March 17, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
Having lived in the suburbs for most of my life, my too-brief stint living in Washington, D.C. opened me up to a lot of new things. City life is full. Full of entertainment and events, zoos, parks, shopping, eating and just living. Things move fast in the city, and there’s a lot to experience, even in a day. One thing that amazed me most, though, was the diversity. I’m not talking about diversity of the people themselves (of which there was plenty, especially given my apartment’s location in the embassy district), but the diversity of cultures that seemed to sneak their way into what I had imagined would be a modernized, Westernized, homogenized metropolis. Every so often, hidden away in parks and around corners, perhaps once a week or less, little glimpses of something different would appear and disappear. Fairs, festivals, boutiques, and my personal favorites: farmers’ markets. I was quick to figure out the schedule for the regularly-occurring farmers’ markets, relying on them week by week to bring me some of the best food I’ve ever tried. I got to know the farmers themselves and the whole experience just put icing on the city’s cake. I was lucky; not everyone knew about these magical little exchanges. Irregular hours and an irregular selection drove people to forego the farmers’ stands in favor of the more predictable supermarkets and grocery stores. Today’s project saw this problem and is coming up with an interesting, high-tech solution to bringing farm freshness into the city.
CitySprout is creating a platform for organizing regular exchanges between farmers and hungry city-dwellers. With a group-based ordering system, the farmers are guaranteed to unload their crop while the food-loving customers are sure to get the freshest produce as needed, when needed.
We will provide a marketplace to expand the reach of rural farms and close the distance between urban customers and food producers. In addition to everything mentioned above, CitySprout is a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional U.S. food distribution and transportation.
They describe the platform as the intersection of Community Supported Agriculture and farmers’ markets, both of which are truly great opportunities that evade too many people because of their relative obscurity. The ubiquity and convenience of the internet is just what’s needed to help people make supermarket alternatives more dependable, not to mention more apparent. So if you value freshness, functionality, farms and farmers, I hope you’ll join me in in helping CitySprout to start hooking up your city and mine to the farmers in our region by backing them on before April 17.