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Ordering local food through social networks

14.07.2016

Social networks are becoming more and more popular, but did you know that you can even use them to order local, fresh fruit and vegetables? It has become possible thanks to a network of Finnish volunteers called REKO using Facebook to organize the deliveries of local products directly from farmer to consumer.

 Origin of the project

Thomas Snellman is the coordinator of the Finnish local food network REKO, he got his idea when he visited an “Association pour le maintien d’une agriculture paysanne” (AMAP) in France in 2012. AMAPs are associations supporting small farming through vegetable box schemes for example. The concept of REKO is that local producers use Facebook groups to announce which products are available and the customers can then directly order on Facebook. REKO aims to get rid of sales intermediates while creating an efficient delivery system where local producers and consumers meet. REKO was launched in 2013 and already has about 150 circles all over Finland with more than 200 000 consumers involved and 500 new ones every day.

How does it work?

Farmers use Facebook groups to announce which products they have available at what price and customers can make an order directly on the Facebook post. Although in the beginning, consumers had to order two months in advance, the system is now much more flexible because farmers only post on Facebook what is available to them. Customers pick up and pay for their order at a local marketplace, usually centrally located in urban areas.

There is no formal organization behind each REKO group, so no administrative costs involved. The administrators of the Facebook groups are volunteers, and the delivery points are strategically chosen so that no rents are involved. Some supermarkets even offer free space for the local REKO groups, to attract customers.

Benefits for producers and consumers

The system provides advantages for both producers and consumers.

The consumers are showing a growing concern about knowing where their food comes from and also supporting their local farmers. With REKO, consumers can be in direct contact with the grower and ask him about his production methods. Moreover, the products are seasonal, locally produced food (which sometimes means unusual varieties), and sold at a minimal price because there is no unnecessary packaging, transport, advertising nor middlemen.

The producers have direct contact with the consumer so they can receive feedback from them about their products and production methods. In addition, waste is reduced to almost nothing as farmers only harvest and bring what has been ordered.

This practice could be implemented in agricultural mountain areas.

For more information, please visit this page

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14 July 2016

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