A San Francisco-based web startup called Good Eggs is working to make consumer connections with their local foodshed simpler by developing a direct-sales model for small, local food producers.
GoodEggs.com, which was launched in 2011, helps local food producers reach more customers by handling the logistics of actually reaching those customers. So, for example, the website might allow consumers to place an order for locally-made bread, and then pick up the bread at a pre-determined location in their neighborhood. The baker doesn't have to worry about making tons of different deliveries or scaling up enough to support a retail location, she just makes one delivery to the pick-up location.
The company is driven by a mission to connect and grow local food systems—in the Bay Area for now, but the founders hope to take the concept worldwide. Since customers are shopping directly from local growers and producers, there's no shipping fees involved, and producers can focus on their product, rather than on sales, marketing and distribution.
Good Eggs isn't the first company to use technology and the web to help the local food movement. Sites like Farmigo, Plovgh, Farmers Web and others have all taken on the challenge of connecting customers with their local farmers in different areas of the country, offering services that improve on the traditional CSA (community supported agriculture) model by allowing more choice by consumers and more support for farmers.
As demand for local food grows, demand for these sorts of distribution solutions will likely also grow, and hopefully, the new technologies of the Internet and e-commerce can help provide the missing links in creating a new food system that focuses on local products to replace the current, broken system we have today.