Ganaz Start-Up App Pairs Growers with Much-Needed Labor: Co-Founder Hannah Freeman Discusses
SEATTLE, WA - Ganaz is not the latest slang, but rather a possible new window for labor recruitment. Comparable to an ‘Uber for labor,’ Ganaz is a newly-launched app by partners Hannah Freeman and Sri Artham that looks to quickly and conveniently connect quality growers with quality labor, especially in those dire days leading up to harvest.
“Growers generally call a day or two before harvest when they are desperate to try anything, and come back saying excitedly that it’s working,” Hannah shared with me recently, laughing as she painted the scenario. “It's been a lot of fun, especially earlier in the summer when we were learning how to make the application easier and more efficient.”
Hannah and Sri launched the app in May, following a passion ignited in working with growers and laborers and noting a gap between the two that could be filled.
“We both worked for Fair Trade USA for a long time running the fresh produce categories. Over the last few years we were listening to stories from growers on how difficult it is to find and keep dependable labor, and from laborers on how difficult and opaque the recruitment system is. I saw the potential for how to connect the two, and we both quit our jobs in April to pursue it,” Hannah recalls.
The leap of faith has already received a welcome reception, with a significant spike in business kicking up in August.
“There’re so many growers that need workers. Both have smart phones, and this is a great way to make it more efficient and more transparent,” Hannah explains. “This summer we focused on the West Coast, but as the crops finish up here we are shifting our focus to Arizona and Florida. But, we can really go anywhere. So, if we get a call from an apple grower in Michigan in December looking to find labor, we could easily do so.”
This prompts me to ask the budding entrepreneur what’s next for the start-up.
“Mexico,” she says thoughtfully. “We’ve been talking with growers and labor contractors about H2A programs and how they could use help planning better while those workers are here. On the other side, H2A workers could use more available information on who they would be going to work for and what to expect. We also want to work on expanding our connections with Mexico growers to help them find workers in Mexico.”
With what looks to be a roofless ceiling above it, it will be interesting to see where this latest application of technology in our industry goes.