Localecopia Marketplace: Driven by the Mission of Promoting Local, Sustainable Business
By Geoffrey Sagrans
When Localecopia, Inc. (501c3) opened in 2007 in Palm Beach, FL, the general focus was to repair the disconnect between local producers and local consumers. This focus was pursued through avenues like discussions, meetings and education of our current food system. In 2010 Localecopia subsidiary, Localecopia Marketplace, L3C was formed. The Marketplace was established as another avenue of the overall focus by physically connecting local food to end users.
The goal of Localecopia Marketplace was to deconstruct the complex supply chain web that has been built over the years. Instead of multiple products being sourced through farms around the world with multiple brokers and distribution systems, the idea for the Marketplace was much more simplistic. First, end users would order food from local suppliers, Localecopia Marketplace would pick these items up from the local suppliers to deliver directly to the end users. With this simplified formula the product would not “touch” multiple people, there would not be long travel times, fresh produce could be procured where the primary focus was on “taste” not “travel,” product would not sit on a shelf for days and products would be delivered direct shortly after being produced/harvested.
To add to this formula, those who started Localecopia Marketplace realized that true transparency was missing in the current marketplace. The founders believed consumers should know where their food comes from.
As a limited liability organization guided by the overall non-profit mission, the goal of Localecopia Marketplace has always been one of “sustainability” and not “profitability.” Michael Guenther, Director of Logistics for Localecopia Marketplace puts it this way — ”as long as we are not losing money, we’ll find a way to get it there.”
Fast forward to 2015.
Localecopia Marketplace currently services hotels, restaurants and school districts throughout the Florida during growing season. Getting to this point has been far from easy. Operators in all parts of the supply chain have operated a certain way for years. The idea of change is a scary one that some people are either scared of or resist. The way Localecopia Marketplace operates lends itself to many obstacles. However, by completing one operation at a time, end users are starting to figure out the value of connecting with locally-produced items. Hotels, restaurants and schools understand the impact local food can have on a community as well as the potential impact on regional agriculture and the affect on quality of the final product offered to consumers.
Whether you are a farmer, distributor, chef, policy maker or consumer, you play a role in the state’s food system. Visit Localecopia’s website here: http://www.localecopia.org/ and connect with this exciting effort to build a healthier food system.