Food4All’s “Farmer First” Approach

Living in the semi-rural community of Bend, Oregon, we have a wide variety of friends and friends of friends. This is different from our years in a big city, where most of our friends were found through work or recreation. They were either techies or sports oriented. Sometimes both. But here in Bend, we have a wide circle of friends with so many different backgrounds and experience. It’s a rich mix that we relish. Folks in real estate, construction, chefs, waiters, fishing guides, professional runners, shoe designers, food entrepreneurs who started in their kitchen and now have national brands—you name it.

In that mix are farmers. Farmers are among our hardest-working friends. Something is going on all the time on the farm. Mix in the unpredictability of Mother Nature, and our farming friends have a wide range of work to plan, situations to respond to, and just flat out hands-on, labor-intensive farming to be done. So many different hats to wear all at one time.

When we sat down to design our local food app, our approach was to put the farmer first. After all, they are ones doing the hard work to grow and create the food we eat, the food that nourishes our community. We need to make it easy on them. With Farmer First as our guiding principle, we’ve built an application that a farmer, rancher, or artisan food crafter can use while attending to their day-to-day chores. With the app, a farmer can stand in the field, take a picture of their crop, and make that item available to retail and wholesale buyers in less than a minute. And when someone places an order, we provide the reports, right on the phone, to make it easy to get that product where it needs on the right date at the right time.

Not only have we built the local food app to be convenient to these folks, we’ve also oriented our pricing to further help them out. We know that farmers are people of passion looking to offer food at the lowest price to their community. With that, the price that a farmer sets is the price they receive, less any credit card fees. Shoppers pay a small fee for each order. This approach distributes the cost of the software used by a farmer across their local community of shoppers, who feel good that they are supporting their local farm’s use of technology. We refer to it as “Community Supported Software.”

Hats off to you farmers. You are our heroes. Thank you for the work that you do. And for those who shop local for their food, thank you as well. Together we create healthy sustainable communities.