UO MBA graduate takes local food digital

Delicious and sustainable--local foods bring a lot to the table. But shopping for them isn't usually as convenient as making a run to the supermarket.

University of Oregon MBA graduate Amy McCann is working on changing that.

McCann is the cofounder and CEO of Local Food Marketplace, a Eugene-based startup whose online shopping application makes it easier for individual consumers and institutional buyers (think restaurant chefs) to buy local.

Customers use the application to shop online, filling their virtual carts with offerings from dozens of area farmers. Once or twice a week, they pick up their purchases from a convenient location--or have them delivered.

The online service benefits farmers, too. Instead of guessing what their customers will want, farmers practice "just-in-time" harvesting--picking and transporting only what they have already sold.

Currently, more than sixty food hubs around the United States and Canada use the Local Food Marketplace shopping application.

Now life is about to get even easier for local food shoppers. Using a $46,000 grant from Oregon BEST, Local Food Marketplace has developed a mobile application. Customers of Eugene Local Foods can download beta versions for Android and iOS now. It will be released for other participating Local Food Marketplace-powered hubs later this summer and fall.

The company is also a semifinalist in this year's Cleantech Open Accelerator program, a national competition that fosters the development of clean technologies.

What is McCann's vision for Local Food Marketplace's future? As the market for local food matures, McCann sees the company adding on a consulting role, using data-driven insights to help food hubs grow and expand.

"We're doing a lot of research on best practices--both within our customer base and without--to see where people are finding success," said McCann.

Visit the Local Food Marketplace website and on the Oregon BEST website.

- from the Lundquist College of Business