Local vegetables stacked at the Green Shelves store located at Lhomithi Colony, Dimapur. (Morung Photo)
Dimapur | January 15
Four years back, a lightning idea struck a group of young people’s minds to bring alive their vision in the development of the state’s local economy. It was named ‘Green Shelves Society’, which will go on, to establish an organic store in Lhomithi colony, Dimapur.
“To kill two birds with one stone” is what Green Shelves Society (GSS) has been doing since its commencement. Simply put, they have managed to help in the growth of the state’s local economy and as well as encourage and practise organic farming, while the former being their primary motto.
The organic store- Green shelves, being their first initiative was conceived after they had approached framers of the state and learnt about the poor marketing condition, which only added more obstacles in the course. For long, next to climatic conditions, marketing has been one of the many challenges faced by the farmers, notably for those in the rural areas. Most of the farmers, they had engaged with understood and agreed to stand by their concept.
But sooner the Green Shelves Society began their deed, sooner they realised that marketing was only the tip of the ice berg, followed by the unveiling of bigger challenges. As apparent as it could be, the crux of the matter for the organic store seems to be the road and transport within the state, which is still a far cry. Not only are most of the roads in tatter state but also do not lead into rural areas. Despite being the biggest challenge, it had not prevented the Green Shelves Society from coming up with solutions or alternatives.
“Public transport and night buses helps in the transportation of the fresh goods, with additional help from transport companies who offer their services willingly,” said Bumo Chang who is one of the creators of the society. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” as quoted by Paulo Coelho, draws a notion to the progress of GSS as an example. Because not only were the framers and transport companies approachable, for even the customers produced feedbacks that could keep the organic store running for several decades.
“Good food comes with a good price,” replied Bumo, when asked about his take on the popular opinion that organic products are expensive. However, asserting that the product price in Green shelves were quite equivalent to their conventional counterparts. Organic farming, as we all know is a slow and steady process, and time is money.
The products marketed by Green shelves, so far are transported from Kiphire, Tuensang, Phek, Mon, Peren and Wokha with further plans towards Zunheboto. Thereby, powering their main objective: To enlarge the local economy. Which comes with several benefits such as; putting into usage the tremendous potential lying dormant somewhere within the state territory, employment opportunities, state recognition and one step towards protecting the environment.
When the cost and profit of the store was questioned, Bumo replied that it wasn’t their primary focus because huge profit wasn’t the finish line of the store. It was built to provide a market space for the rural farmers and establish self sustainability within the state. It is a huge project, and the members of the society are well aware that great things take time. Bumo also added that, their target audience who are the local farmers were the beneficiaries of any profit gained by the store.
Worldwide, most youths aspire to become something big and the naga youths are no exception, on questioning, Bumo did have a key advice for the young souls, which goes “Every big thing starts small and don’t work for the money instead work for what is right.” And in terms of fund collection, a challenge for several emerging entrepreneurs, Bumo’s advice was “work with like-minded people and work together through it.”
Unlike most organic stores, Green shelves, has a unique interior which makes use of the locally available resource – bamboo, designed by the local entrepreneurs. Green shelves society, currently consists of 200 plus members and the store is looked after by four members who volunteered willingly.
The writer is currently an intern in The Morung Express.