‘Now Food Doesn’t Have to Travel’: Hyperlocal agriculture with lemonGRAFT founder Zach Correa

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This week, we’re discussing the benefits of hyperlocal agriculture with Zach Correa.

Zach is the founder and CEO of lemonGRAFT, a Tampa-based tech platform that allows neighbors to buy and sell home-grown foods. He acknowledges that the concept is “a very old idea” aided by modern technology.

“It’s a decentralized supply chain for local agriculture, so it allows everyone in the community to be able to participate in the food system,” says Zach, who likens lemonGRAFT to Uber or Airbnb, but for food. “Now food doesn’t have to travel.”

Through the platform, anyone with a home-grown product—say, cherry tomatoes, duck eggs or homemade kombucha—can connect with local buyers and harvest only what they’ve already sold. This reduces waste and decreases supply chain costs, while allowing more people to participate in the food system, Zach says.

He says the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have exposed the weaknesses of the current system.

“The U.S. is very much insulted from a lot of the negative effects that come from not having a sustainable food system,” Zach says.

In this episode of The Zest, Zach explains the nuts and bolts of how lemonGRAFT operates. For a more detailed explanation, check out Zach’s interview on WUSF’s Florida Matters. lemonGRAFT was also selected as a 2021 How I Built This fellow.

Zach’s background in architecture led him to the idea.

“I really am passionate about sustainable communities,” he says. “We need a sustainable food system. That’s really the first infrastructure that needs to be laid down, because we can’t have sustainable communities until we lay down sustainable infrastructures.”

When we spoke with Zach in July 2022, he said lemonGRAFT had about 900 members on the platform, with new communities launching in Nashville, Tenn; Boulder, Colo,; and upstate New York.

“We want to stitch together all these little scraps of land in urban and suburban communities… to create a quilt-like fabric for the future of the agricultural landscape. But that means that lemonGRAFT is just the thread,” Zach says. “We’re not the actual fabric. The fabric is made up of the community.”

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