Are you in the market for fresh, locally grown food? Robert Delgado has an app for that, and it will connect you to a virtual farmers market.
A software engineer by trade, Delgado has created Homegrown Market (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=juzadisgames.com.homegrownmarket).
“Homegrown Market is a virtual farmers market. The application provides a platform for users to buy, sell or exchange goods — such as eggs, honey, tomatoes, pickled products, baked goods, or any other kind of product that an individual has readily available,” he says.
One of the best aspects to Delgado’s app is that using it is free — whether you’re a farmer who wants to sell excess produce or a consumer looking for, say, fresh tomatoes.
An important fringe benefit
Another aspect is beneficial, too, especially to farmers and food vendors, Delgado notes. “I hope to see a decreasing amount of food and produce that goes to waste, and to open up new avenues so they can sell these goods and generate revenue.”
If you’re a consumer, using the app is as easy as 1-2-3: 1) Scroll through the market page to find items that interest you; 2) Click on an item to get more-detailed information, such as how far away the grower is (see graphic, left); 3) Make the seller an offer, send a message or ask what else is for sale.
The app benefits farmers, who can use it year-round to sell directly to consumers and avoid paying distributor’s fees. “A farmer can sell one item at a time, or in large bulk — depending on the needs of the individual,” the Melbourne resident explains.
Though he doesn’t have an agricultural background, he has long had an interest in gardening and in buying local goods and produce. And he does have at least some ag experience.
“My back yard consists of four egg-laying ducks. I also have four fruit trees, and I constantly grow vegetables and herbs,” he says. “I frequently attend farmers markets; that’s where I came up with the idea for Homegrown Market.”
An idea is born
While talking with local farmers and vendors, he soon realized there was not a good platform for them to use to market and sell their products. A farm’s website is useful only once the grower has established a customer following — it doesn’t work well for bringing in new customers.
Delgado began working on the app about six months ago and released it at the end of December 2017. He initially signed up farmers and vendors in Brevard County, where he lives. Then he targeted the Deltona/Daytona Beach area, as well as large Central Florida cities such as Orlando and Gainesville.
He has about 500 users now and says “We are seeing more daily downloads each week.” Eventually, he wants Homegrown Market to serve all of Florida. But his ambitions are even larger than the Sunshine State: “I want the application to become a household name and become the Craigslist for goods and produce.”
How Homegrown Market works
The built-in messaging system allows buyer and seller to communicate and to barter on an acceptable price for the goods being exchanged. If you receive an offer or a message from another user, you will receive a notification on your phone; you’ll also receive an email message sent to the address you provide when registering.
Using Homegrown Market costs nothing. So how does Delgado plan to finance his new venture, long-term? “Limited advertisements will be introduced to the application. Scrolling through items, you will eventually cross an ad. You can stop and click on it or continue right along, looking for other items.”