Supporting local farmers will soon be even easier for St. Louis across the state.
Schnucks has teamed up with Foodshed.io, a mobile app that works to connect small-scale producers to chefs, supermarkets and more. Founder Daniel Beckmann says that the goal of Foodshed is to change the food system so that everybody can have access to fresh, local produce.
"Most people don't even realize how far away their produce travels to get to them," he says.
According to Beckmann, the best way to achieve that goal is to work with major retailers like Schnucks, because that is how most people buy their produce. With Schnucks having locations across five states, it was the perfect partner to bring this New York City company to the Midwest.
July 15 is the hard launch for the program, which is when many of the farmers they have been working with will have loads of summer produce to bring into Schnucks locations. This year, through this partnership, Schnucks plans to buy $5 million in local produce and goods.
"We saw this as a great opportunity to build and expand our local program," says Mike Tipton, vice president of produce and floral for Schnucks. "We'd like to take it to the next level, and we feel that's where Foodshed can dip in and help us do that, because we feel like there's a lot of farmers out there that are growing a lot of great product in our area that we may not be reaching today."
Foodshed is able to bring these local producers into mainstream markets by giving them a hand. Foodshed walks farmers through the processes, including making sure they have the proper certifications, so that they don't get turned away by retailers that often have strict safety and quality measures. However, most of the farmers already have these safety measures in place and just didn't have the certifications needed to sell on these levels.
Participating farms include Eckert's, which Schnucks already has a relationship with, several farms owned by Amish families in both Missouri and Illinois, Doublestar Farms and more.
"A lot of it involves making sure we're talking to these farmers before they grow things, letting them know what the demand is, and then working with them to grow it in a way where it's not a mystery and they take it [to the store] and they're frustrated because half of it gets rejected," Beckmann says.
As more local produce is rolled out in Schnucks stores, customers will be able to find it by looking for signage that designates it as local. A Foodshed.io logo will also be a sign as to which produce is coming from local farms.
Schnucks, multiple locations, nourish.schnucks.com