photo: Sara Novak
This is an idea that I hope gets some traction and expands to other grocers across the nation. Fresh & Easy's Neighborhood Market found such success with their Farm to Store in 24 Program, that they will be expanding it. Customers are ensured through the program, the their produce was picked only 24 hours prior to their purchase, Along with the program, the grocer only sells in-state produce so that they can get it to you in a timely manner. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is focusing on getting the ripest and freshest produce to customers with its newly expanded Farm to Store in 24 Program. According to the California grocer:
"Getting produce from the farm to the store in 24 hours or less is an incredibly tricky task, which makes it important to partner with strong local growers who share our commitment to quality produce," said Justin Hill, Fresh & Easy's produce manager. "We are working closely with these growers here to put in the extra care required to expand our Farm to Store in 24 offerings whenever we can."
While the program sounds like a great idea, there's little mention of organic or sustainable farmers which leaves me more than a little unsettled. Additionally, the video shows some seriously unnecessary packaging on some of the produce. But it's a good start. The store has about 89 California stores, 31 stores in Arizona, and 26 stores in Nevada.
Could Other Stores Follow?
I wrote last year that larger chains like Whole Foods are also working to make it easier for local producers. Whole Foods Market's Local Producer Loan Program (LPLP) provides up to $10 million in low-interest loans to local producers. Loans range from $1,000 to $100,000 and can be for things like investing in new equipment or converting to organic production in order to allow farmers to produce enough product to provide for their store.
It seems more cost effective and down right common sense for grocers to look closer to home when it comes to buying. The end product doesn't waste loads of money on fossil fuel costs in transport, and it has a much higher nutrient density.
More on Local Foods:
Drop Out Economy' Fueling Local Food Entrepreneurship
Local Food, Motherfu$k*r: 10 Awesome Ad Campaigns Addressing Food's Carbon Footprint (Slideshow)
Is Your Favorite Restaurant Serving Local Food? 7 Ways to Tell