Farm Brigge connects farmers, eaters, farm workers and farmer's markets through an online platform full of educational resources and communication and marketing tools. Right now, there are thousands of farmers, farmer markets, eaters and more than 500 farmer's markets participating in this thriving online community. We recently had a chance to interview co-founder Troy Rice about the story behind Farm Brigge and its many angles. Thank you for joining our Business Allies program, Farm Brigge!
Certified Naturally Grown (CNG): How did Farm Brigge get started?
My wife, Tiffany, and I started Farm Brigge because we believe in the value of local food, local economies, and the strength of communities committed to health.
After deciding to educate our kids on knowing where their food comes from and challenging the ingredients in packaged food, we began exploring how we can help other parents provide the same education for their kids.
We began having discussions with other parents about local farms, farmers markets and reading labels, sharing interesting information such as how many packaged foods contain food dyes, which, through our own research, we discovered can alter the behavior of a child’s neural network.
With a mission to advance our cause, we started developing relationships with local organizations who shared similar missions and visions around local food.
After 6-8 months of research and learning, we designed an online farmers market model in Michigan in 2019 that would span across 22 farmers markets and support over 65 local farms and food producers.
Throughout our journey, we spent most of our time at the kitchen tables of farms learning how we can help. This led us to pivot our business of creating a local ecosystem of locally grown, healthy food towards a vision of maintaining long term health through sustainable local economic systems across the world.
CNG: What are Farm Brigge’s core values?
We believe in helping those who spend tireless days in the soil growing and raising nutrient-dense foods for us to lead healthier lives.
We believe that everyone should know where their food comes from.
We believe in creating environments that cultivate educational food journeys for our youth, teaching them to know their local farmers, consume foods that are nutrient dense, and inspire them and others to lead healthier lives surrounded by the people they love and support.
How did you make the decision to support CNG as a Business Ally?
Our goal is to support organizations with similar missions. We became a business Ally of CNG because we wanted to help an organization focused on providing value to the farming community. We think CNG helps create educational opportunities for consumers to appreciate how their food is grown or raised.
CNG: What are some exciting developments at Farm Brigge our CNG community can look forward to?
Farm Brigge has created an ecosystem for creating micro-communities around local food. Our new platform provides services for farms, farm workers, farmers markets and local consumers, all of which help build a community around local food and cultivate opportunities for food literacy programs for todays youth and generations to come. Lastly, we are building relationships with organizations focused on local food policy implementation, including the Center for Good Food Purchasing. Policy implementation is an area we believe is a 'must' for building and sustaining system in the community around local food.
CNG: If you had a magic agricultural wand, how would you use it to improve farm systems in North America?
Farm Brigge believes that the economics of large-scale farming has contributed to low-nutrient quality food and subpar growing practices, which not only affects the economics of small farms producing high-quality foods, but also the health of our children.
Therefore, we believe the best approach to improving farm systems begins with the foundational level of education, beginning at a young age, and, a consistent practice of the learning cycle—teach, learn, teach.
CNG: Is there anything else CNG farmers and beekeepers should know?
Every day, we strive towards perfection as a community of people focused on sharing the importance of local food. Because we know our expertise exists within certain boundaries, we believe in leveraging years of practice from others to build the best educational journey possible.
As such, we have created an online resource of educational tools, in which most of the concepts and practices are shared and created by other farmers and knowledgeable business professionals.
We invite all farmers and beekeepers to consider checking out our Farm Sustainability Course Program. And, if interested, share their practices with others, by creating their own educational course materials for other farms and beekeepers across the world to access. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about this opportunity which they can also access through their dashboard on our platform.