business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Good piece in the Portland Business Journal about Milk Run, a new company that is seeking to help the troubled small farmer community, using the slogan, “rad farmers equals a rad future.”

According to the story, founder Julia Niiro, herself a farmer, conceived of the idea while driving her truck to Portland, when she realized that she was passing the homes of people who eventually would be eating her food; she also was painfully aware that 90 percent of farmers in the US are struggling, 85 percent are 65 years old or older, and that small farms are being overtaken by big companies.

“MilkRun connects local farm food to Portland customers through a grocery-delivery service,” the Journal writes. “Since MilkRun came out of beta in December 2018, the company has over 3,500 online sign-ups and completes over 500 deliveries per month — a 300 percent increase in monthly revenue from when they started … Customers can purchase locally made food — such as baked-fresh-to-order bread, dairy products, meat and vegetables — on MilkRun’s website. The farmers then drive the produce to one of three MilkRun micro-depots in Portland and make deliveries to coolers on customers’ doorsteps.”

The story says that “MilkRun plans to soon expand to Seattle for a pilot program. They’re also looking to bring the service to Austin, Detroit and Denver in the next few years.”

Niiro says her goal is simple - to make “buying direct from local farmers as easy as shopping on Amazon, but with the impact and quality of the farmers market.”

I know this isn’t exactly a new concept, but I like it a lot, and Portland in so many ways seems like an ideal market for it to work. It is a place where people seem to like as thin a layer as possible between the farm and the fork, and it has a vital farmers market culture.

I’m looking forward to testing it out when I get to Portland in about a week for my annual Portland State University adjunctivity. I think it’ll be an Eye-Opener.
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