It seems I’m not the only Captain Planet groupie. Josh Weinstein wrote a blog post on The Huffington Post website in May titled, Captain Planet, Empedocles, and lessons on Entrepreneurship. It’s a smart piece that illuminates the entrepreneurial components of the Captain Planet TV show.
Josh, you are my hero.
As we all know and love, Captain Planet was a cartoon series about green entrepreneurship and preservation– highlighting the importance of both individual initiative and international cooperation.
Entrepreneurship, especially green entrepreneurship, seems to have gained momentum in agriculture lately.
Silicon Valley is going back to its roots.
Plus, the number of Investments in U.S. venture-backed ag and forestry startups is on the rise.
At the same time, consumers are thinking about food more and more.
Here are a few online startups that I’m digging right now. They all relate to food to some degree and, whether you’re a local foodie or not, we can applaud their innovative ideas.
Users can search for local food (based on product or place of sale) in varying distances from their home.
Why it’s smart: You can actually purchase the food online. Consumers select what food they want, receive a purchase order, and then go to the farmers’ market or farm to pick up the product. It’s a piece of cake.
Bonus Points: The founder is a UW-Madison alum.
FarmsReach is an online marketplace that brings together farmers and business buyers. It’s like Local Dirt for businesses.
Why it’s smart: Most marketplaces target the individual consumer, but this site helps larger volume buyers track down food sources.
Bonus Points: The About Us section of the company’s website reads, “In all that we do, we value collaboration and transparency in the growing community of nonprofits, government agencies, and private businesses seeking solutions for healthy food systems.” I really appreciate their willingness to collaborate. That’s something we need more of in agriculture.
Looking for local food? Type in your zip code and Real Time Farms will search for farmers’ markets, farms and restaurants that locally source food near you.
Why it’s smart: The site crowd sources information about local food and farmers’ markets. Since users are also contributors, it’s more likely people will engage with the content and come back to the site. The individual pages for farms, farmers’ markets, and local restaurants are also incorporated into one map (hallelujah!). As consumers search for more transparency from local restaurants, I see huge potential for the restaurant portion of the site.
Bonus points: The website is absolutely gorgeous. A+
Users complete challenges, post a picture or statement describing how they completed the challenge, and receive a reward from the business that sponsored the challenge. Not all of the challenges relate to agriculture, but there have been ones related to farmers markets and eating healthy foods.
Why it’s smart: It’s like coupons, but more engaging. People actually have to do something to get the rebate or the freebie. And the cool thing is that the challenge is usually pretty general, so there’s really little reason not to play along. It’s motivation at its best.
Bonus points: “Do good. Get rewarded.” What a refreshing, down-to-earth tagline.