If you’re like me, you want your food to be as fresh and local as possible. It’s good for the local farmers, smaller growers tend to take more care and grow higher quality products, and the closer it was grown, the better it typically tastes as it doesn’t spend time withering in travel. The trouble is, for most of us, this requires locating semi-obscure farmer’s markets and getting to them at their less-than-convenient hours.
What if you could just get fresh, local, and delicious produce at a grocery store? Or better yet, what if the produce was grown right there, in the grocery store? Guys, it’s happening! And we need to spread the word so it can happen all over the country.
It’s called The Farmery. A brainchild of Ben Greene. In a nutshell, The Farmery and its future locations will be growing containers with a market right inside. The structures are made from shipping containers, which house the growing systems and the “u-pick markets” in urban areas, not rural farmland. This equals fresh produce in your neighborhood, when you want it.
Greene explained how he came up with the plan, “The idea was spurred out of noticing the massive amount of attention that local food was receiving, but it appeared there were not many good business models for local food…it appeared to me the most inefficient part of the system was the complex journey from the farm to the retailer.” Greene decided to, “Combine the farm and retailer because those were the parts of the food system customer’s most paid attention to and it also made the food journey simpler and more efficient.”
The plan for The Farmery has taken flight on a small scale in North Carolina.
“We actually just opened our first ‘Mini-Farmery’ in Downtown Durham in front of Burt’s Bees headquarters. It’s a single 20 ft. version of the full-scale Farmery. We grow and sell crops at this location,” said Greene.
Greene continued, “We are using this prototype to mock-up the full-scale version of the Farmery and to attract investment money to build it.”
The Farmery hopes to have the first full-scale store up in 2014. Additionally, Greene explained that they hope to expand to five locations in the next 10 years.
Fresh food is always best, and as Greene explained, the food from The Farmery growing sites will be very high quality, grown by artisan farmers who can pay great attention to the food. He also discussed how product diversity will be possible on these smaller scales. For example, he mentioned tomatoes being grown next to garlic and how that will influence the flavor.
Garlic tomatoes? Uh, yes, please.
Greene said the best way to help see more Farmery’s pop-up is to spread the word. “The biggest hurdle is securing money and attracting investors, especially for a start-up. We are definitely making headway on that front though,” said Greene.