SARATOGA SPRINGS — With a little help from technology, or a lot if you ask Corrie LaFay of Healthy Living Market and Café, local grocers and farmers are able to meet the rising demand of organic food and a farm-to-table menu.
A new online and mobile platform, called Forager, is helping consumers source fresh, healthy foods as well as connecting farmers, grocers, co-ops, producers, and other buyers and sellers of local food to these consumers.
The platform was created by David D. Stone and was based on his passion to provide fresher, healthier food to consumers and to help small independent farms prosper.
“Local grocers and co-ops need to embrace technology more than ever in order to differentiate themselves in this expanding but competitive marketplace. Technology that makes it easier to offer an abundance of local foods, and to provide an exceptional in-store experience, will help them succeed in the face of the profound changes driven by Amazon, home delivery and other innovations,” said Stone.
The mission of Forager is to accelerate the growth of the local food economy and make locally- sourced food more widely available to all. The company’s online and mobile platform digitizes and streamlines the procurement-to-payment process, saving time and costs for all parties involved.
Healthy Living Market and Café, located in Saratoga Springs, has been using Forager a little over a month to more easily source their grocery and produce, as well as menu items.
“It really puts everything in one place. I could have up to ten local farmers and have ten different email chains going on, so its really nice to have it all in one place and that way I can compare every farm together and I can kind of piece it together a little better,” LaFay said.
“This makes everything streamlined which is really nice,” she added.
Forager allows vendors like LaFay to compare prices and easily order produce from farmers all in one platform. Farmers will post the produce they have along with delivery date.
“It’s a big time benefit for me so far and my farmers all seem to really like it, none of them have complained. They like how easy it is and the cool part for me is that it’s not so much of a time crunch because sometimes I’d be waiting for them to send me a list of what they have available and this way it’s on their time so they can update it any time of day,” LaFay said.
LaFay first heard about Forager when she was approached at the Vermont location of Healthy Living Market and Café.
“It’s worked pretty well, it looks like I’ve placed 35 orders so far,” LaFay explained.