DRAYTON – Local farmers now have a new way to connect with those looking to buy fresh local goods thanks to a venture launched by a long-time Wellington and Huron County resident. SmartLocavore.com provides a free online listing service that helps consumers find local farms with products available.
Founder Stacey Bowles grew up on a beef farm in Huron County and realized during the pandemic the challenge farmers were experiencing in connecting with customers without traditional farmers markets.
She started going door-to-door helping farmers to digitize their inventory and connect with customers online.
“One of the challenges farmers face is in rapidly changing inventory – they might have a few dozen eggs and flowers available today and next week something different,” said Bowles. “Smart Locavore provides them the opportunity to continually list changing inventory or provide a general listing with contact info for follow up.”
Customers can purchase products directly through the site or through contacting the farm. While some are already utilizing digital platforms for promotion and sales, many are listing their products online for the first time.
“Support for the service has been almost overwhelming,” said Bowles. “This is something that has been needed for a long time and I’m so glad to be able to provide free support to help farmers like my parents.”
Smart Locavore now has 1,000 listings and growing, and provides a unique solution as some digital marketplaces ban farmers from selling goods, such as Facebook Marketplace. While the enterprise is North American-wide, its roots are firmly in southern Ontario.