Janelle Maiocco: Unlocking New Markets for Locally Farmed Food
CEO & Founder, Farmstr, Inc.
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/janelle-maiocco/26/6a8/552
Twitter: @thefarmstrs, @janellemaiocco
Janelle is the CEO and Founder of Farmstr, an online marketplace connecting consumers with local farmers. The 42-year-old mother of two has been a trained chef, food blogger, urban farmer and food marketer, and in September 2013 she launched Farmstr.com—an Airbnb for local, sustainable food.
Innovating in Field of Work:
• Janelle is challenging the traditional and incumbent corporations that dominate our food distribution networks, with a direct to consumer marketplace for local, organic quality foods. She is radically shifting food discovery, access and purchase habits.
• The online marketplace allows small, sustainable farms (including Maiocco’s own urban farm in Wallingford) to sell clean, non-GMO foods directly to customers seeking a local source of high-quality produce, meats and dairy.
• Most goods are seasonal with participating farmers delivering to a host of drop sites around the city, where they often meet buyers in person. It’s all about the handshake, the relationship and the community building. Small growers, farmers, fishers, ranchers and even foragers can now eliminate the middleman, access a growing customers base and connect with people who care about the story behind their food. By facilitating mutual access and sales for local sustainable producers, Farmstr Inc. is positioning itself to become a “greater solution for the food system across the country.”
• Supporting small sustainable farms and practices and making better nutrition and clean non-GMO foods more accessible and affordable. According to Maiocco, farmers selling to grocery stores make an estimated 11–16 cents on the dollar, but Farmstr earns them as much as five times more. For small producers, this can be the difference between a livable wage and selling the farm.
• Two months after launching in September 2013, Farmstr took first place at the prestigious Northwest Entrepreneur Network’s First Look Forum.
Janelle is leading the charge as a female CEO, winning NWEN first look forum, pitching on stage at Women 2.0, securing VC financing and growing a sustainable business. She recently on-boarded female CTO Liz Hunt (another fantastic woman over 40). In October, Janelle will be speaking at the Seattle Interactive Conference.
Reinvention / Momentum:
• Building upon her agricultural roots (she grew up among farms), strategic marketing and food expertise, Janelle is applying all her learnings and domain expertise to launch Farmstr.
• While Farmstr Inc. is currently serving greater Seattle, she has plans to take Farmstr nationwide.
• Farmstr employs four people, works with 40+ farmers and 300+ customers—and those numbers are on the rise.
• For eight years Janelle authored her food blog, Talk of Tomatoes – another arena where she pushed her passion forward – and it earned her countless friendships, a rich food network across the country, impetus to go back to culinary school and opportunities to work with big food brands (sponsorships). Janelle has a master certificate in food preservation, taught at cooking schools, and is a member of the IACP and Chefs Collaborative.
“My tagline says it best: ‘Janelle is known to wield knives, pitchforks and martinis.’”