New online marketplace champions local commerce to benefit kids
CA(July 15, 2012) — On the forefront of
the farm to school movement, a new website, AgLink.com, strives to advance
healthy foods to California kids by linking schools to local farm fresh markets
with an August launch date scheduled, and its growing number of California
schools ready to click “add to cart”.
Connecting local farming and food service through e-commerce, Ag
Link, a central California based company, created the online marketplace, much
like an E-Bay or Craig’s List for fresh food, to initiate relationships between
cutting edge agricultural producers to sell directly to schools, hospitals and
other industrial food service that want more local, farm fresh food.
The website comprises producers of farm fresh products posting
their items for sale on the site, where food service buyers can shop online at
their convenience. By making the process more fiscally sustainable for both the
seller and the buyer through a more direct sale relationship, Ag Link combats
the detrimental practice of displacing local products with cheaper, less
seasonal imported ones.
“Thanks to recent healthy kids and obesity awareness programs,
school lunches are in the spotlight and definitely trending back to more
wholesome, scratch and less processed, frozen, heat and serve,” said Ag Link
CEO Jana Nairn.
“Access to local fresh produce is an essential step in this
pendulum swing.Ag Link is streamlining
the process, and making it easier for the 21st century consumer.”
According to the USDA, reducing childhood obesity is a top
priority for the current administration. The agency is working to update the
standardized nutritional requirements, by requiring an increase in fruits and
vegetables offered in public school breakfast and lunches.
“This is a win-win for California kids and for California
farmers,” said Ag Link spokesman Rob Nairn.
“As Ag Link’s expands new market opportunities it will help growers
do even more with their harvest.”
For example, Ag Link works with a central California peach
farmer who produces peaches and sells the largest fruits to supermarket chains.
The farmer also grows a surplus of smaller peaches that are often left on the
trees due to insufficient markets.These
smaller “kid friendly” fruit have the same nutritional content as their larger
counterparts, but are seen as undesirable by the consumer market. Posting the
smaller peaches on AgLink.com for sale to school food service opens the farmer
to a new niche market that helps cover the farming costs while reducing waste.
“We hope that this virtual business to business farmers’ market
will facilitate local farm fresh products to California kids while also
returning a higher profit margin to the grower,” said Jana Nairn.
To visit the Ag Link website go to www.aglink.com
About the company:
Ag Link, Inc. is a privately owned
California company working for and with producers to develop a regional farm to
school programs. Founded in 1993, by agribusiness woman Jana Nairn, Ag Link’s
initial goal was to “link” retiring farmers with entering farmers to transition
farmland from one generation to the next. In 2011, after releasing its
subsidiary companies, Ag Link began consulting with school food service and
became an online mediator for producers and buyers of farm products. With its
new goal of advancing healthy foods to California kids by linking schools to
farm fresh markets, Ag Link applied for a USDA Farm to School grant that it
hopes to receive in November 2012 to further expand its efforts.
Jana Nairn, CEO