$3k Website Connects Farms to Restaurants, Creating Virtual Coop


Image credit: Encore/The Purpose Prize

From beekeepers using the internet to fight colony collapse disorder, through crop mob and other new agrarians organizing online, to wireless soil sensors optimizing farm resources, a return to sustainable farming does not mean a rejection of what technology has to offer. Inspired by the death of his granddaughter, one retired telecommunications analyst has set about using the power of the internet to promote social justice, reverse the decline in small farming, and create a vibrant food economy for his community. The Optimistic Futurist writes that 2010 Purpose Prize Winner Timothy Will was driven by high levels of rural unemployment and poverty in his community to bring about a revival of agrarian traditions, and he used the internet to do it. His first step was to ensure inclusion in the information economy, securing over $1.5 million to provide broadband internet to the rural Appalachian county in which he lives.

Knowing that despite the high levels of poverty, some 6000 families owned between 5 and 20 acres of land in his community, and knowing that chefs in nearby Charlotte were itching to buy high-quality, sustainable local produce, Tim figured it was pretty much a case of connecting the dots. So Will created a $3000 website called Farmers Fresh Market where farmers could market produce direct to restaurants, and he created sustainable agriculture and computing courses to help farmers figure out what to grow and how to sell it.

But I'll let Will himself pick up the story. He tells it so much better than I ever could.


More on Technology and Farming
a href="http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/03/beekeepers_util.php">Beekeepers Use Internet to Fight CCD
Crop Mob: Getting Together for the Future of Farming
Wireless Soil Sensors Offer 21st Century Farming
Is Industrial Monoculture the Real Path to Sustainable Farming?

Tags: Agriculture | Farming | Local Food | North Carolina | United States