The Shandy was founded by Organic Farmers, P.B. Murali and Hari Sethuraman based on their years of experience in implementing and managing their Organic Farm. Having seen positive improvements in the soil and quality of produce, Murali and Hari wanted more farmers to pursue Organic farming. They helped many farmers switch over and pursue organic farming seriously, giving them the right technical inputs and guidance from time to time. As the produce from these farmers were harvested, there was a need for a respectable and fair priced market to help these farmers market their organic produce. Out of this necessity was born the “Sunday Shandy” in 1998, a weekly farmers market for fresh fruits and vegetables. The idea at that time was for the farmers to bring their produce and sell it to the customers directly. Customers had access to authentic organic produce directly from the farmers, whom they could meet and talk to. This resulted in mutual respect between the farmers and customers at the “Sunday Shandy”.
Over time not all farmers could come on a weekly basis owing to their work schedules, distance travelled to the city and small volumes which did not always justify their time spent in a weekly market. Many farmers preferred to send their produce rather than come in person. Today, The Shandy has grown to a bustling marketplace that sells a range of organic produce sourced from farmers in Tamilnadu, Karnataka & Andhra as well as other parts of India.
This farm network has grown into a large pool of knowledgeable farmers who have first hand experience in cultivating different crops without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Our peer group help each other during challenging times, sharing knowledge and market intelligence. We focus on improving the quality of the produce at every stage of cultivation and post harvest. As a team, our work is not as simple as policing the farmers with routine visits. The visits and interaction is all about improving working relationships, planning for the next crop, new technologies and inputs available. We also discuss how we can do all this by keeping prices viable for the farmer and affordable for the customer.
Farmers are treated with respect with no contracts or binding arrangements. They are happy to be part of this network since it is their peer group and they are not mere suppliers. All payments to the farmers are made within few days through bank transfers. They are also at liberty to supply other customers or leave our network entirely without any financial strain. The farmers are part of this network entirely at their will.
The Shandy procures large quantities of organic produce from its farmer network and supplies wholesale to many other Organic Stores and institutions in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Delhi and other cities. This is in addition to the retail store at Chennai.
Many farmers who were on the verge of abandoning farming are thriving agriculturists now and today they are examples of success in their respective villages. Nothing works like success and many more farmers are coming forward to join this silent movement.