Hope & Main serves up high-tech method to purchase local food

HOPE & MAIN and Crave Food Systems have launched an app to help local people buy local food.
HOPE & MAIN and Crave Food Systems have launched an app to help local people buy local food.

WARREN – Food-business incubator Hope & Main is bringing its small businesses online.

The group has teamed up with Providence-based food-technology company Crave Food Systems to create the Hope & Main app. It will allow shoppers to preorder food items and select pickup locations to easier support Rhode Island’s local food economy.

The app will complement resources Hope & Main already offers food entrepreneurs who grow their businesses in the former school house on Main Street in Warren.

“We are witnessing major disruption in the food industry, and Crave Food Systems is at the leading edge of an important trend: shortening the supply chain in food retailing,” said Lisa Raiola, founder and president of Hope & Main. “Amazon is certainly the best example of this, but has offered no path for local producers … this app puts the power of purchasing local directly into the hands of the consumer. We love that it will connect Hope & Main makers to the consumers who are seeking their products at farmers markets across the state.”

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The nonprofit Hope & Main offers resources, community events, farmers markets and trade shows to help local food producers connect with retail and wholesale consumers. The app will amplify this approach, said Raiola, connecting eaters with local foods and providing a powerful e-commerce tool for the entrepreneurs producing the food.

“Partnerships between food businesses like these are part of what makes Rhode Island’s food economy so vibrant and innovative,” Sue AnderBois, director of food strategy for the state of Rhode Island, said in a press release.

The app can be downloaded for both iOS and Android.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributor.