I am pleased to announce that today the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), in collaboration with the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), has launched the MassGrown Exchange online platform to link food system channels and help facilitate business-to-business connections within the local food system for products and services.
When COVID-19 hit in earnest in March of this year, I was deeply concerned about a market and supply chain collapse for fish, seafood, and shellfish. Realizing that shuttered restaurants would be demanding less food from our fishermen, coupled with grocery stores stocking less fish, seafood, and shellfish due to a downturn in the economy, I had reached out to Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, to ask if the state could create an “interface” to match fishermen to consumers.
At the same time, my colleagues in the western part of Massachusetts joined the discussion to ask for something similar for local farmers. Finding ourselves in a predicament familiar to both our districts, Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and I teamed up with Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury), Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito to brainstorm about how to meet this challenge for fishermen and farmers.
After months of meetings, I am proud that in a bipartisan, bicameral, legislative and executive branch effort, we were able to work together to make state government work for harvesters of the sea and the land.
The platform was created to support the Massachusetts food system, which has been severely impacted by COVID-19. It will connect Commonwealth agriculture and seafood businesses, such as farms and fisheries, with buyers, including grocery stores, restaurants, and food banks.
Who is the platform for?
The platform is open to businesses looking to sell and purchase Massachusetts products and services, including:
- Farmers, fishers, specialty food producers with wholesale products to sell to restaurants, grocery stores, and other outlets.
- Buyers (including supermarkets, institutions, schools, food banks, restaurants, and retail outlets) looking for local food products.
- Farmers, fishers, specialty food producers searching for equipment or services, such as storage and distribution.
- Service and equipment providers working with businesses in the food system.
What are the key features?
The MassGrown Exchange assists farmers, fishers, food buyers, and agricultural related businesses to connect, exchange, and find products and services. Key features include:
- Simple registration process: Buyers and suppliers are only required to register when adding a listing. Registration is not required to browse listings.
- Businesses can act as buyer and supplier: a business can act as a buyer and a supplier depending on whether they are looking for or looking to provide a product or service.
- User notifications: This feature eliminates the need for businesses to re-visit the site to check for new listings. If a business creates a listing or alert, the system automatically notifies a business when the product/service becomes available.
- Automatic listing expiration: Listings expire after an end date specified by the user. A notification is sent with the option to remove or extend the listing.
Visit https://massnrc.org/farmexchange to access the platform and learn more.