Foodshed.io is working to solve the inefficiencies of local food distribution by connecting sustainable producers to local wholesale and institutional markets across the United States. To strengthen local food systems and economies, Foodshed.io encourages local consumption and provides farmers with the resources to meet that growing demand.
Foodshed.io aims to enhance the efficiency, reliability, flexibility and transparency of local food distribution. The company provides a platform for farmers to list their available produce and set their own quantities and prices. Restaurants, supermarkets, and institutional buyers are then able to browse local products, place orders for multiple farms, and pay farmers all within one channel.
“We were able to make this something that was scalable and would follow a different pathway than some of the other attempts at [localizing food systems],” Dan Beckmann, the Founder of Foodshed.io tells Food Tank.
Beckmann co-founded Foodshed.io alongside Tom Hallaran, award-winning software engineer and entrepreneur, and Claire Sullivan, farmer and researcher of agricultural systems around the world. He says that the platform stemmed from an initiative that Hallaran and Sullivan had created years prior called Feedback Farms. Feedback Farms aimed to localize food in Brooklyn, but soon after its inception, found they were producing more food than they could sell. This disconnect between local production and consumption motivated the idea for Foodshed.io.
For its first three years of operation, the platform primarily connected local farms with restaurants in New York City. When Beckmann joined the team, he saw an opportunity to scale the initiative through expanding it to more mainstream food purchasing spaces like supermarkets.
“If you have a goal of regenerative agriculture and producing food in a way which means we can continue to do it, then you need to make it what it is for as many people as possible,” says Beckmann, “Mainstreaming this was a goal of mine.”
Now based in St. Louis, Missouri, the company partners directly with Schnucks Markets to help increase the accessibility and scalability of local food consumption.
Foodshed.io operates through a mobile marketing app and logistics platform. The technology streamlines and aggregates farm inventories, identifies route optimization, and provides real-time delivery and tracking updates to buyers and sellers.
“The more that everybody is working on helping to stabilize farms, and helping to stabilize markets for them…then the local food system is better for everybody. There’s more local food, more places can plug into it,” Beckmann tells Food Tank.
According to Beckmann, the company has launched a new pilot program this summer to enhance consumers’ knowledge of when their produce was harvested. Beckmann hopes this program will not only highlight the importance of local farmers in food systems, but also broaden community awareness and accessibility of these foods.
Foodshed.io hopes to increase their network of local farms, while continuing to acknowledge and sustain the different legacies and histories across communities.
“If there’s a drought somewhere then there’s probably water somewhere else. It’s just a good idea that every place grows food now and that’s our ambition,” Beckmann tells Food Tank.
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