Ag-Tech Upstart Linking St. Louis-Area Farmers to More Markets
A St. Louis startup wants to give more people access to locally grown, fresh food.
Foodshed.io is testing its technology in the region through a deal with Schnucks Markets. It also has agreements with more than two dozen area farms with plans to add more.
“Year over year we're going to be increasing it,” said Foodshed cofounder and CEO Dan Beckmann. “You start small with a farm, you make sure they can handle this, and you help them get up to bigger orders and growing more."
The deal with Schnucks is part of the grocery chain’s plan to buy $5 million worth of local produce this year.
It’s part of Foodshed’s effort to change how fresh food makes it to the dinner table.
“The closer it is to where it's consumed, the more we have a possibility of growing things that are in season, are designed to be fresh instead of just making the trip over the Rocky Mountains from California,” Beckmann said.
Beckmann is a technology entrepreneur and Washington University graduate. Other company executives also went to Wash U, which is part of the reason they decided to move operations to St. Louis after beginning to use the technology in New York City.
Beckman said they started by delivering to businesses run by Shake Shack founder and St. Louis native Danny Meyer.
“He has some really fancy restaurants in New York, and just to get our technology started we were delivering there,” Beckmann said.
But the appeal of St. Louis includes the opportunity to serve a more diverse group of consumers.
“In St. Louis, people are more value-conscious. Everybody from all sorts of walks of life walks into a Schnucks store.”
The decision to move from New York City also came after Foodshed took part in St. Louis’ Yield Lab Incubator. It focuses on helping early-stage companies.
Beckmann said that experience helped the agricultural technology company realize the potential of St. Louis. “If you can make it in St. Louis, you can make it anywhere. That’s actually the truth.”
Even though it’s in the testing phase, Foodshed has big goals for the technology. They include eventually becoming a platform for farmers to link to markets and grocery stores throughout the country.
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