The process can be complicated for retailers who source and sell local produce and products. It may involve working with 30 or more producers, fielding countless emails and phone calls to secure orders, and juggling dozens of paper invoices. But, if you ask David Stone, his new web application may have the answer.
Forager is a series of web applications that streamlines the complicated process of local sourcing by digitizing the entire supply chain on one ecommerce platform.
Within the application, farmers can publish their inventory so retailers can browse availability and pricing, and click to fill their shopping cart. Emails are automatically sent to the farmer to confirm the order. Farmers and grocers can contact each other through in-application messaging. Delivery is confirmed and documented through the platform, and payment is sent electronically. Currently, it’s free for producers; grocers pay a small percentage fee.
And while Forager can definitely make a positive impact for independent retailers and local farmers, Stone has a bigger goal in mind as well. "This is about my passion for food and wanting to make a difference by raising all the boats in the community," he says. "I have a vision and instinct that we will return to the day of the small independent grocer, fishmonger and cheesemaker. It’s happening around us bit by bit, and we believe Forager is a means by which we can increase availability and purchasing of local foods and products, and ultimately impact consumer behavior." Indeed, based on pilot research, Forager determined that farmers on the platform saw a 10 percent increase in purchasing.
Retailers with an established network of local producers who want to get involved can contact Forager through its website.