Game Changers: Nait Jones Helps Farmers Connect with Top Chefs
Name: Nait Jones
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
What he does: AgLocal makes it easier for farmers across the country to sell meat to restaurants in New York City. AgLocal screens farmers for quality and humane/sustainable practices and invites the best of the best to post available meat on the company’s Web portal. Chefs review the information from the farmers, purchase meat, and AgLocal coordinates delivery. “AgLocal is building a multi-sided e-commerce platform that works on the inter-dependencies between family farms, distributor purveyors and restaurants to create a seamless and more efficient market," Jones says. The website also simplifies the ordering, invoicing and reordering process for both the farmers and the chefs.
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How he got started: As the farm-to-fork movement grew, Jones saw an opportunity to fix what was becoming a bigger challenge for chefs—namely, the need to source food that was more in line with the farm-to-fork trend—and to help farmers. Since his wife's relatives are farmers and several members of his own family are chefs, he understood both sides of the problem. A little over a year ago, Jones dropped out of corporate life and decided to tackle the problem of the meat supply process between restaurants and farms. “I rolled into Silicon Valley, pitched future founders, press, employees and investors on the idea, all the while signing up customers for our alpha product."
Why he’s a game changer: "Currently the farm-to-fork process is very fragmented and inefficient. If we succeed, we can create an efficient and transparent Web-based exchange, that to date doesn't exist on the Web,” Jones says. “We believe that we will even expand the market in new ways once that happens.” Additionally, smaller farms selling products now have the opportunity to have their meat in top-tier restaurants that they would not have had access to otherwise.
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What's next: Jones' immediate plans are to increase the base of New York City chefs and the farms that sell meat to the restaurants. The company is also planning to launch into two new markets in near future. “Our long term-goal is to go beyond even meat," Jones says, "and eventually we will become the most widely used and most valuable Internet-based food company."
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Jennifer Goforth Gregory is a journalist with over 17 years professional writing experience. Jennifer blogs via Contently.com.
Photo: Brooke Bryand