local and regional distribution
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). And it is driven by the desire to help small farmers market their products without having to rely on the kindness of supermarket chains. “Farmers lose about 40% of their crops because they just can’t sell it,” says Heather Hilleren, who came up with the idea for Local Dirt in a social entrepreneurship course that she took while studying for her MBA. “The local foods movement has finally given me hope for the future of farming.”
The word ‘sustainable’ tends to get thrown around in the marketplace, which can be confusing to consumers who want to make conscientious food choices. That’s not the case when it comes to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). Through their farmers market, education and outreach programs, and framework of sustainable best practices, they’re helping set the standards for what the word can and should mean.
CUESA’s mission is to cultivate a sustainable food system by educating urban consumers and creating connections between them and local producers. Since 1999, CUESA has managed the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, a successful thrice-weekly market that requires its vendors to meet strict guidelines.
Seedstock Digest: A Farm in a Backpack, Software to Empower Sustainable Farmers, Affordable Drip Systems for Smallholders and more!July 2, 2011 | seedstock
Start your weekend off right and grab a coffee, donut, or maybe some eggs and settle in for a healthy helping of Seedstock. Today’s digest features a farm that fits in a backpack, local food systems software that gives sustainable farmers greater access to the larger food supply chain, an affordable drip irrigation system for smallholder farmers, and a unique 30 acre greenhouse operation that profits from and promotes organic growing.
To continue to grow and expand the local food marketplace will require innovative web-based solutions that provide consumers with greater access to producers and vice versa. One company at the forefront in this area is Santa Cruz, CA-based LocalHarvest, which since its formation in 1998 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.
Software that provides local sustainable farmers with the ability to supply their products to larger customers such as food hubs or institutions has the potential to play an outsize role in delivering healthier, sustainably grown food to a wider pool of consumers. One company at the forefront of software development for the local food sector is Philadelphia, PA-based software startup Local Food Systems. The company is developing a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that automates business processes and facilitates transactions between all of the participants in the local food value chain from farmers and food hubs to institutions and food warehousing operations.