Know Your Farmer Know Your Food: The Future of Organic Farming
Organic farming is big business. Last year it grossed $3.7B in Canada and it’s growing fast with a 20% annual growth rate. BC is part of this growth and we learned more with Krystine McInnes, CEO and founder of Grown Here Farms.
Grown Here Farms is the largest organic farm in the South Okanagan. Its business has three legs:
- provides produce to grocery retailers
- manufactures a line of organic solutions
- develops an agriculture management solution to help consumers and farmers.
A Newbie to Agriculture
Farming often relies on knowledge and ‘know how’ passed down through generations. If you’re new to farming you miss out on the knowledge bank passed on from generations.
“Price your stuff too high, you price yourself out of the market. Price yourself too low, you miss out on margin,” says McInnes.
Since Krystine didn’t have experience in farming and a database of historic data to rely on she relied on customers to dictate the market rate. That’s one of the reasons Krystine built her own technology solution, empower farmers with historical crop data to inform their related business decisions.
Change the Paradigm – Buy Local
Krystine told us that only a handful of retailers own the entire food supply. This is a big problem for farmers. It makes it tougher to compete and build sustainable businesses.
“When we have a limited number of supply channels and a limited number of people making decisions, local farmers must compete with cheaper import alternatives put pressure prices and can reduce the likelihood of local products being carried in stores at all.”
What’s the solution? If we buy local we can directly impact our agriculture economy and better yet, help local farmers so we can have even more local choices.
Smart Farming: from seed to sale
Now Krystine is building a solution that will not only empower farmers to access historical crop data but also help farmers and customers track produce from seed to sale.
The big difference? Giving the consumer a voice.
“Our product will interface with the consumer,” says McInnes. “So the consumer can engage with a fun platform that will allow them to know where their food came from, what’s in it, and how that food traveled to get into their food and actually have a dialogue with the sources of their food.”
Krystine wants to re-build the trusted relationship between the consumer and the farmer. She wants us to benefit from the days of know your farmer know your food, improving the relationship people have with food and their overall health.
Want to learn more about the future of smart farming? Listen above.