When you’re looking for an item on Craigslist, you post an ad in the “Wanted” section. When you’re trying to sell an item, you put up an “Available” post. FoodHub, the latest and greatest in local eating, works just like this.
FoodHub is an online marketplace that makes it simple for regional food buyers and sellers to connect. Launched in 2010 by Ecotrust and FoodEx, the two companies realized that getting food from farm to fork is actually a lot harder than it seems. There are so many food vendors out there—farmers, ranchers, fisherman, dairies, brewers, wineries—ready to sell their fresh, local product. And there are just as many eager buyers—be they grocers, restaurants, school cafeterias, hospitals, or even hotels. The problem is, often times these vendors and buyers aren’t able to find each other.
Let’s say you’re a farmer trying to sell a 20 cases of peaches. In the old days, you used to have to make a series of cold calls until you found a buyer. That could take up to 10 hours. Now, with FoodHub, the whole process takes about 10 seconds. By simply searching by the item you are trying to sell and hitting “enter”, FoodHub will return a list of every single member in their database who wants peaches.
It comes as no surprise, then, that FoodHub is starting to gain widespread popularity. Just three years after its founding, and the marketplace has developed over 4,500 members from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. Rachel Reister of Reister Farms Lamb, one of FoodHub’s first clients, reported remarkable success after using its services:
“FoodHub is a giant rolodex. When we started looking for customers on the site we put in how many miles we wanted to travel and what buyers we were looking for and got a huge list of prospects…The first restaurant we called responded.”
We hear a lot of stories about people like Rachel and the overall benefits of eating local food. Generally speaking, eating nearby-grown food is more sustainable for the environment, has higher nutritional value, and boosts the local economy. But getting that food to your plate can be quite difficult. FoodHub takes the complications out of this process, allowing producers and buyers to simply come together.