Member Spotlight: Farmer's Market Direct


1 years ago

Farmer’s Market Direct

Steffanie VanderVeen

 

 

Who are you?

My name is Steffanie VanderVeen and I am a software engineer.  I started Farmer’s Market Direct after I had a new baby and found it really difficult to get out to the farmer’s market regularly.  I really missed the fresh local produce and needed a more convenient way to still get it weekly. I realized I could use my experience developing e-commerce web applications to create an online farmer’s market, bringing the convenience of ordering online to the local food movement.

 

What are you working on?

My company is called Farmer’s Market Direct.  It’s an online ordering service for farmer’s markets. We provide a convenient, one stop shopping experience for farmer’s market customers.  Using Farmer’s Market Direct, customers can shop online when it's convenient, buy what they want, as often as they want, and we’ll package it all together and have it ready for pick up anytime while the market’s open. Customers can drive up and pick up their groceries without even leaving their car.  We give farmer’s markets a “pre-order” capability that helps increase sales and revenue for their markets.  

 

How did you start to establish your idea?

Initially, I did a survey with customers at farmers markets and found that there were a lot of other people who felt the same way I did, they want to buy more local produce and products but need a more convenient way to do it.  We talked to vendors as well, and they were excited to have an additional sales channel. So we created a website where local vendors can list their products online at the farmer’s markets they already attend.

The Wasatch Front farmer’s market at Wheeler Farm let us operate a booth at their market last year, so we started putting local vendors’ produce and products on our website and began taking orders.  We didn’t sell very much but we learned a lot!

 

What about entrepreneurship interests you?

I am most interested in getting an opportunity to work on a project that has the potential to increase the consumption of locally grown food. I am excited to be able to work on something I care about and enjoy.
 

Why did you come to Sustainable Startups? What has been your greatest take away from being in the Sustainable Startup cohort course thus far? 

I came to Sustainable Startups because I needed help figuring out how to move my business forward.  I think the most important take away for me has been the help defining (and writing down) my goals and the small steps I need to take to get there, getting feedback on them, and then executing them.  I am not sure I would have made the progress I have made without working in that framework, or if I would have even stuck with my idea at all.

Now I have the two largest markets in the state signed up to use Farmer’s Market Direct for next season!