Those of us who have participated in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in an effort to buy better foods and support local farms often wind up facing the reality that doing so can take more work than we’d like, between picking up the fruits/vegetables and then plowing through them before they go bad. As we asked ourselves last summer during our CSA experience: How much Swiss Chard can one family eat?
The founders of a stealthy Boston-based start-up called Locally understand this dilemma and have as their mission making it easier for consumers to get their hands on the locally-grown food they crave. Locally is launching a pilot of its home-delivery service in Wellesley next month.
The seed-funded outfit, which is also testing its service in Cambridge and Boston, is just a couple of months old. It was formed by Jessica Angell, most recently head of marketing at PayPay’s Media Network, and Dan Smith, who previously served as CEO of mobile content delivery company go2.com. Angell says they were both looking for a change and wanted to apply their marketing and technology knowledge to the local food market.
“Our goal is very simple: Increase the percentage of food that is consumed from local sources from 1% to 10%,” Angell says. “We are open to different ways of getting there, but for the time being, we think that the industry and market dictate that convenience is the biggest hurdle for consumers.”
Here’s how Locally will work: The company is partnering with local food suppliers (currently it has four) that will provide goods such as fruits, vegetables, poultry, dairy and eggs, as well as a few artisanal pantry items/treats. Partners set the price for the goods they offer, which are listed under their brand on Locally’s website. Consumers sign up to have their choice of food delivered to their homes, must order at least $30 worth at a time and are not required to sign up for any specific period of time. Food is delivered in special temperature-controlled bags once a week.
Locally would provide an alternative or complement to the growing number of local food sources, including CSAs, local-food conscious grocery stores, farmers’ markets like the one held in Wellesley on Thursdays at the Whole Foods parking lot and even certain restaurants, such as the The Local, which is coming to Wellesley this year.
As for why Locally chose Wellesley as a pilot community, Angell says it’s a tight-knit town near Boston that should lend itself to good work-of-mouth marketing.
Locally will determine as it goes along what works best, and the company is taking an uber-transparent approach to customer relations. For example, it’s urging users of its service to publicly ask questions and let the company know how it’s doing via Twitter @locallyco. Locally’s founders also are keeping an eye on related services, such as Good Eggs and Farmigo, that have cropped up in other parts of the country.