Entrepreneur Brings Digital Efficiency To Producers Of Food And Its Retail Buyers

By J. Craig Anderson
Portland Press Herald, Maine

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Forager” is a new Web-based application that creates an online and mobile digital marketplace for local farmers and other food producers to sell their products wholesale to retailers. It’s kind of like an Amazon.com for wholesalers of locally sourced foods.

Portland Press Herald, Maine

One of Maine’s most successful serial entrepreneurs has launched a new business with the goal of advancing the local food economy into the digital age.

David Stone, who previously co-founded digital gift-card provider CashStar Inc. in Portland, has started a new Portland-based company called Forager1 LLC to develop a digital procurement platform for local food producers and the retailers who sell their products.

The service, known as Forager, has been up and running on a trial basis for several months. Stone said he already has about 100 Maine food producers and 10 retailers using it.

As of Monday, Forager is being rolled out in New England and New York state, with the eventual goal of expanding nationwide.

“We believe that local food can change the world by reducing our dependency on big industrial agriculture, improving our environmental impact, creating more local jobs, making us healthier and bringing people together,” said Stone, Forager’s founder and CEO. “Yet only 3 percent of the food we consume is local, and eight large companies control 80 percent of our food supply. By breaking down barriers to local sourcing, we hope to fan the flames of a local food revolution.”

Forager is a Web-based application that creates an online and mobile digital marketplace for local farmers and other food producers to sell their products wholesale to retailers. It’s kind of like an Amazon.com for wholesalers of locally sourced foods.

INEFFICIENT PROCESS STREAMLINED
Stone said that for retailers of locally sourced foods, the traditional process of finding and doing business with multiple local farmers and other producers has been expensive, inefficient and error-prone. As a result, the retailers can spend up to 60 hours a week communicating with farmers, managing orders and making payments, which can reduce their margins by 33 percent or more.

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