A simple box that changed lives, including mine

"We will find more farmers to help. We will hand over more boxes that will change lives. We will be an instrument of hope for the farmers. The sprout of their dreams will eventually be a full-grown tree, and we will support them to reach that."
John Lester Mendoza
Founder and CEO, Farm Box

I am John Lester Mendoza, 26 years old. I graduated with a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Batangas. I’m a full-blooded Batangueno. I can’t start my day without a cup of coffee. I love to travel, I love going to the beach. I am a dog person, I have two dogs, Mochi and Maki. I am into photography. I have experiences in an FMCG and Telecommunications company and I am currently the co-Founder and CEO of Farm Box.

How Farm Box was born?

I grew up in a family of farmers. When I was a kid, I was always excited to play on the fields, riding a sleigh pulled by cows, and climb the trees of mango. I had a happy childhood, and the farm was just my playground. Not until I got old, I saw the struggle of my family whenever the farming season is about to start.

My family will go to the bank to ask for a loan, if the loan approved was not enough or got declined, they’ll find someone who can lend them some capital. The playground that I thought was a blissful place had underlying darkness.

I knew, at that moment, we were not the only one stuck in that situation, struggling to find funds.

Fast forward, one morning, someone went to our house and asked to lend her money. Honestly, I don’t have any at that moment. I recently invested in our farm and other businesses. She just walked away, empty-handed. It was heartbreaking.

That night, I can’t sleep. I can still remember those sad eyes, her feet slowly walking away. And that was my light bulb moment. I opened my laptop, start crafting a business plan, bought a domain, created a website, and did not sleep for two days to conceptualize and finish everything. And that’s how Farm Box was born.

Please charge them to experience

"For the first time, I experienced the excitement, and at the same time, I felt so nervous when it rained very hard. We needed that rain, but at the same time, it may worsen the condition of some of our chicks and crops."

So far, my ride as the CEO and Founder of Farm Box is overwhelming yet very fulfilling.

In just three months, I have experienced things I have not done before. There was a time that we had an emergency, and no one will deliver the chicks to our partner growers. I was about to sleep since it was already 12:30 AM. Instead of crawling to my bed, I grabbed my keys, drove, and went to our supplier. Without any sleep yet, I delivered the chicks to our partner growers.

I also climbed up a hill carrying 10 kilograms of Pipino. I defended and fought with a previous employer of one of our partner farmers. Our partner farmer was being harassed by her previous employer because she did not renew her contract with them.

The experience was hard, it was never easy, yet it was fulfilling. Whenever I see the smiles on their faces during my visits with them, my stress and tiredness fade away. We can be an instrument of hope. We can help the farmers that needed help. The sprout of their dreams will be a full-grown tree, and we will support them to reach that.

Fulfilling my purpose

"I envision the company to be able to help more farmers around the country. Upscale and innovate the country's lifeblood-agriculture. We want to promote agriculture. Help fulfill a UNSDG, and with my other co-founders and members, we will make that happen."

I was browsing on my social media, and one question caught my eye, “If I could spend my life doing one thing, what would I love doing?” with a caption, by answering this question, you will find your life’s purpose.

Now, I am fulfilling my purpose. Farm Box is the thing that makes me excited to get up in the morning and work harder. I started to read again, learning modules on farming which I can share with our partner farmers. I started listening to podcasts that will help me grow! This company changed me in a good way. This company inspired me to do better. I will be better, not just for me or for the company but because there are farmers that need our help.

We will find more farmers to help. We will hand over more boxes that will change lives.

Let’s help our local farmers one box at a time.

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