The Escapist: Ben Pugh on what motivated him to set up Farmdrop
Ben Pugh on ditching the city to create the ethical online grocery company Farmdrop
I grew up in London, near Battersea Park, but at weekends would escape the city and go to visit my grandma in Wiltshire. She lived right next door to a dairy farm and I would often spend my time helping the local farmer milk his cows.
After leaving university, I worked in the boating industry, delivering yachts across the oceans in New Zealand, the South Pacific and South Africa; I'd fish off the back of them to sustain myself through those long journeys.
But despite my love for the outdoors, I ended up working in the City as a broker covering retail stocks at various banks. I also worked on the stock flotation for Ocado back in 2010. During these years I gathered a lot of insight into the supermarkets' ways of working and saw how, ultimately, they were propping up a broken food system.
I've always been passionate about the environment and started Farmdrop in 2012 because I was unhappy with the lack of fresh and locally sourced food available in the shops. I'd spoken to local farmers and was struck in particular by one conversation with a grower who was selling his butternut squashes to a supermarket for £1 while the retailer was then selling them on for £3. I thought it was absolutely astonishing that in the internet era there could be such an unfair distribution of value between the producer and the retailer. That was the real tipping point for me to start the business.
At Farmdrop, we see it as our mission to fix the food chain. That is why we source local food wherever possible and deliver it directly to our customers' doors in electric vans. We only harvest produce to order, which helps minimise food waste, and gives local farmers an unprecedented share of the retail price. That producer share gives our farmers the financial breathing space to produce food in a way that is good for the land, the animals, and ultimately our health.
For more information, visit farmdrop.com