What is Soil Mate?
Soilmate.com is a website that connects consumers with their local food and drink growers, raisers, producers, and supporters. It allows consumers to find specific growers and products, as well as stores and restaurants that support those local growers and carry/use their products. Using ‘My Route’ Soil Mate allows consumers to build trips to include farms, markets, stores, restaurants, wineries, craft breweries, and distilleries, including fully customized directions and itineraries. It is the full local food and drink movement in one system, all interlinked. Search for local food, filter by the farm growing practices, and find specific products, when they’re available, and where you can buy them. If sold from the farm, find the hours and directions. Sold at the market, the market profile is interlinked with the farm. Sold at local stores, the stores’ profiles are interlinked with the farm. Supported by local restaurants, the restaurants are interlinked with the farm. Everything ties back to the farm, and the hands and story behind the food. Consumers can see exactly how to conveniently buy local products. Soil Mate did extensive focus groups with consumers and found that while consumers want to support local producers (to varying degrees and for varied reasons), the biggest barrier was that it was inconvenient. Soil Mate was built to make finding and purchasing local products much more convenient.
Soil Mate is fully mobile responsive, which means it works on every device: desktop, tablet and mobile. No need to download platform specific apps or enlarge your screen to make sense of the site on your cell phone. Soil Mate displays a customized layout and user experience based on the resolution of the device you are using.
There are literally hundreds of farm directories in existence today, mostly serving their local communities, and with highly varied levels of usability and usefulness for consumers. Most are outdated and provide only limited information on the farm and some contact details. Most are useless to consumers wanting to make a convenient local choice. None of them allow you to go on your phone at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon, put in the products you need at that moment, and find which are locally available and where you can buy them at that moment. None of them allow you out-of-season to choose and find a grocery store that you know supports its local growers throughout the growing season, verified by the farmers. None of them allow you to find restaurants that truly support local farmers AND are verified by the farms that they actually support. None of them allow you to find food and drink locally, then travel anywhere else in the US or Canada and find local products there as well. None of them allow you to build tourism trips where you can add farms, markets, stores, restaurants, wineries, breweries, and distilleries to a trip itinerary. An itinerary that can be customized to the mode of transport you are using. It gives you the most direct driving routes; if cycling, it changes the routing to utilize bikes lanes, and even shows walking routes using sidewalks. All fully sharable through social media and even in print friendly display. No other site works in an optimized way for every device existing today, and that will exist tomorrow.
Soil Mate does all of these things and more.