Americans tend to take the “you are what you eat” adage to heart. An increased emphasis on a healthy, ecologically responsible diet has made many people give more thought to how their food is sourced and what actually happens to it before it gets to their plates. The farm-to-table movement has made a big impact throughout the U.S., but now, one startup is using the same concept to “cut” out the middle man and give consumers a direct “steak” in their sustainability.
Crowdfunding has become the go-to for those who want to easily donate to worthy causes or back a product they want to see on the market. It hasn’t often been applied to food, but meal preparation platforms have taken off within the last year or two, so it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a way to put a new twist on food delivery.
Crowd Cow has managed to do just that. In the simplest terms, the platform allows customers to get picky about their beef and support small ranchers at the same time.
The Crowd Cow site lets customers choose the exact cuts of beef they want to buy from independent ranchers located in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. Crowd Cow is also in talks with Colorado farmers, which would appeal to those residents who want to support their local community and economy. Currently, Denver is one of the few cities that can order from any of the platform’s farmers throughout the country. But since Crowd Cow ships to thousands of cities throughout the nation, even if you don’t live in Denver, you can still take advantage of their meaty innovation.
The site also features only one farmer at a time, allowing customers to basically “carve” up the entire cow to ensure a waste not, want not mentality. If the full cow isn’t purchased before the allotted amount of time runs out, no one’s charged for the sale.
Crowd Cow also gives ample information on the farms being featured, as well as their animals. Members gain access to farm photos, a brief history, and — most importantly — details on how the cows are raised and what they eat. Back in 2001, an estimated 60 to 80% of all antibiotics made in the U.S. were given to livestock. This process provides much more knowledge than the average consumer gets when they walk into a grocery store. In so doing, they’re assured they won’t be unknowingly digesting harmful additives and can feel secure in the knowledge that the animals were raised in a humane way.
Food safety has become a hot-button issue over the last few years, and platforms like these will appeal to those who want to take matters into their own hands, rather than leaving it up to the FDA or USDA’s discretion. And since more consumers are becoming aware of the need to work directly with farmers, the platform could become a real cash cow for both its founders and for the ranchers it features.