Recreating the Supply Chain with Collaboration

Farm Fare

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

Cullen Naumoff, Daniel Conway and Laura Adiletta worked together to create a “dynamic supply chain” of food hubs and small-scale producers. By doing so, small-scale producers are able to connect with food hubs to create a shared infrastructure and marketplace within a geographic area. This creation is what’s known as the Farm Fare Software Application, which helps connect those small and medium farms with different food hubs in Ohio and the surrounding area.

Authors

Summer Suchan

Summer Suchan

Katherine Zolciak

Katherine Zolciak

Hannah Potter

Hannah Potter

Anh Le

Anh Le

School

The University of Toledo

The University of Toledo

Professor

Gary Insch

Gary Insch

Innovation

Food hubs are facilities that manage and facilitate the storage, distribution and marketing of food produced in a local area. Cullen worked for a food hub years ago and saw first-hand how they worked and how hard it was for farmers to connect with food hubs. This sparked the idea of creating a network that would allow farms to connect with food hubs, giving the farms access to public entities such as hospitals and schools. One of the founders, Cullen Naumoff, says, “Farm Fare supports small and medium sized family owned farms to gain access to institutional markets.” So, food hubs are created to help farmers within a region find places to sell to and to help distribute their products. What Farm Fare aims to do is connect the food hubs with the farms. They created a software platform to allow better access to wholesale channels within a region. Farm Fare invests in the power of collaboration and uses this to help food hubs share their inventory with a common audience. Creating a software like this connects companies with one another and helps to showcase and expose their products to increase their revenue and expand their network.

To connect the different food hubs, distributors and farms, Farm Fare uses its platform and software to bring them together and work as partners rather than competitors. Farm Fare starts by working with the food hub and connecting them with the Farm Fare Software App. On the app, the food hubs are able to share information about themselves such as the local farmers they work with and the foods they provide. From the Farm Fare App, one can go on and search what they would like; the app then gives a price for that item and the food hub it comes from then you can input a quantity. Once you have what is needed, you can check out through the app and the food hubs will then work together with distributors to ship the items to you in an efficient and convenient way that cuts back on carbon emissions. By connecting the food hubs with the distributors, farmers and consumers, it helped grow the community as well as create revenue for Farm Fare and all others involved. It even helped save money when sharing warehouses, distributors and purchasing at wholesale value.

Connecting food hubs with one another allows for the sharing of infrastructure. This means they share things such as warehouses for storage and trucks for distribution, which, in turn, reduces carbon emissions by sending products from multiple companies on a truck to many different locations. Having a distribution network and a software program to connect the different companies is the main goal of Farm Fare. Farm Fare wants to be able to create that relationship between the suppliers, distributors and even consumers in the market of farm fresh foods. By creating these relationships, it becomes easier to have food go from farm to table, to cut back on emissions by having multiple companies’ products on a truck to one store, to reduce the overall costs of transportation and so on. Farm Fare was created for the convenience of the people and the health of the Earth.


Recreating the Supply Chain with Collaboration

Inspiration

Co-founder Cullen Naumoff always knew she wanted to pursue the sustainability path. After graduating with an engineering degree, she found herself in the business world of supply chain management. As a former manager of a food hub in Oberlin, Ohio, Naumoff found inspiration for the next steps in her career path.

“Through that process I really became wildly more familiar with the practicalities of running the supply chain business. Notably I have a very distinct memory for anyone who is from northeast Ohio. You know, driving down 71 South in my produce truck, right, because I was the truck driver. When you run a small business, you wear all hats and I remember Sysco, the distribution company, whizzing by me in their 53-footer. And so here I am working really from dawn until past sundown, barely making really any dent in our market size. …. So what I was trying to do on the food hub level was shrink the hub and spoke model. .... The reason that business works is because of a little something called economies of scale, and when you work with small farmers and short supply chains you don’t have any of the benefits of economies of scale. That really started to catalyze my thinking on not just replicating or shrinking that hub and spoke model, but really thinking differently about how to create a dynamic supply chain.”

Overall impact

Farm Fare has successfully achieved goal 8: “Decent Work and Economic Growth” and goal 17: “Partnerships for the Goal” by creating a business relationship between small-scale producers and food hubs, which makes them able to work with each other in distributing farming products. As a result, Farm Fare is a support for the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, this partnership reduces the cost for regional infrastructure. Farm Fare also targets on goal 12: “Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns” and goal 13: “Climate Action” through providing distribution services for partners. Farm Fare replaces the use of direct delivery fleet or employing drivers by giving contracts to existing, underutilized food delivery trucks to run local food routes. This method not only reduces the manufacturing cost but also decreases the amount of carbon footprint from delivery transports. The activity of tightening the analytic measurement in supply, demand, and soil metric of Farm Fare is a support for farmers to improve the farm tillage, inputs, crop rotation, cover cropping and other soil health-building practice. As a result, farmers whose products are grown by implementing soil regenerative methods will have priority in markets to promote and sell the products, provided by Farm Fare.

Business benefit

The team and founders at Farm Fare all have a similar vision for the impact they want their company to make on the world. They want their company to drive change in the industry and create equity for all stakeholders involved. To accomplish these goals, Farm Fare is striving to embrace steward ownership. This concept involves “self-governance” where control remains inside the company with people who are dedicated to their mission and “profits serve purpose” which means that their profits are either reinvested into the business or stakeholders and they cap dividends to investors. With this ownership style, Farm Fare is able to empower small farmers and regional food hubs by sharing a portion of the company’s profits with them. In contrast to the industrial sector of farming which can create harmful externalities such as erosion, loss of biodiversity, and small to midsize farmers leaving the industry, Farm Fare aims to create a space where those small farmers can thrive and compete with large scale companies. This benefits Farm Fare by giving them a competitive advantage over other companies who aren’t implementing this concept. Even though using the platform Farm Fare provides can be a big jump for some local food hubs and farmers to make, the vision that Farm Fare has to help the entire supply chain can be a big motivation to use their service and generate revenue.

Social and environmental benefit

The system that Farm Fare uses is rooted in helping the environment and society by connecting farmers with large-scale institutions. Farm Fare’s business is not adding any negative externalities to the environment because they are only using underutilized transportation services and food that is already being produced, whether or not their company is in the equation. They are able to transport the food that is at the food hubs by using trucks owned and operated by other companies that may not be full on their route or have empty backhauls. By doing this, they are able to avoid putting more trucks on the road and the pollution that comes with it. Another important environmental factor they assist with is teaching farmers which crops to plant. Before, small farmers would have to guess or go with their gut on what crop would thrive for them, but Farm Fare is able to explain which might work best because they have data from a multitude of other farmers from around the same region. Having this data allows Farm Fare to distinguish what crops have succeeded and failed in certain regions, seasons and soil conditions. This service helps keep the soil in good condition so it can allow crops to prosper for years to come.

Part of Farm Fare’s business is allowing local farmers and food hubs to connect with one another and engage in helping each other without having the cloud of competition in the way. In doing this, farmers are able to see what works best for everyone so that they can all have better outcomes with their crops as time progresses. By grouping the inventory from all these farms together, large institutions such as hospitals and colleges are able to get fresher, more diverse food from a local source.

Interview

Cullen Naumoff, Co-Founder

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Farm Fare

Farm Fare

Cleveland, OH, US

Business Website: http://www.farmfare.io

Year Founded: 2017

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Farm Fare is a software platform which connects small-scale farmer producers and food hubs to work with each other and build up a shared marketplace. This database allows participants to share high-cost infrastructure such as warehouses, coolers, trucks, and human resources. In addition, farmers and food hubs are able to access wholesale channels across an entire region for goods and services exchange.