In Malaysia, cancer cases are increasing each year. In 2018, cancer was the second highest cause of death in Malaysia, which resulted in 16000 deaths in the year itself. Surrounded by news from relatives and friends that were suffering from cancer, Clarence Chin wanted to look for answers.
“They didn’t have poor lifestyle habits or genes that predisposed to chronic illnesses. This puzzled me a lot,” shared Clarence.
After some research, Clarence believes that poor knowledge of food sourcing and a lack of pesticide-free options may be factors in some chronic illnesses.
Feeling determined to solve the dire problem at hand, he decided to start searching for local solutions in common stores, restaurants and online websites as well. To his surprise, he found that there were not many available options with a consistent supply of healthy produce and ingredients from chemical-free farms.
This has sparked him to embark on a journey to seek out these zero-chemical farms which produce toxic-free crops. Along the journey, he realised many growers, especially from small and medium-sized farms, were facing a similar problem. They often didn’t have direct access to consumers, thus they were reliant on distributors or middlemen to sell their produce. These additional “layers” made their produce more expensive for consumers.
“The small farmers are being squeezed. Running a farm itself is expensive, and they already don’t make much money,” Clarence explains.
Clarence was fuelled to bridge the gap between farms and consumers in order for organic farmers to enjoy the benefits of fair trade. In 2017, Everleaf was launched with the mission to source and deliver tasty, nutritious and zero-chemical products directly to homes in the Klang Valley.
After initially starting with just 10 orders a week, they now have 500 customers in their database and have moved up to 80 vegetable boxes a week.
Through Everleaf’s mobile app consumers can choose how they want to fill their boxes and can also learn exactly where their vegetables are grown. Aside from greens, they also offer mushrooms, honey and condiments from high quality local producers.
Before being distributed to customers, the vegetables are either delivered to Everleaf’s base in Shah Alam, about 30 km from Kuala Lumpur, or are directly collected from the suppliers or farms. Orders are delivered within 28 hours, the company says.
As well as keeping customers happy, Everleaf also wants to ensure farmers can earn a decent income, so they let farms set their own prices. However, not many farmers were convinced with the business idea yet and many still have doubts. Therefore, Clarence visited the farms repeatedly to acquire more farms to partner with the platform.
To date, a total of 18 farms and suppliers have joined the platform to provide a wide range of organic vegetables, poultry, artisan products, and zero-waste products. Most of the farms that sell on Everleaf are certified as organic facilities. For smaller farms that do not have the resources to get certified, Everleaf works closely with CETDEM (Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia) to help those farms to boost their credibility by ensuring they meet basic organic farming standards.
Feedback from consumers so far has been positive, particularly in terms of the condition of the vegetables. Although they have received comments that their prices are slightly higher than vegetables sold in the supermarket, the time-saving benefits of home delivery should make the slightly higher price worthwhile.
“Customers don’t have to rush to supermarkets after work, waste time looking for parking or queuing. Deliveries are done to their doorstep, so they have more time,” Clarence adds.
He feels that their delivery service suits the busy city worker or working families who prefer their weekends be filled with activities of their choice, instead of being at the supermarket pushing through crowds.
Everleaf is working hard to expand their customer base through digital promotions and strategic partnerships with food businesses, such as restaurants and catering companies. “We are committed to supporting the conversion from conventional to natural farming and educating the masses on the negative effects of chemical farming to churn more support and love for the organic industry,” Clarence stated.
Everleaf has joined ZOM-IN.com to collaborate in efforts to empower aspiring youths. Join us now at www.zom-in.com to participate in exciting events coming soon!