Friday, November 13, 2009

Profiting From Locavores

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Few would dispute the benefits of eating locally grown food, both for the environment and for human health. Access is the challenge, which is why we've seen such goods sold in vending machines, delivered by bicycle and packed in five-dollar bags for commuters. The latest spotting? Local Dirt, a Wisconsin-based site that connects buyers and sellers of locally grown food nationwide.

Farmers and other vendors begin by creating a profile page to promote their produce, as well as listing the quantities and prices of the products they have to sell. Individual and organizational buyers can then search for local food sellers and products in their area—searching by address, ZIP code or via map—and browsing the listings of those near them. Once they've found something they like, buyers can order food for pick-up at farmers' markets or farms. A purchase order is automatically generated and mailed to them for use in picking up the food and paying the seller. Listing, ordering and bidding on items in Local Dirt is free; yearly memberships for more sophisticated features—such as wholesale capabilities—begin at USD 360.

Whether it's by bringing the food to the consumers or the consumers to the food, there's no doubt the resulting boost for local food consumption is a win-win for everyone—and the planet. One to emulate in your neck of the food-producing woods...?

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