Sustainable Food Directory Brings Together Over 40,000 Businesses

Farm Plate is a fantastic sustainable food initiative – it is a rather newly launched website which features a searchable directory of more than 40,000 business listing across the US.

Users can search the site by category and by location to find sustainable foods and drinks. Farm Plate links  “farmers, fishermen, foragers, food artisans, restaurants, markets, distributors and foodies everywhere” in one unique platform.

The Farm Plate team wants to make it easier for consumers to find the sustainable businesses that they want to support. This also helps small business by providing them an online presence and a ready consumer base. The site is designed in such a way that users can not only source products and discover sustainable food businesses but they can also rate and review their favourite food and enterprise. The website only promotes businesses that produce, sell or support local, organic, seasonal, artisanal,  ethical, fair trade, family farmed and handcrafted foods.

According to Kim Werner, founder and president of Farm Plate: “FarmPlate’s mission is to help sustainable food businesses expand their markets. They are the engine of local food systems, and we are committed to contributing to their growth in any way that we can.”

They already have a big roster of sustainable food suppliers, which makes for interesting browsing. They also have a special ‘Resources’ page that provides an easy access guide to sustainable food for farmers, food retailers, gardeners, fishermen, restaurants and chefs. This type of directory for sustainable food businesses is a tremendous achievement and a step in the right direction.

This initiative might make it easier for those who do not have easy access to farmer’s markets or CSA programs. Although these are listed on the website as well, consumers can also browse through independent stores and farmers in their locality that are able to supply them with sustainable food.

This might especially be a boost for seafood suppliers because sustainable seafood is harder to procure than any other food item. The website also provides a list of clam diggers, seaweed harvesters, fishermen, lobster, oyster and crayfish fishermen, among others.

With the prevalence of factory-farmed and mass-produced food that is largely unsustainable, apart from causing numerous health issues – this initiative is like a breath of fresh air. This might even boost the consumption of local food, thereby spurring on small farmers. The potential of Farm Plate is huge but it is a little too early to say how they will grow and develop and the good things that could come out of it.

Image Credit: FarmPlate/Screen shot

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net