Brazilian shopping center developer Aliansce invested R$15.5m in BeGreen, a Brazilian farm-to-table vegetable subscription platform building farms in shopping center parking lots.
(Contxto) Food waste is often the outcome of transporting fruit and veggies from rural areas to supermarkets and restaurants in cities. To make matters worse, edibles are often left to rot as it sits on store shelves waiting to be bought.
In light of this wasted opportunity, BeGreen is taking an out-of-the-box approach and bringing farms to cities in Brazil. To that end, it recently raised R$15.5 million (~US$3 million) with Aliansce, a shopping center developer.
It shall use the funds to open eight more farms, most of which will be near its investor’s malls.
BeGreen in the city
Giulano Bittencourt founded BeGreen in 2016 originally as a B2B vegetable delivery service for restaurants. Like other urban farming startups, it seeks to offer fresher products and reduce agriculture’s environmental impact by growing crops within metropolises.
Although as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, BeGreen shifted to a subscription model that tenders mostly to individual consumers looking for fresh products.
The value of its food kits range from US$8 to US$18, depending on what you want to include. In exchange, the startup boasts top-notch products both in terms of quality and freshness.
Its farms are found mainly in places like shopping center parking lots (though there is one in a Mercedes-Benz dealership). BeGreen locations have also offered another revenue stream for the startup. In the malls where its farms are found, guided tours are available.
This is likely a selling point for shopping centers like Aliansce who are looking to add more attractions for visitors. Simultaneously, BeGreen benefits from positioning its products and brand among curious onlookers.
Urban farming in Latin America
Over in Germany, Infarm raised US$170 million to build its vertical farming network this week. The round shows how urban farming is gaining traction among users in Europe who want more organic products or at least more eco-friendly alternatives.
In Latin America however, the concept of urban farming is barely beginning to bud.
Startups working in the area include Brazilians Pink Farms and BeGreen as well as Chilean AgroUrbana who raised US$1 million in June.
Given the growing demand for food, these startups won’t ever fully satisfy Latam bellies. However, they do help city dwellers reconnect with growing food and to be more conscious about what they consume.