MNLGrowkits Make It Easy for Anyone to Grow Their Own Fruits, Vegetables, and HerbsApril 6, 2017
Coming from what he calls a “hardcore agriculture” family business—one that deals with large scale supplies for farms wherein your product relies on price, availability and effectivity—Carlo Sumaoang admits he never really tried to grow anything himself. That is, until he began toying with the idea of MNLGrowkits. Though his family business has no need for branding, Sumaoang has felt creatively inclined towards advertising and marketing, and from that grew an itch to put his interests to use within the relative sphere of his experience working with plants. Thus he created MNLGrowkits, and on his own wrote the copy, designed the original labels, and created the prototype.
He recalls the first time he grew something himself while doing research for MNLGrowkits. “Basil,” he tells us. “March 23, 2015. On the fourth day, [the basil] sprouted . . . [That was a] turning point for MNLGrowkits as an outlet for my creativity [turned] into something worthwhile . . . Since then on, the direction of MNLGrowkits [has been] to replicate that magical feeling of really growing something [on your own].”
He continued to work on MNLGrowkits for a year after growing his first basil plant, but found that it would ultimately stagnate if he continued with the project on his own while still maintaining his full-time job with the family business. So he decided to tap people he could trust with whom shared his passion for the project. He tells us that one of his partners Vianka Amurao ended up in tears (don’t worry—the joyful kind) after they presented MNLGrowkits to her for the first time as she was so moved by their mission. “Now we are a group of millennials. We take pride in MNL Growkits [being] a 100% agricultural company completely run by millennials [because we want to reach out to] first-time growers who are millennials,” rooted in their strong belief in this generation’s ability to impact the future. Their other partners include Anton Panajon, Ariel Lim, Jessieka Lauchengco-Lim, and Peterson De Jesus.
Sumaoang believes that millennials have become disconnected and even alienated from nature, but that is what they hope to change. “From before, ‘Let’s grow together’—that [was] the tagline—we made it ‘Seed the Difference.’ Because agriculture and the modern lifestyle [have become so disconnected] we want to seed it together,” says Amurao. “In a box, it’s not just a product but a gift of experience. You give the person the opportunity to grow something: to grow their own food. Because eventually, who will? The average age of farmers nowadays is 57. So what we want to do is [show] that each of us can possibly grow our own food.”
In essence they want to “put agriculture under a different light to the city dweller,” Amurao says, and their products help ease them into that light “in the comfort of their houses.” She also tells us that growing your own plants gives the grower a sense of responsibility over life, patience, appreciation for food, mindfulness towards nature, and an increased sense of commitment. Which is why it only makes sense that MNLGrowkits have partnered up with Kwentong Pilipino Inc. (a group that works with public schools), Museo Pambata, and Enderun. This April 22, on Earth Day, they intend to launch their Tiny Farmer Kits specifically designed for schools and complete with lesson plans and workshops for kids which will mark a transition for the brand to move towards education, aiming instill a sense of value for nature as part of the curriculum.
“People always say they have a black thumb,” he says, referring to city-folks aversion and perceived inability to grow plants. “But to that we say there’s no such thing as a black thumb. It’s about having the right components and having the right guidance to grow.”
MNLGrowkits offers simplified grow kits that allow metropolis-based millennials grow their own plants with ease in the comforts of their own homes.