While supermarkets are convenient and cater for our every need, there’s a growing concern that we don’t know where our food actually comes from. The backlash against the mass production and distribution of food means that business opportunities are there for the taking. One such business idea to have germinated in the midst of the swing towards local, organic food is the Virtual Farmer’s Market.
What is Virtual Farmers Market?
The Virtual Farmers Market is an online collection of artisan foods. Artisan foods are the antithesis to the mass produced factory foods found in supermarkets – superior-tasting, they’re made from fresh, organic ingredients and hand-crafted in small batches, typically using traditional methods and techniques. Producers of organic and artisan foods often find it difficult to get their products into supermarkets, says Virtual Farmers Market founder, Welshman Marcus Carter. As a former farmer, it’s a challenge Carter knows well, and overcoming it gave rise to a business idea – creating a virtual space where organic food producers could showcase and sell their products. Through the Virtual Farmers Market, artisan foods are being made available to a new sector of consumers who usually shop at supermarkets, helping them discover new foods and to meet the people who produce them. Independent food producers benefit, not only from the interaction with consumers, but from the Virtual Farmers Market’s national consolidated distribution.
How does Virtual Farmers’ Market work?
The Virtual Farmers Market mirrors a physical farmers market – with ‘stalls’ arranged in various categories, from bakery, breakfast and brunch to fish and seafood, smokehouse and tea and coffee. Shoppers can browse the website or 3D market, meandering from stall to stall and checking out the produce, and can meet the food producer by video. When you’ve found what you’re looking for, throw the item in your shopping cart, place your food order online and your order is delivered to your home or workplace.
The Virtual Farmers Market has earned a significant celebrity endorsement from actor, presenter and comedian Stephen Fry, which means it must be a business idea worth taking note of. We think that South African organic food producers should follow suit.
For more inspiration…
Check out these virtual farmers markets:
- Local Dirt – find, fresh local food from the family food
- New Hampshire Virtual Farmers Market – shop New Hampshire farms and food businesses
- Big Barn – find good, safe, accountable food from local sources.