NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Dec 11, 2012) - Farmigo announced today that it launched the first online farmer's market to connect communities -- such as workplaces, schools and community centers -- directly to local farms to provide a personalized online marketplace for local, fresh-from-harvest food. The first food communities are rolling out in San Francisco and New York with Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago and Philadelphia soon to follow. Farmigo also announced that it has raised $8 million in Series B financing led by Sherbrooke Capital and RSF Social Finance joined by Series A lead investor Benchmark Capital.
"At Farmigo, we envision a community-oriented food system in which people and farmers in the same geographic region are connected, and everyone has access to fresh-from-harvest food," said Farmigo founder and chief executive officer, Benzi Ronen. "The Internet has been collapsing supply chains and rewriting conventional business models for nearly two decades, but until now it has had limited impact on the food industry, which is ripe for change. There has never been a better time to disrupt the status quo and Farmigo is poised to fundamentally change the way food is purchased and distributed."
Farmigo's local food community initiative taps the power of the web to make it easy for people to buy direct from multiple local farms that offer seasonal fruit, vegetables, eggs, meats, fish, bread, cheeses and even wine and coffee. Members of each food community shop their dedicated Farmigo farmer's market online (see example here), pick and choose their preferred items, and then have their orders delivered weekly to their food community site within 48 hours of harvest. Farmigo kickstarts local food communities at workplaces, which are the catalyst for making this new food system work. The company is now actively seeking out individuals who want to help bring Farmigo to their workplace, school or community center.
Collapsing the food chain and selling direct from farm to consumer is not a new concept. CSAs (consumer supported agriculture) and farmer's markets have been growing at a rate of 40 percent annually for the last decade, however today less than one percent of the U.S. population purchases produce directly from farms. The Farmigo model seeks to dramatically expand that by bringing members the selection of a farmer's market in a convenient way, while eliminating the need to travel to a weekly farmer's market at constricted hours. Today, according to market research firm Mintel, more than half of consumers believe that it is more important to buy local produce than organic, which often travels an average of 1,500 miles to the supermarket. Selling direct to consumers means that farms reap 80 percent of the sale of the food, versus 9 to 20 percent with traditional grocers, with Farmigo receiving 10 percent for each transaction.
"We have been committed to our community-supported agriculture program to bring our locally grown, organic produce to San Francisco residents, but there is a big opportunity to expand it so that far more people have access to fresh local food," said Nick Papadopolous of Bloomfield Farms Organics in Petaluma, Calif. "We believe Farmigo's approach can really accelerate the amount of people who have access to locally harvested, fresh food. It can have a big impact on improving the efficiency and sustainability of our food system."
The first Farmigo food communities have cropped up in a number of locations in the New York and San Francisco metro areas, including:
- Etsy, a Brooklyn-based handmade and vintage marketplace, started a Farmigo community as a complement to their unique company culture. Each week Etsy receives fresh local food delivered to their office and offers employees $10 toward their first Farmigo order.
- Kiva, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, will be purchasing $100 each week in organic fruit for the office to enjoy.
- Carrot Creative, a new media marketing agency located in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., has 80 percent of its employees receiving their produce weekly from local farms via the Farmigo online farmer's market and offers $10 a week towards each employee's order. See a video of their delivery here.
"Finding and retaining the best employees is always a challenge. Starting a Farmigo food community was a perfect opportunity to stand out by offering a health and wellness benefit to our employees that is unique and aligned with our company values," said Mike Germano, Carrot Creative CEO. "Everyone is impressed with the quality and variety of the farms and food, and how easy and convenient it is to order and coordinate. It feels great to be part of a program that is supporting a local economy of farmers."
Farmigo started in 2009 as an online software provider to help farms manage their CSA subscriptions. Three years later, hundreds of farms in 25 states are using Farmigo technology and Farmigo has connected them to over 3,000 delivery sites with more than 30 million pounds of produce delivered to date to over 100,000 families. Farmigo recently became a certified B Corporation, joining a growing roster of over 600 companies, including Patagonia, Method and Etsy. The certification reinforces Farmigo's commitment to creating value for its stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders.
Farmigo is an online farmer's market that connects workplaces directly to multiple local farms to provide a personalized online marketplace for local, fresh-from-harvest food. Originally founded in 2009 as cloud-based software for farms to manage their CSA subscriptions, Farmigo now provides technology to hundreds of farms in 25 states that are connected to more than 3,000 food communities. The company aims to leverage its online farmer's market to accelerate the adoption of an alternative, healthier, more efficient food system in order to deliver farm fresh-food to more Americans.