• GrowHer

Meet Jolene from Singapore

Q: Hi Jolene, can you introduce yourself and what you do?

Hi! My name is Jolene and I am 24 years old and the founder of Urban Tiller Singapore which is an AgTech startup that delivers fresh vegetables to consumers within 6-8 hours of harvest.

Q: What makes Urban Tiller stand out as an AgTech delivery service?

Urban Tiller only sources from local farmers – fulfilling our proposition of delivering only the most sustainable, fresh, and safe produce to our buyers. Urban Tiller promises maximum freshness as the produce being delivered is harvested no more than 8 hours before its delivery to the consumer. Did you know spinach loses up to 90% of its nutrients within its first 24 hours of harvest? I don’t think many consumers think about this when they purchase their produce. In Singapore, people mostly care about low-cost options found in supermarkets due to price competition. However food should be valued for more than its cost. I think it's also important to care about the farmers you source from. Buying locally supports your local community as well as reduces your carbon footprint as food is grown directly here and doesn’t need to be transported from one country to another. Importing food also increases the chance of food waste because of accidents occurring during the transportation process. Urban Tiller acts as a direct portal between the consumer and the farmer due to a smaller supply chain process. It is essentially a farm-to-table model. So you know your produce is supporting local farmers without the affiliation of many third-party vendors that all take a pay-cut.

Q: What advice do you have for young people like you who want to get into the Agriculture or AgTech industry?

I think as a young person you should make a lot of connections, build relationships and work on applying your knowledge. A lot of different types of knowledge is needed in the supply chain of agriculture related produce and products. Furthermore, a lot of successful people in agriculture are all-rounders since they come from many different backgrounds such as tech and business - you really need to know the science behind growing processes as well the financial aspect of it and the marketing of your product. The future of farming also needs to be sustainable - not only in terms of environmental sustainability but in the way we connect with farmers and consumers. Consumers should be more made aware of where their food actually comes from and remember the farmers whose livelihoods are dependent on the food we consume. Overcoming the supply chain fragmentation is challenging, but it is necessary and beneficial to everyone who is a part of it.

Q: What are your goals for the future and Urban Tiller as a whole?

I would like to eventually spread the Urban Tiller model into 30 different Asian cities in the future. I’m also considering building a ‘WeWork’ for farming where I can help individuals who would like to start a business in agriculture – I’ll be able to provide farming expertise and the infrastructure - (often seen as a huge cost and barrier to entry). We could potentially work off a monthly subscription and I will support them with some of the necessities they need to start the business. I think this would be really helpful for young entrepreneurs who might be a bit intimidated to start a business in agriculture.

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