Love Grain is a new food company with a bold social mission: to connect Ethiopian farmers with international markets through a line of wholesome, delicious products based on the superfood teff.
Every year, millions of Ethiopian farmers produce delicious ancient foods like teff, millet, barley, sorghum, chickpeas, legumes, and sesame. These smallholder farming families share the goals of people everywhere: to educate their children, provide food for their communities year round, and cultivate their land from planting to harvest.
Yet too often anxiety fills farmers’ days as they face two primary challenges: First, at planting time, they lack cash and credit to purchase improved seed and fertilizer that could more than double their yield; Second, at harvest, they lack access to markets and often must sell their crops to local traders who purchase teff well below retail prices. With little collateral to speak of, farming families can’t access working capital from traditional financial institutions. They are left with underperforming land and little bargaining power to improve their income.
We think this situation could use some attention. So in 2013, we started thinking about how we could build a business that would use market forces to help Ethiopia’s 6 million teff farmers. We know there is demand for good food in the United States, and we know that there is untapped capacity among Ethiopian farmers to produce that food. So we’ve set out to bring the two together.
Of course, we know that social impact doesn’t happen overnight. Which is why we have a plan–and it involves you!