“Microgreens are a niche within the vegetable market in general. However, they have been gaining a lot of traction in the past year in the US and also here in Bali. There are many properties of microgreens that can help much more than eating fully grown vegetables,” Ivan Valor, Founder and CEO of Greens Bali notes.
Greens Bali was found in 2021 in a spare room of Ivan’s villa in Bali. After seeing an impactful Netflix documentary that set the tone for sustainable production, he started experimenting with microgreens. Soon, the word was spread and the demand came in. That made Ivan solemnly focus on microgreens production and found a new farm location to grow.
Due to budget constraints, only 150m2 of the 700m2 farm is used. The company wanted to build the farm in two steps to avoid getting into financial troubles. When the farm is fully complete, they’ll have a 400m2 cultivation area and a 300m2 office space area.
New farms in the books
Recently, the team finished its second investment round of $100,000 for their farm in Bali. This funding will be used to finish the installation of shelves and solar panels. The solar panels will be used to bring down energy costs to zero.
At the same time, Greens Bali has agreed with its investors to build a new farm of 3000m2 in Jakarta this year. As Ivan explains, the farm will service 20 million people in an area of 200 kilometers. The new farm in Jakarta will be fully automated using the latest AI software to control the crops with minimum human intervention.
The bigger-sized farm will allow 300 kilos of Organic Microgreens and Baby Greens production every day. As of now, the farm is delivering around 150 to 200 kgs every month. Once the first farm stage is completed, Greens Bali will be able to deliver 800kgs of Microgreens and Baby greens every month.
“We’ll need to have more automated processes using AI software and with centralized climate control. We also expect to increase the efficiency of the solar panels to increase the output energy we receive.” Besides that, the company wants to use the farm in Bali to educate agriculture students about indoor farming. According to Ivna, there needs to be a change of mindset in agriculture and this is how he’d like to contribute his little bit.
As well as producing a new line of juices that are made of 100% microgreens. “That will definitely improve the actual offer of healthy juices in the market, given the nutrient content we’ll offer. However, this is still in development and we want to focus on becoming the leading microgreens supplier in Bali and Indonesia first.”
A contented chef
High demand from retail
Ivan affirms that most demand is coming from supermarkets and chefs. Very soon, once covid restrictions are removed and tourists come back to Bali, the restaurants will drive the demand much stronger than supermarkets.
“Restaurants have the need to order fresh goods on a daily basis, to deliver the best service to their customers. Although our microgreens can be stored in the fridge and last 7 to 10 days, we want to support the needs of our customers by offering any product, in any quantity any given time.”
In terms of produce, the following can be found at Greens Bali: 11 varieties of Microgreens. Basil, Sunflowers, Radish, Red Radish, Green Mustard, Red Cabbage, Cilantro, Red Amaranth, Broccoli, Wheatgrass and Purple Basil. Besides that, the company is planning on increasing its rare varieties that are hard to find in Indonesia and are highly demanded by chefs.
“The challenges we’ve faced this year building a business in the middle of a pandemic were many. We asked for financial support from our families and friends and invested all our savings. Against all odds, we managed to survive our first year, and it has been thanks to the support of our families,” Ivan says.
Ivan also wants to address a big problem in Bali which is the plastic waste that is dumped in rivers and ends up on the beaches every time it rains. “Since we cannot use any other material that is not plastic to preserve our products, we donate part of our profits to 4Ocean to help them remove all the plastic waste.”