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Know your farmer, know your food.
The message is quite simple and a new website recently launched in Kelowna is offering that service to not just locals in the Okanagan, but to people around the globe.
Soil Mate was created by Matt Gomez who wanted to create something bigger and more interactive than just a regular directory that connects consumers with local farmers, raisers and producers.
“I wanted to provide a system for regular people who just want to make some good choices, support their local community and make it ultra-convenient to find that,” says Gomez.
Photo Credit: Soil Mate
The site uses your computer’s IP address, or you can plug in a search, to connect you with farms, markets and wineries that are within a 100 mile radius of you.
The neat thing about the site is it offers a breakdown of specifics. For example, you can look for certified organic farms or a certain crop or produce. Plus it shows items that currently in season or when they will be ready to harvest.
“Soil Mate shows only the items that are available in our area; you don’t get shown anything that isn’t available. If you want to look for something specific you can do that as well but if you just want to see what is available at this time, what is grown or being raised, you can use it that way as well.”
Photo Credit: Soil Mate
The site is also convenient for tourists who want to shop local or are interested in building trips.
“It’s an area that hasn’t been very well served up until now,” says Gomez. “It works anywhere in the world.”
Currently, Soil Mate is loaded with farmers, wineries and markets in seven Canadian provinces and 15 U.S. states but the goal is to continue to grow and include those overseas.
The site launched a couple of months and Gomez used farmers to make sure what was being offered, worked efficiently for them.
Photo Credit: Facebook
“We started with a core group of farmers for feedback. They were ultra-honest and not too tech savvy, so it was a good perspective to get what does and doesn’t work for them.”
“Whenever we have spoken to farmers about this and they create their profile, they lose their minds over it. They love it. It covers everything. The older farmers even love it which was a worry for us.”
The cost to join: just a half hour to an hour of your time to create a profile.