Amazon will do almost anything to grow its business—and these days, it will also do anything to try to get you to forget about recent allegations that working for the company is a little bit like being in a prison. The latest effort has the company becoming your digital farmers market.
Called Farmers Market Direct, the program is a partnership with Fresh Nation, and has launched in southern California, with plans to expand to other cities. It promises to bring you farm fresh fruits and vegetables within 36 hours of harvest, much like what’s offered at local farmers markets.
The program works like a CSA box (community-supported agriculture), where for $39 or $59, you can order a basket with an assortment of fresh produce. But unlike a CSA, which typically requires a time-frame commitment, Farmers Market Direct doesn’t require repeat purchases.
“It’s the brainchild of former techie Tony Lee, who took a break from a career in e-commerce to manage a farmers market in his hometown of Danbury, Conn., and then fell in love with the business,” reports the Los Angeles Times:
“The thing that I learned was that oftentimes the vendors weren’t making enough money to keep going,” Lee says. “I became very friendly with a lot of them and I grew to appreciate how passionate they were about their business. They are amazing people.
“But because farmers markets are only open for a few hours a week, there wasn’t enough time for people who want fresh local food to get it.
“Making fresh local food more available to more people on the one hand and on the other bringing more business to these small farmers and food producers — that’s our mission,” he says. “We want to get millions of people eating fresh local food and having access to it every day.”
And that’s certainly not a bad thing, especially since many Angelinos still don’t have supermarkets or farmers markets in their neighborhoods. It’s also filling a gap left behind by the recent Good Eggs implosion earlier this month.
But is it enough to replace trips to local farmers markets? Hopefully not. Even if it is supporting local growers and giving consumers easier access to fresh food, we’re more connected to what we eat when we can roll our fingers around a fresh tomato, tap a melon, or smell a bunch of parsley, before deciding it’s the right food for us. We need these visceral experiences, perhaps now more than ever, to reconnect us with our farmers and our food.
And Farmers Market Direct is certainly not going to make people forget about the issues with Amazon’s work environment. That’s news that will hover for a long time, and certainly ruin a few appetites.
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