He left his job in corporate law to become an urban farmer. No experience. Just a leap of faith.

Sometimes a good idea can take you far, even without the right experience to back it up. If you have a clear vision for the future, don’t count yourself out before you give it a try.

In Season 10, Ran Goel brought Fresh City Farms to the Den. The business, which combines urban farming with organic grocery delivery, tries to lessen the distance between the consumer and the product.

The lawyer-turned-farmer left his Wall Street law firm in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to work toward environmental and social causes. After noticing the terrible way our food is grown (sprayed with pesticides and travelling long distances) combined with the shaky foundation our economic systems are built on he imagined a solution — urban farming.

Watch the pitch!

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Experience vs. knowledge

Food and farming are notoriously difficult to prosper in, especially for Goel who never worked in either industry and had no experience except for business school (which he attended with one of the AWAKE Chocolate pitchers from Season 7). But it called to him. “Sometimes you have to listen to that voice and take the leap,” he says.

While the Dragons applauded Goel’s noble intentions, they all passed on Fresh City Farms — Michele and Michael didn’t think the grocery delivery model would be successful, Manjit took issue with his margins (three per cent), and Jim and Joe thought his three million dollar valuation was off.

After the Den

Goel intends to stay true to his business' intentions though; “subsequent events have proven me right,” Goel affirms. Fresh City Farms now has over 40 employees, revenue has tripled since the Den episode was taped, and Goel expects more brand recognition from being featured on the show. 

As to Michael and Michele’s point, he wishes he did a better job of distinguishing his business from the other grocery delivery businesses out there. “While we of course do deliver food, our target market and product line is much more focused,” he says pointing to the company’s recent push providing recipe kits with the delivery totes.

What’s Next

Fresh City is currently expanding across Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe and looking for more urban centres to farm in.

More Lessons from the Den



Video: The Dragons think Ran Goel's urban farming business is a noble endeavour. But will they invest?