SDG – FreshSpoke is an app-based marketplace for local food, linking producers and buyers with a platform that makes the transaction as simple as “click•pick•deliver.” And it’s now expanding across Ontario.
Part of the online “shared economy” trend — also know as “Uberization”— FreshSpoke aims to grow sales and simplify order, payment and delivery for local food producers and wholesale buyers.
Local officials are so enthused about the economic possibilities, they recently hosted a one-hour information session at the United Counties Administrative building in Cornwall.
“Growing and launching this system to the SDG region provides a key tool for the ‘growing’ economy in the agriculture space,” said Terry Besner, United Counties’ Economic Development and Communications Officer. “We are pleased to offer support to our producers and businesses through FreshSpoke, and potentially offset some of the distribution challenges that are a large challenge to getting products directly out to the consumer base.”
Available on both iPhone and Android, the mobile app gives local food producers a set of simple tools to create a shop on their platform and take wholesale orders and schedule deliveries. Wholesale buyers — including restaurants, retailers and institutions — can tap into the SDG marketplace to browse and buy, arrange delivery and track the progress of their orders — all from the palm of their hand. FreshSpoke’s delivery system takes advantage of existing excess trucking capacity, allowing commercial drivers the opportunity to make extra cash delivering local food.
Introduced to the United Counties through the Food and Agriculture Advisory Council, at the Scaling Up workshop held a month ago, Fresh Spoke CEO and Co-Founder Marcia Woods spoke directly to participants, answering questions on the next steps.
“FreshSpoke appears to have struck a chord with Eastern Ontario local food producers and wholesale buyers,” said Woods. “The food service and retail businesses attending our information sessions made it clear that they want access to more locally produced foods. That’s why we’re expanding our platform into Eastern Ontario; so wholesale buyers in this region can connect directly with local food producers using our app to manage orders, payments and deliveries.”
The beauty of the system is that it provides flexibility and opportunity for the economic spinoff as part of the agriculture value-chain. Additional assistance and cost savings are also available for start-up operations and food entrepreneurs.
Among the firms already tapped into FreshSpoke is Against the Grain Farms, grower and producer of value-added, healthy corn and grain products outside Winchester. “Against the Grain is proud to be working with FreshSpoke, helping to make local food accessible,” said proprietor Shelley Spruit.