At Saturday’s CitySeed farmers’ market at Wooster Square in New Haven, I picked up some info on Fresh Nation, a site with the tagline “Buy Local * Eat Fresh,” which promises to “revolutionize the Farmer’s Market experience.” Fresh Nation makes use of social media to “connect farmers, food artisans, farmer’s markets, and consumers who love to eat fresh local food.”
The idea behind the site is that farmers and artisans use Fresh Nation to maintain an online presence. Fresh Nation customers become members (followers). And producers keep their followers updated on news and special offers.
The older, more established site, buyctgrown, has far more listings. But Fresh Nation goes a step beyond the list, promising to facilitate direct contact between the vendor and the registered user.
Here is how it works: A potential shopper visiting the Fresh Nation site is presented an opportunity to enter a business name or zip code to discover nearby markets, vendors, or artisans. [Identical to the prompt at buyctgrown.] The visitor can then “Join the Nation,” by supplying an email address and creating a password, and create a list of personal “favorites” from the results. The new member is told to expect offers and updates from the “favorites” in a single email. The Fresh Nation site also states that members will be able to place online orders from these vendors for pick-up at the market.
I signed up, found a number of New Haven vendors, and marked several as “favorites.” I’ll let you know what happens next. [Today IS only Monday.]
I then entered a number of zip codes from around the country to get a better sense of the geographical area Fresh Nation serves. It appears to be currently an East Coast site — very well established from the Philadelphia area up through the entire states of New Jersey and New York, making inroads in Connecticut, and just getting started in Massachusetts.
Check it out, see what is listed for your area, and get your unlisted “favorites” to sign on. Just think. If Fresh Nation really takes off, you will be able to sleep in on market day.
I often blog on food, food issues, or topics related to growing things on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”