Portland has long been lauded for its farmers markets, but in February, the city welcomed a new high-tech tool to bring large-scale, farm-fresh foods to city hospitals, public schools, corporate cafeterias — even Oregon state prisons. Think of FoodHub as the Match.com for the locavore movement. Wholesale food buyers log on to access thousands of small and regional producers, as well as info on varietals sold, minimum orders, insurance, and delivery options. Launched by environmental not-for-profit Ecotrust, FoodHub has already signed on hundreds of Portland restaurants, grocery stores, and businesses and expanded to neighboring states. In March, it registered 32 of Bon Appétit Management's food service accounts, including Adidas, Amazon, Nordstrom, and the Seattle Art Museum. "This is not a tool for the precious," says Deborah Kane, Ecotrust's VP of food and farms. "It's showing people committed to strengthening the local food community what's out there."
A version of this article appeared in the May 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.