The internet is full of so much information. It's hard to fathom how much can be found online. Yet that doesn't mean all information is easily accessible. One thing that was seen lacking by the founders of Real Time Farms, Karl Rosaen and Cara Rosaen was a real time source of where our food is coming from. There are websites out there that have farm information, but many of them are out of date. They are definitely not real time. It's a challenge to keep up with all the farms across the country. So, Real Time Farms came up with the concept of having a site where people from Maine to California can freely submit information. They launched the site to the public just over a year ago and it has grown by leaps and bounds. They have recruited others to help in the project including web designers, bloggers, marketers, and even summer college interns.
This morning, I got a chance to sit down with co-founder Cara, and Gastronomic Guru, Lindsay-Jean Hard. Lindsey joined up after a trip to Japan and her struggle to find vegeterian options. She said that it was hard to determine what contained seafood and what didn't. So when her college friend, Cara told her about starting Real Times Farms, she was all aboard. It is difficult to know where our food comes from. There isn't a lot of transparency out there. You don't see McDonald's showcasing every step of where their food comes from. Real Times Farms is out to change that. One of the main features of the site, is listing restaurant menus with links to information on the farms their ingredients come from. Restaurants that sign up for this program are able to showcase to their customers and potential customers where they are getting their beef for that burger from, or the lettuce for that salad. Real Times Farms wants to see this movement spread to restaurants all over the country. Hopefully over time the public will begin demanding this information and the larger restaurants will desire to participate.
One of the reasons I like Real Times Farms is that they are the only website I know where you can search for a farmer's market by an address, region, or zipcode and you can get a map pinpointing where each market is. The information is not complete, but as more people get on board with the idea, the information will be more complete. Even after a year, I find the site to be more useful. I just happen to live in the area where the website began so there is a lot of information in my region.
Real Times Farms has spend much of the last year concentrating on building their resturant presence as this is their source of revenue. They have plenty of other ideas to expand the site, they have list of them a mile long. They gave me a few hints without spilling all the beans. One particular feature they would like to see is including grocery stores on the site, so people can better know where the food they are buying in the store is coming from. I for one, I am all for that. I am currently in the midst of trying to trace back where some peaches I just purchased came from, so I can determine the exact variety. It has taken a lot of searching to come up with any hints. But with a feature like that on Real Time Farms, it wouldn't have to be like a search for buried treasure.
Get behind the movement! Visit their site. Add your photos from your journeys to farmer's markets and farms. Buy a t-shirt or two. Add a link to your own website. Give involved, so that knowing where you food comes from will be as easy to find as updating your facebook status.