cultivation system with a controlled environment called GREENS pod. Each GREENS pod is integrated into our dine-in facilities called GREENS stations. We grow high-nutrient food sources like microGREENS using up to 90 per cent less water and 70 per cent less land inside every GREENS pod and serve the harvests as delicious meals in a GREENS station where the GREENS pod is located,” shares Tjoa.

“Blockchain in GREENS provides traceability and transparency of every crop we harvest. Blockchain also enables us to enter the Web3 ecosystem toward the decentralisation of food production. Our objective is to provide a way for ordinary people to participate in better food production by enabling them to grow food together with us,” explains Sie.

With GREENS’s farming as a service technology and service offerings, people with zero experience in agriculture could virtually farm in metaverse from anywhere and consume and monetise their harvests in the real world.

According to CBO Gunawan, the startup aims to empower 240 million non-farmers in the archipelago. Currently, Indonesia, with a population of over 270 million, has an estimated 33 million farmers. These farmers want to participate in growing a variety of high nutrients foods like microGREENS that are hard to grow traditionally. “We plan to bring GREENS stations to as many communities as possible across Indonesia and beyond.”

The startup recently secured an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding led by East Ventures, with participation from other unnamed investors.

GREENS now has plans to raise seed funding for metaverse integrations and to deploy GREENS stations in a minimum of 100 communities within the next three years.

But the market and investor awareness and education remain a great challenge in its path to achieving this mission.

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Original article on e27, 25 August 2022.