Over the last decade or so, we’ve seen a huge rise in the awareness in consumers of the importance of supporting local farmers and growers, and an accompanying surge of chefs and restaurants getting on board by buying and preparing more locally grown and produced foods, which has been a big factor in the success of many small farms and markets.
But that interest in local food, and the market opportunities it opened up, didn’t happen overnight, in large part due the lack of adequate systems and infrastructure (a food hub) for smaller growers, distributors, and buyers. In contrast, the platforms used in the existing “big” food system are very mature, having been developed over many years, including huge systems ranging from storage to shipping to distribution to sales and marketing.
Food hubs are stepping up to meet the need for more resilient and more effective local food systems, by connecting local growers and local produce with local buyers, and just as big food distributors have the appropriate systems in place to run their business, and wholesalers and retailers in other industries have integrated software platforms for their businesses, food hubs also require an infrastructure to function effectively. That infrastructure could include everything from inventory management to ordering to customer service to sales and marketing, and should make it possible to scale up operations as the business grows.
The appropriately named Local Food Marketplace provides that food hub infrastructure, with a comprehensive and integrated platform that is designed to support and maximize the sales and distribution of local food. The service includes a custom-branded website and ordering system, distribution and route support, a producer interface, sales tools and reporting functions, a mobile app, and more.
“We believe that eating locally is fundamental in building a more sustainable world. Our aim with Local Food Marketplace is to increase the amount of food purchased and eaten locally by providing technology and services for food hubs to sell and distribute local food to consumers, restaurants, grocery stores, and institutions.” – Local Food Marketplace
According to an article in Seed Stock, over 70 food hubs now use the software, and over half of them are also using the mobile app option to connect with their customers and growers. Find out more about the platform at the Local Food Marketplace website.