Published Apr 15, 2011

Local Dirt

By Patrick Burke

Are you a farmer looking to sell directly to consumers, grocery stores, co-ops, and buying clubs? Or are you a locavore looking to purchase more food from local producers? Either way, Local Dirt might be the answer for you.

Launched in 2009, Local Dirt is a nationwide website that connects food producers with local customers.

Buyers can search for particular foods (“spinach”), practices (“grass fed”), or farms within a specified distance from their location. Farms that match the search criteria pop up on a map, and you can click through to see products and prices. When you’re ready, placing an order is easy — Just choose your pickup date and pay using Google Checkout.

It’s easy for sellers, too. Farms of all sizes, distributors, co-ops, and farmers’ markets just need to create a profile page with their products, quantities, and prices. You can choose whether to be pickup-only, or to set delivery dates. After that, it’s only a matter of waiting for local buyers to place orders. Local Dirt itself does not take a cut of the sales, so all the profits go to the sellers.

Local Dirt is free for individual buyers, small farms (pickup only), farmers’ markets, and buying clubs. Farms that wish to deliver, distributors, and farm co-ops would ordinarily have to pay an annual fee ($360-720 per year), but for a limited time that fee has been waived — So there’s really no reason not to give it a shot!

At least one PFI Farm (Pin Oak Place at Rosmann Family Farms) is already selling on Local Dirt — Let us know in the comments if you are too.