Today we’re announcing some exciting news at Provender- we’re launching our marketplace in New England, to help create a better food system through technology.
Two years of development and community building “up north” have borne fruit for what has become a community of hundreds of growers, pickers, grocers, chefs and buyers. As we approach our two year anniversary for our marketplace, we’re excited to see the vision behind Provender begin to manifest in the food systems we support in Canada.
When we began Provender, we had a vision of a more transparent, diverse and sustainable food system- one where communication between farm and fork was seamless and easy, one where diversity was championed not just as more sustainable, but more delicious. Today, we could not be more proud to see that vision strong and healthy in our home markets, and also to see the encouraging signs of these same communities begin to take shape in New England.
Our journey here was not as smooth as we had imagined when we first came together in 2013 with the intention of changing the food system- we’ve seen our share of hard times, both from our community and our own company. Great food is a calling, but not an easy one- we know that there are countless moments in our history where we failed, in large ways or small ways, our loyal users, our fellow team members, or ourselves. Through these hard lessons, we have emerged as a team more confident of the path forward, more ready for the challenge of creating and nurturing our community, and as certain as always of our dedication to the ideals we founded Provender on- transparent, diverse and delicious food systems built with the farmer at it’s heart.
It is then with special delight we can announce our growth into New England- the heart of so much of the positive change that we’ve seen in food over the last decade. As we grow into the home states of leaders like Eliot Coleman and Eric Toensmeier, we’re reminded that the work of creating a food system we can eat from with pleasure and without guilt has been begun far before our arrival, and we are indebted to the many years of work and the thousands of bright minds who have come before us in these beautiful states.
As we open our office here in Boston, we’re amazed by the breadth of agriculture here- the abundance of the summer months is humbling. We’ve met amazing farmers, seen the most incredible land, and woken up (way too) early to accompany day boats off the coast to witness one of the great sustainable fisheries of the world. We’ve assembled a team of New Englanders who have careers and roots in this food system, and forged some amazing partnerships with innovators in town and country.
We’re ready to take on the challenges of empowering farmers across these states to grow their businesses online, to grow more diversely, to sell with less risk and more certainty, and to create a food system that is worthy of the rich history of agriculture that New England holds.
Just last week, our team took a Sunday bike ride out to to celebrate the hard work of our launch and the success we’ve seen in creating our Boston community. We cycled to the most incredible farms, met with the proud and hardworking folks who keep them, and finished our day at Walden Pond- a place that helped inspire Provender.
Adam Bent on a visit to Dick's Market Garden - Lunenburg, MA
Thoreau, who sowed the first seeds of agrarianism and who so eloquently described the pleasures of natural world, once farmed the banks of this pond, and wrote an elegant passage on the joy he found in this act-
I came to love my rows, my beans… They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antæus. But why should I raise them? Only Heaven knows. This was my curious labor all summer — to make this portion of the earth’s surface, which had yielded only cinquefoil, blackberries, johnswort, and the like, before, sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers, produce instead this crop. What shall I learn of beans or beans of me? I cherish them, I hoe them, early and late I have an eye to them; and this is my day’s work- the celebration of this humble pulse.
There are few technology companies inspired by Thoreau, but at Provender we see that Luddite vision of simplicity as a value we share in the creation of this next Provender community in New England.
We’ve come to love the rows, the beans, and the people who grow them in New England. We could not be more excited to help this bounty find its home in kitchens across 6 states. As we grow from 50 excited early adopters to a community of hundreds, we will keep that simple vision of agriculture at the heart of what we do.