Silly Greens is a bit like a veg box scheme, the only difference being is that customers do part of the growing.
Silly Greens presents the idea that people can play a bigger part in the food they eat. Customers receive micro greens (herbs and vegetables which are eaten when they’re small) in the post and grow these indoors within weeks. Sown in London, these greens start in the city before being sent out half grown across the country. The value of the greens being half grown is that part of the growing is done by the consumer so in some sense it saves farmland. There are obvious limitations to what can be grown inside a kitchen, but for some crops such as these notoriously pricey and precious micro herbs, it makes a lot of sense. Once grown you have a crop which is likely to be fresher than what you can buy and cause less waste.
For Silly Greens you don’t require a green-thumb or need make a trip to the garden centre, the boxes simply turn up ready to grow. Most seeds need dark to germinate, Silly Greens works by sending the seedlings during the end of the time they require darkness, arriving as they need light. The structure of the box gives the young seedlings something to push up against to make them stronger. The nifty part to Silly Greens which makes it all possible, is the biodegradable gel that the seedlings grow in. Made from seaweed it supports the seedlings, feeds and provides water to the young herbs whilst ensuring the box remains intact through the post.
MEET THE FOUNDER: Ed Hall
Ed Hall, the founder of Silly Greens, identiﬁed micro herbs when he started growing produce for chefs outside their kitchens. Micro herbs have long been popular as a garnish and to give a certain kick which you don’t get from normal sized herbs. Here was a crop that hadn’t really broke through as a mainstream ingredient because it doesn’t sit well on a shop shelf, whilst at the same time there was a dramatic rise of farms opening in London growing micro greens to be delivered quickly to restaurants and markets. It seemed like the right time to start Silly Greens. People are often interested in getting into growing, but conﬂicting with this urge, we’re living with less garden space and leaning towards more and more convenience in the food we buy, from how it’s packaged, prepared or delivered. The solution had to offer ease and convenience, not require a garden and be better than what you can buy in the shops.
Ed started the business at his parent’s farm in Suffolk, but moved to London to connect and engage more easily with customers. The aim was to look at ways to incentivise people into growing. To get mass adoption though, micro herbs seemed like an answer because they could be sent via post direct to customers. The aspiration is however that micro herbs will be a catalyst to growing more and increasing the product offering.
On working with Farm491
Ed said; “I’m getting a variety of help on a whole breadth of areas. I’ve had discussions and support on financials, business model structure and guidance with content such as press releases and the website – all of which has been beneficial to the progression of my business.”