The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Client Spotlight: Field Goods, LLC
Delivering Hudson Valley and regionally sourced seasonal produce and food products directly to corporate and public pick up locations throughout New Yok, Connecticut and New Jersey each week, Field Goods, LLC is a unique subscription based service with a mission to support small farms and promote wellness. Founded in 2011 delivering fresh locally grown produce to just 20 locations in the Capital District area, with approximately 32 clients, Field Goods has grown to over 700 locations in three states, with over 6,000 clients and this year made its first appearance on the Inc. 5000 list. Based in Athens, New York, the company purchases from over 80 small farms that practice sustainable farming, employs 32, and supports countless local non-profit organizations’ fundraising efforts as they serve as public pick up locations.
Field Goods clients have the option of four different sized bags, plus access to an online ‘pantry’ for additional items, and may select weekly or bimonthly delivery. Subscribers can turn their deliveries on or off at any time, and have the ability to customize their own selections. Many of the public pick up locations are non-profits such as local libraries, which can use the service as a fundraiser, receiving a small fee for each client delivery. Single size bags start at $16 and range to large family bags at $32.
Donna Williams, Field Goods founder, has been working with HVADC since starting the company. Williams says that HVADC is an enormous resource and advocate for the farming community, both large and small farms, as well as for companies like Field Goods. Through the years, HVADC has supported Field Goods on grant writing projects, offering statements of support, and providing general business counseling. Field Goods has received grants from Greene County Economic Development, the New York State Capital Region Economic Development Council competition, and the USDA for its work to support agriculture and create jobs in an economically disadvantaged area. Field Goods’ involvement with HVADC is a two-way street. Earlier this year Williams spoke to the HVADC Farm and Food Business Accelerator (FFBA) Peer group, many of which she purchases from, to discuss market opportunities, and spoke in conjunction with HVADC at this year’s National Farm Viability Conference.
While Field Goods’ reach is now far wider than the Hudson Valley, according to Mary Ann Johnson, Projects Director for HVADC, “It is important for HVADC to work with companies like Field Goods who support the local and regional food supply chain and who provide access to fresh, nutritional food to those who geographically or economically would not have such access.”
As the only company of its kind in the Northeast, Field Goods allows consumers to experience small farm produce without having to make time in their schedules to travel to all the farms to gather the food, and it makes tremendous efforts to introduce new foods and cooking techniques to their clients. Weekly e-newsletters and flyers in each bag tout health tips, recipes and educational pieces about various ‘lesser known’ produce items in the bags. The company’s mission statement reads, in part, “Our mission is to open the floodgates for the flow of local food by delivering food of superior taste, freshness, and nutritional value to our customers and to be a good partner to our farmers.”
According to Williams, “Field Goods takes a measured approach to looking at some of the significant issues impacting the farming community.” The efforts range from encouraging consumers to select a more plant-based diet, which can decrease food-related greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70%, to working with sustainable farms and farmers to help them get the most of their harvest, therefore reducing food waste. With Field Goods ordering direct from the farmer, not requiring culling for imperfections – as some big retailers do, allows the farmer to sell more produce and have less waste. They also contract grow so the farmer is not growing more of a particular food item than is needed. They also work very hard to keep their own food waste to a minimum. By ordering only what is needed for the week’s deliveries they are able to keep the company’s food waste to less than 4%, though Williams estimates it’s now closer to 2%.
Field Goods’ commitment to communities extends beyond its purchasing practices and working with local non-profits. In 2016, the company was recognized with the 2106 Statewide National Disability Employment Awareness Month Award for hiring workers with disabilities. And, in an effort to emphasize wellness throughout the community Field Goods launched their Food Pantry Donation Program in early November. The program collects subscribers’ donations for fresh produce and delivers the produce to The Food Pantries for the Capital District. It is a simple process of either logging into an existing Field Goods account or creating a new account, selecting “Food Pantry Products” for the category and placing an order. Delivery is handled by Field Goods. “The genesis of the program is that a wonderful corporate partner asked us to help provide their employees with a way to donate produce to the Greater Albany food pantries this holiday season, so we invented the Food Pantry Donation Program, Williams explained. The Food Pantries for the Capital District Executive Director Natasha Pernicka has said that “Pantries strive to provide fresh produce. This partnership will enable us to increase the amount going directly to those in need. It is a simple and straightforward way for employers and their teams to make a direct impact in their own community.”
Individual wellness is not the only options that Field Goods offers. Williams says “if we can get more big companies to participate in the program it would have a profound impact on farming in the region. For every 500 customers participating in Field Goods, the food need is enough to fund a single farm for a year.” The farms are not the only beneficiaries of the participation however. Field Goods would like to work with companies, big and small, to help them make it easier for their employees to adopt healthier choices. They currently have two programs that do just that. The first, Office Delivery, is a no cost, no fuss program for employers to support a culture of wellness and environmental responsibility within the organization. Employers establish their location as a pick-up site, tell the employees about the program, and Field Goods handles the rest. Employees sign up for deliveries of the best bag size to fit their household needs, and Field Goods delivers right to the office.
The second option is a program called Beet Camp: A ten week program through which employers can contribute to each participating employee’s bag order– up to 100% of the cost, if they so choose. Employees commit to eight deliveries during the ten week period. The employer contribution reduces the price of delivery serving as motivation for participation and healthier living.
Field Goods is a certified New York State Women-owned Business. For more information on how you can sign up for Field Goods visit their website at www.field-goods.com.
For more information on how HVADC assists farms and food businesses, please visit www.hvadc.org.