CHICAGO—FarmLogix has launched Open Fields, a software platform that enables foodservice operations to more easily source and report on sustainable ingredients and purchases.
“Open Fields helps a broad range of institutions in foodservice, health care, higher education, retail and hospitality to meet growing consumer demand for local and sustainable food,” said Linda Mallers, president & CEO, FarmLogix. “We are the first logistics–enabled platform to provide a B2B solution with full B2B2C tools to engage dining patrons. Chefs today currently search for local and sustainable items by sifting through their distributor’s inventory, visiting farmers markets personally, or having direct farm relationships with delivery to the door.”
Open Fields was developed to address the consumer’s need for transparency in knowing where their food comes from.
“These methods began the local foods movement, but scaling to create true impact demands more,” said Mallers. “Open Fields provides the ability to search and create lists of available products by what is important to them and their patrons, while Aggrega8 provides the commerce engine to bring together chefs in a region to procure together. The result is pricing efficiencies for participating chefs and scaled volume for local farms.”
Here’s how it works: The company’s Aggrega8 e-commerce platform creates regional sourcing systems that allow chefs to order produce, meats, cheeses and other items from local farms and know the source of the farm, as well as the mileage to their location, at time of order. The orders are delivered and billed by existing distributor relationships.
“Orders include marketing content to enhance the dining experience, such as photos, farm bios and video. All transactions become part of the FarmLogix Open Fields, the industry’s largest searchable database of local and sustainable foods,” she said. “Open Fields provides a fully customizable experience where chefs can search for products by mileage, farm and their distributor’s inventory, as well as by more than 85 sustainable attributes for produce, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy and coffee. Hotel groups can run reporting and analytics on a nationwide basis. The goal of FarmLogix is to provide its turnkey platform to the hospitality industry to measure its impact on local farming communities.”
FarmLogix began as a farm-to-chef platform and serviced Avendra accounts such as Hyatt and Marriott in the Chicago area for three years.
“Since then we have become the enterprise solution for Aramark, providing metrics and analytics on its sustainability as an organization,” she said. “Its use of Open Fields includes the search engine for local and sustainable program design and sourcing by their supply chain teams, the ability to run enterprise metrics to measure sustainability, but also the unique ability for each individual Aramark location to run custom metrics on their own programs.”
What’s next for FarmLogix? Currently, the company offers sourcing and reporting programs throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England and Texas. Next year, they will offer services in California and the Southeast.
“As someone who travels quite a bit to meet with chefs and farmers, and therefore is a frequent hotel diner, a successful program results from transparent sourcing. Yet dining patrons’ definitions of local and sustainable are as unique as fingerprints, and meeting individualized consumer needs poses enormous sourcing complexity,” she said. “Our Open Fields platform transparently identifies products that meet these custom needs, and provides the ability to aggregate chef demand by region to bring the price efficiency needed to put more local and sustainable foods on the plate. It is when chefs procure collaboratively that they provide maximum economic impact to farming communities. FarmLogix is in a position to measure what hotel chefs, as a group, put into local economies nationally and by region, and that would definitely be right within our wheelhouse to bring to the hospitality industry.”