How Uproot Urban Farms Came To Be

How Uproot Urban Farms Came To Be

By Giuliana Jovellanos

“Starting your own business is hard enough, but starting a social enterprise is even harder,” says Robi Del Rosario, founder and chief urban farmer of Uproot Urban Farms, the winner of the Impact Hub Manila Space for Ingenious Wave 3 program. “We care about people, planet, and profit; we do not only focus on earning—social enterprises, we have a commitment to help our community, all while we commit to being sustainable.”

 

In 2016, Robi Del Rosario was at rock bottom. Aside from the personal problems he was facing, his transportation business was not doing too well. He faced some issues with his business partner at the time, and was left with debts he had to pay out of his own pockets until 2020. 

 

One day, as he was out doing his groceries, a little boy approached him, trying to sell him rugs. The boy asked Robi if he would buy his products so that he could sell out and go home. Robi sympathized with the little boy, and asked the little boy if he would want to go grab a bite with him, seeing that there was a fast food chain nearby. The little boy agreed, and so they went out to eat.

 

As they ate, Robi asked the little boy about his life. He learned that the little boy lived very near him, and that the little boy was not in school because he wanted to help his family earn. Hearing this, Robi had a light bulb moment. He realized that although his problems were heavy, the weight of his problems can not compare to those of the little boy. In fact, it was quite unfair to compare their problems against each other; the kid was born in poverty. Around this time, Robi also started getting into aquaponics as a hobby. That point, as he was conversing with a little boy in a fast food chain, was when he realized how his hobby could be beneficial to others. 

 

A little while after the pair parted ways, Robi went to the child’s barangay and had the chance to meet his parents, as well as the other members of the community. He discovered that the people living in these underserved communities provide little to no chance for employment or livelihood, and the average income is PHP300 per household, which is way below the minimum amount needed to survive in today’s day and age. Not only this, but families tend to run big, and so they resort to owing debt to stores just in order to survive. 

 

“It’s a continuous struggle everyday,” Robi says, “and so I thought to myself, what if I taught them my hobbies?” Robi did exactly that. He coordinated with the barangay to pilot-test five families, in which he taught them to grow their own food. After its success, the project expanded to the entire area, and later on allowed for the establishment of more communities in other urban areas—and the rest is history.

Today, Uproot Urban Farms stands as a social enterprise that makes fresh vegetables more accessible for people in urban places, while working with underserved communities in urban farms. Aside from this, they have grown into more than just a community, but have expanded to precision agriculture as well. 

 

Along the way, or during their journey, the Uproot team meets a lot of interesting people that helped shape them to where they are today. “We owe our success to a lot of people. What inspires me to continue what we do are the people behind the scenes who support us,” Robi says. He states that their motivation to keep up the business are the people who have supported them from 2016, such as Robi’s personal guru who believed in him, and Ces Rondario and the rest at Impact Hub Manila, who never stop offering their help. 

 

“I really appreciate the people who have been here with us from the start, especially Impact Hub Manila. They helped us a lot not just for incubation, but also to provide us opportunities. We were able to build our network and start new projects through their help,” says Robi.

 

To this day, Robi Del Rosario and the rest of the team at Uproot Urban Farms are consistently innovating and working on providing quality produce for people in urban areas. Under the leadership of a man like Robi, the future of this social enterprise surely looks bright. 

 

Want to read more stories such as these, or maybe even start your own? Head on over to the Impact Hub Manila website at https://impacthub.ph/. Impact Hub Manila, being a leader in social innovation, offers a community, consultancy, and creative collaborative spaces to help aspiring entrepreneurs start up their startups. 

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With the vision of providing a platform that will allow innovation to solve social challenges, Impact Hub Manila launched an annual code fest called Impact Hackathon in October 2019.

In the past 2 years, it has brought a combined number of 2,300 participants from all over the Philippines and attracted over 350 mentors and experts to the event.

The Impact Hackathon remains to be the largest hackathon in the Philippines.

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25th Floor, Picadilly Star, 4th Avenue corner 27th Street, Bonifacio Global City

Headquarters Impact Hub GmbH Lindengasse 56 / 18-19 1070 Vienna, Austria UID : ATU66357747 FN : 358967v

With the vision of providing a platform that will allow innovation to solve social challenges, Impact Hub Manila launched an annual code fest called Impact Hackathon in October 2019.

In the past 2 years, it has brought a combined number of 2,300 participants from all over the Philippines and attracted over 350 mentors and experts to the event.

The Impact Hackathon remains to be the largest hackathon in the Philippines.

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