The demand for organic, locally-sourced, all-natural food is growing and growing. Gone are the days of infinite shelf-life and preservatives; instead, consumers today are looking for the freshest produce, meats, dairy and grains. Although the trend has been growing for a number of years, newer farms are starting to increase the speed at which food leaves their facilities and reaches supermarket shelves.
Chicago-based FarmedHere is a 100% certified-organic indoor farm that uses its own tilapia waste as a fertilizer for its basil and other agricultural products. The company has already made inroads with supermarkets, such as Whole Foods, by delivering on it's pledge: produce will be delivered from farm to market within 24 hours. Sourcing locally allows the supermarkets to sell fresh produce without the risk of spoilage. This helps FarmedHere turn farm products around quickly so that they can begin the planting or harvesting of their next crop.
Home Town Farms in San Marcos, CA, is another organic farm that hopes to change the mold of produce production. The farm, less than seven months old, has already stocked produce on the shelves of Whole Foods and Jimbos. The food is specifically intended to be sold locally, as the food is grown vertically to save space and water. The food then moves directly from farm to the store, instead of a distribution center hundreds of miles away. The saved time and costs allow the farm to produce more fruits and vegetables and the fresh deliveries (which sometimes occur the day the crop is harvested) increases shelf life for partner supermarkets.
As technology improves and techniques are tailored to save space, it seems we will see more and more fruits and vegetables sourced closer to home. The change is ironic, considering that almost all produce was locally-sourced a century ago. Despite our best efforts to industrialize and commercialize the industry, it appears consumer tastes are coming full circle, and although consumers will need to pay a premium for such locally-grown, fully-organic foods, it doesn't seem like demand is ending. In fact, it only seems to be growing.