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May 17, 2021

Portland-based Forager raises $4M to expand tech-enabled local food sales channels

David Stone Photo / Tim Greenway David Stone, founder and CEO of Forager, says inflation will need to be reckoned with this year.

Forager, the Portland-based developer of an app that connects local food producers and sellers, has raised $4 million, which it will use to build sales channels and for product development.

The funding was led by Duncan Saville of ICM Limited, an international fund managing more than $2 billion, and Coastal Enterprises Inc., the Brunswick-based community development financial institution, according to a Forager news release.

The lead investor said he sees Forager as a market opportunity, with local food allowing grocers to rebuild foot traffic in their stores while securing the loyalty of consumers.

“I invested in Forager for two reasons, first this is a $40 billion fast growing market that is largely analog and in desperate need for technology so it can scale and be data driven,” Saville said. "Second, the majority of people I know are interested in buying more sustainably sourced products, especially at the local level. This is an important market trend that cannot be ignored and is critical to the future health of our planet.” 

David Stone, Forager's founder and chairman, said without technology the local-food industry cannot grow.

"In all my years as a serial tech entrepreneur, I have never seen a market sector with so much passion and commitment as local food among consumers and especially Gen Z," he said. "Without technology, the industry cannot scale and expand, end of story. Forager offers a vital solution to building a scalable, local food supply chain that can deliver the freshest quality items to consumers."

The app, which has been available since 2017, connects food producers directly to stores, reducing distribution headaches and putting more local ingredients on the shelves. Forager and its users say it saves time and costs for grocers, co-ops, farmers, producers, and other local food buyers and sellers.

It also expands the ability of the two ends of the food chain to connect. The proprietary system finds and vets new suppliers, which Forager said allows farmers and grocers to be doing business in a matter of hours.

Recently, Forager partnered with Massachusetts based Roche Bros. Supermarkets Inc. and Bashas’ Family of Stores across Arizona. The company now operates in over 12 states with more than 40 grocers and institutions, and 500 local suppliers.

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