MINNEAPOLIS — Taking a trip to buy locally farmed and produced foods is changing. Now, instead of hopping in the car or on your bike to travel to the farmers market, it comes to you through the Market Wagon app.
That means fresh, local food any time of year, but this new tool is also about building a relationship with where your food comes from.
Nick Carter came up with the concept of combining farming with the web out of necessity. He’s a fourth-generation famer who realized if he was going to have anything to pass along to his son things would have to change.
“It’s a business of passion," Carter said. "So, in order to save the family farm, we had to create an online marketplace.”
Now there’s over 2,000 food artisans and farmers just like Nick on Market Wagon. The service continues to expand as interest in locally farmed and produced foods keeps growing.
Bruce and LeeAnn Waugh of Cannon Valley Ranch in Goodhue have gained greater exposure on Market Wagon than they could have ever dreamed about reaching on their own. They are not only selling directly to buyers, they’re also learning to tailor their business to peoples changing needs. “It’s taught us a lot about what the consumers wants and needs are," LeeAnn said. "There’s things we’ve learned about what products people like and convenient sizes.”
According to the USDA, 70% of Americans would spend more if they could get locally sourced food, but logistics and price traditionally create a challenge for family farms. With Market Wagon, farmers know exactly what’s needed from their crop and drop it all off at a hub. From there items are delivered to individual customers for a flat fee of $6.95, whether you buy one item from a single farmer or 100 items from 20 different farmers.
“The thing is technology is always advancing and farmers have used new technology to innovate, and this is no different,” Carter said.
Farmers and food artisans can easily sign up right on the website, and Carter encourages each one to share their story to let the consumer know who they are.
“That transparency builds the trust, it builds the value in the food and it’s also what the producers are looking for – they want to know the community that they are feeding.”