The shorter the chain between raw food and fork, the fresher it is and the more transparent the system is.” – Joel Salatin


Our Vision

At Square Harvest, our vision is to create a network of farmers, buyers, and shippers in Dane County via an online local foods market. We imagine a simple, flexible system that makes conscientious shopping convenient, and promotes access to local food for all. Square Harvest helps create a local food economy where farmers can make a profit, small businesses thrive, and everyone is able to eat well. Fair and square.

How it Works

The idea behind Square Harvest is simple. Farmers, artisanal bakers, cheese makers, and other local producers list their products online. Customers choose products that fit their tastes and preferences. We don't charge membership or transaction fees, it is easy for buyers to purchase only what they will use, when they will use it, saving money, and eliminating waste. Farmers bring produce to a central location, and we deliver to customer homes. Most food in the grocery changes hands five to seven times on its way between farmer and consumer. On Square Harvest, direct connections between farmers, shippers, and buyers in the same community have shortened that supply chain to one. Low food miles mean produce maintains the incredible taste, freshness, and nutrition that is the hallmark of local food.

Finances on Square Harvest are transparent and simple, and 97% of all proceeds stay right here, in Dane County. Currently, farmers receive just 16% of the profit generated from their products at grocery stores. On Square Harvest, 82% of every dollar spent goes directly to the farmer. Another 10% supports local delivery businesses, 3% goes to credit card transaction fees, and 5% allows us to continue operating Square Harvest (percentages are approximate).


Highlights

Why you’ll love it

The vision and principles behind Square Harvest have positive outcomes all sectors of the local food economy, with benefits for buyers, farmers, shippers, and the surrounding environment.

Square Harvest improves accessibility to local food for buyers with busy or non-traditional schedules by making it possible to shop at any time. Home delivery eliminates time spent commuting to the store or market, and makes local shopping possible for those without reliable transportation. This means more people with access to nutritious food at its peak freshness.

Square Harvest helps buyers shop on a budget by making it simple to compare prices and view total cost before purchasing. Because we don't charge membership or transaction fees, it is easy for buyers to purchase only what they will use, when they will use it, saving money, and eliminating waste. We also help buyers use produce efficiently by linking products with relevant recipes.

Square Harvest benefits local farmers by offering a short supply chain with prices that are fair, transparent, and consistent. Farmers set their own market prices and receive a high percentage of the total sale.

Square Harvest gives local farmers and producers a means to reach out to new customers, without worrying about additional time spent marketing or delivering produce. This market has the capacity to reach thousands of new customers, while still supporting farmers and producers who work on a small scale.

Square Harvest gives local shippers and delivery people a new opportunity to participate in the food system by connecting them with both farmers and buyers. We ensure that local shippers are paid a fair wage for their services.

Square Harvest ensures that food travels only a short distance from farmer to buyer. While most food in the grocery has traveled for more than two weeks, products on Square Harvest are delivered on the day they are harvested or produced.

Square Harvest helps protect the natural environment by giving more people the opportunity to invest in local food that is sustainably produced, with the well being of the land in mind.

At Square Harvest, each item clearly shows where and how it was grown or prepared, making it easy for buyers to make informed decisions about their food. We make it easy to find out what's in season, and what's coming up next week.

By creating open, simple connections between farmers, buyers, and shippers in the Madison area, Square Harvest is growing a local food economy that helps people invest in their health, and the health of their community.

Principles

We believe in an open food system, built on connections between farmers and eaters. At Square Harvest, farmers tell their stories, and offer information about their growing practices and philosophies. Shoppers can connect directly with the farmers who grow their food, and the shippers who deliver it.

We believe in the power of the local food economy. All of our vendors are located in Dane County, and our shippers are local businesses and individuals. Food arrives within a day of harvest or production, at its peak freshness and nutrition. Local foods help eaters invest in their neighbor's health, and their own.

We believe in fair prices for both producer and consumer. We keep costs low by not charging any registration or monthly membership fees.

We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in the local food system. An online marketplace allows people with busy or non-traditional schedules to shop for fresh, nutritious foods at any time, and delivery adds convenience for both buyers and sellers.

We believe in an open financial system, in which buyers have the right to know exactly where their money is going. Shortening the supply chain means that our finances are simple, and more money stays in the community.

We believe that conscientious shopping should be simple. We make it easy for buyers to find information about local food, and choose products that are meaningful to them.