Sowing the Seeds of a Local Food Boom

Ariel Schwartz reports on the efforts of a Silicon Valley-based "food incubator" that aims to bring a lean start-up approach to scaling up the local food movement.
April 30, 2012, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Local Food Lab, the brainchild of Krysia Zajonc and Mateo Aguilar that will make its debut this summer in Palo Alto, is envisioned by its co-founders as "an incubator, collaborative workspace and educational program for sustainable food and farm startups."

Born out of Columbia Business School's Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center, "itself an incubator for student startups," the company was founded to help meet the rapidly growing demand for local and sustainably sourced food, which far outstrips current supply.

According to Schwartz, "Zajonc entered business school expressly because she wanted to work on solving problems in the food system. 'I saw there was a problem getting food from farm to table and linking producers to buyers but it seemed like those problems would be solved with a few really good apps and a logistics makeover of distributors,' she says. 'The bottleneck in my mind was the supply piece. There's not enough food that people are demanding, and that's why prices are so high.'"

The first initiative in the company's effort to grow a crop of local food producers will be a "startup bootcamp" being held over four weeks this summer.

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Published on Friday, April 27, 2012 in Fast Company Co.Exist
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