The Farmer's Market Goes Online: Farmigo Launches in NY and SF

Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:00am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

  NEW YORK, NY, Dec 11 (Marketwire) -- 
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.

    About Farmigo
 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.

    

Nicole Phelan & Dana Zemack
Farmigo@launchsquad.com 
415.625.8555

Copyright 2012, Marketwire, All rights reserved.

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