If you are a nut for raw nuts, a grass-fed guru, an organic oracle, a local-food loon, or a farmers market fiend, today is a good day.
GoodEggs has raised $8.5 million to expand its local grocery delivery service nationwide.
GoodEggs partners with farmers and foodmakers to create an online marketplace where people can buy high-quality, sustainable food from producers in their community.
“Local food is better for everyone involved,” the company said on its site. “We’re certain that better food is a means to a better world. As people get more of their food from local systems—systems built on caring for the land, the animals and the people in them—we believe that we’ll see real change.’
These changes include a more nutritious diet, supporting local businesses, promoting environmentally friendly practices, and fostering community around food.
Buyers can browse through this organic wonderland and fill their cart with grass-fed beef, heirloom tomatoes, homemade jam, and, of course, eggs. They can see who grew or made the food and how and subscribe to regular items. The good are picked up from the makers and delivered to either a free pickup spot or your home for $3.99.
Organic food makes up a tiny slice of agricultural production. Buying mainly happens offline, through small grocery stores and farmers markets. While wandering through a farmers market is an enjoyable way to pass a Saturday morning, it’s not convenient for people who don’t have the time, would rather avoid the crowds, or don’t live near one.
The local food industry is still struggling to come up with a distribution model that is scaleable. Growers and artisan producers, particularly those who don’t sell to large stores like Whole Foods, want to reach a broader audience, and consumers who are passionate about food want an easier way to buy quality products.
This is where GoodEggs steps in.
The startups has been compared to “Amazon” or “Etsy” for local food. Unlike these vast marketplaces, this startup meticulously sources its vendors.
In order to sell on the site, you must produce “with integrity.” Farmers must grow organically whenever possible and practice sustainable agriculture, avoiding the use of chemicals whenever possible. They must also pay employees a fair wage. Food makers must source ingredients as locally as possible and work with the seasons. Artificial ingredients are frowned upon.
Unlike community support agriculture (CSA) programs, where you receive regular shipments of produce from a local farm, GoodEggs has no commitments, and buyers have control over what they receive and how much. I am something of a health/organic food nut, and even I get overwhelmed by a CSA box filled with unfamiliar leafy greens and a pound of leeks.
Like GoodEggs, I am a firm believer that nurturing a local food system will solve so many other endemic problems in America.
More than one-third of U.S. adults and one-third of children and adolescents are overweight. Obese people are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, among others. and the estimated annual medical cost of obesity is $147 billion. The current food system also relies heavily on industrial agriculture, which supports monoculture farms and food produced by global corporations in factories. This system is seriously harmful to the environment.
Emphasizing the local food is part of curbing and even reversing these trends. While it will take a lot more than ordering organic food online to make a difference, GoodEggs is part of a larger movement working towards a change in consciousness in how we grow, buy, and eat.
The next step is making quality food more affordable for people of all income classes.
GoodEggs started in San Francisco and has since expanded to Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. This funding will fuel further expansion. It was led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Harrison Metal, Baseline Ventures Collaborative Fund, Max Ventilla, Mitch Kapor and others.
GoodEggs has 80 employees and works with 350 local food vendors.