In honor of the first national Food Day, a day dedicated to bringing people across the United States together to push for food system reform, Food+Tech Connect is highlighting 5 innovative ways technology is being used to improve access to fresh, local food.
The following selection of online marketplaces and management tools exemplify how user centered design, visualizing impact, and crowdsourcing are being successfully used to help small producers distribute and market their products.
Farmigo is an online marketplace for consumers to find, select, and receive fresh food from local farms and producers delivered direct to convenient pick-up locations. Each farm and producer listed in the marketplace receives an Internet based logistics management system to track harvest, packing, routes, and member payment. Farmigo is making the CSA (community supported agriculture) model more sustainable and scaleable, which is no easy feat considering the challenges- high subscription turnover and lower rates of new technology adoption on the farm. Their product does an excellent job of meeting the needs of both farmers and consumers through intuitive user experience and a knowledgeable support and customer service team.
Market Mobile is a Farm-to-Biz online ordering platform sourcing fresh food from 40 family farms and local producers across RI, MA and CT. Market Mobile does an excellent job of communicating the economic impact of their services on the local food ecosystem with a weekly data visualization. The visualization offers crucial data for anyone trying to access potential market size and demand in the North East.
FoodHub is a online directory and marketplace that makes it easy and efficient for wholesale food buyers and sellers in the Western US to research, connect, and do business. More than just a marketplace, the platform provides a plethora of tools and educational resources for users to learn best practices for marketing and distributing their products.
Foodzie is an online marketplace where people can discover and buy food directly from small passionate food producers and growers. Like the Etsy for food, Foodzie’s platform empowers food artisans to market and sell their products. Their monthly Tasting Box makes it easy for even the most indecisive to try new things.
AmpleHarvest.org is a platform that enables gardeners to donate their excess harvest to the needy in their community instead of allowing it to rot in the garden. AmpleHarvest.org capitalizes on the fast-growing gardening movement across the United States to crowdsource better, healthier food for food pantries.
Some additional US-based platforms I’m keeping my eye on include: Local Dirt, Pick-A-Pepper, Plovgh, Greenling, Wholeshare , Greenling, Local Food Systems, Holton Farms, Freshocracy, and Feast Upon.