Demand for Sustainable Food and Transparency Inspires Entrepreneurs to Develop Online Solutions
March 30, 2012 | Robert Puro
As demand for local food and transparency in the food system reaches fever pitch, sustainability-minded entrepreneurs are stepping up to the plate to develop online and mobile solutions that not only benefit consumers, but also increase the economic viability of small and medium size farms utilizing sustainable practices. Below, we highlight a number of the digital solutions dreamed up and implemented by these entrepreneurs that range from the construction of massive online databases that help consumers more easily locate the sustainably grown local food that they desire, to mobile applications that make it easy for consumers to quickly trace the origin of the food on their plates.
Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Real Time Farms is an online food guide that gives consumers the tools they need to track their food from farm to table. The goal is to bring transparency to a food system that can often mystify consumers with vague terminology such as “farm fresh” and “all-natural,” said Cara Rosaen, who founded the company this year with her husband, Karl Rosaen. Read more . . .
While slogans like “eat local” and “know your farmer” have flooded our bumpers and the consumer consciousness, eaters searching for local, sustainably produced foods know that these ideals are not always so easily achieved. Kim Werner’s struggle to navigate her local food web inspired her to start FarmPlate, an online resource that helps eaters all over the country more easily find regionally grown and sustainably produced food. Read more . . .
Foodtree is a company that makes it easier for people to trace the food on their plates back to the farmer who grew it using mobile and web applications. Foodtree as described on the company’s website “is a platform that makes it easy to share detailed food and food source information with friends and neighbors, bringing food communities closer to the people feeding them.” Read more . . .
Local Dirt (localdirt.com) is a site for suitors. However, instead of matching up locals who are looking for love, it matches up anyone who loves to eat local food with the farmers who are willing to feed them. The service is grounded in research that shows that given the choice people would prefer to eat food grown in their own community (even more than they would prefer to eat organic). Read more . . .
Since its formation in 1998 Local Harvest has focused on the development of a range of online products to strengthen consumers’ personal relationships not only with the food that they consume, but also with the sustainable farmers who produce it. Read more . . .