Nama started as an urban farming movement toward giving better light to the agricultural gaps that the world has today. Aldrin T. Lee and Skyrene R. Bacalso, two agripreneurs from Metro Manila, saw the potential of microgreens and their nutritional value beyond what is commonly used by chefs as a garnish. Envisioning an ecosystem where people eat healthily is better for humans and the planet. The two decided to create a movement from seed to plate.

Promoting health and creativity

Nama Microgreens makes health more accessible through socially conscious food. ‘Nama’ translates in Japanese as ‘fresh’ or ‘as it is’. Nama prioritizes giving utmost care and ensuring quality by growing its microgreens indoors with the aid of technology. It also uses microgreens to demonstrate farming in the urban setting for social awareness, giving people the idea of how and where food comes from.

Food comes in a lot of flavors, varieties, and festive seasons, although heavily flavored and fatty foods tend to be the highlights of the meal. Meanwhile, salads with dressings, coleslaw, and atsara tend to be the main compliments for such dishes, causing people to augment nutrition needed for a balanced diet. Nama gives new flavors and images to vegetables by enhancing the aesthetic, taste, and nutrition of various dishes for newfound appreciation. Microgreens provide different flavors and nutritional values, enhancing various dishes from salads, soups, dips, and even mains.

Nama champions creativity and features dishes that can inspire others. Working toward health and enhancing the experience of food that are delicious, healthy, and environment-conscious are its passion. Believing that agriculture is a viable way to attain sustainability, Lee and Bacalso searched for opportunities in the agriculture sector to promote urban farming and food security.

Microgreens became a fit for the utilization of space in the urban setting to prevent further land from being developed. Utilizing microgreens’ flexibility in dish use with innate properties of high nutritional content and aesthetic appeal became a match for the rising trend of health-conscious and knowledgeable individuals. For instance, offices tend to lack access to a variety of healthy dishes, referring to fast foods or convenience stores for their meals. Nama Microgreens becomes an avenue for awareness on food security, trust, and quality that promotes urban farming from seed to table.

Growing opportunities

Lee and Bacalso encountered the Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF) program through a friend’s referral. It was very timely, mainly because they wanted to scale Nama while looking for seed funding to support the venture. The Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is fostering the interest of the youth in a very modest way, such that it brings inclusivity and all-out support toward this mission.

Fortunately, Nama successfully grabbed one of the three Regional Level awardees to represent the National Capital Region in the YFC National Level Competition.

Through the financial support granted by DA, Nama was able to expand its system and consequently helped gain access to product development in preparation for the building of its very own Central Kitchen.

Harvesting triumphs

Throughout these years, Lee and Bacalso have developed partnerships and features from private institutions and businesses. One of which is Sari’s Garden, a Merry Mart indoor and outdoor plants distributor. It also formed merchant partnerships with Earthlings PH Saving Our Home, an online zero-waste shop, and even received a network and mentorship program grant from the Lasallian Social Enterprise for Economic Development (LSEED).

Nama was also featured in the De La Salle University Newsletter Gazette for the YFCF Awards, as well as named as one of the top 60 finalists of BPI Sinag Spark Business Challenge 2021 powered by BPI Foundation and Bayan Academy. It is also a charity partner of the Abot Tala community, a non-profit organization based in Metro Manila. They also participated at the Innovation for Social Impact Partnership (ISIP) Boost Camp powered by ISIP and the United Nations Development Programme Philippines

Nama shares the vision of highlighting the importance of agriculture and in knowing where and how food is produced. It hopes to inspire Filipinos to eat healthier together for a positive impact on the planet. ###