“Now Food Doesn’t Have to Travel”: Hyperlocal Farming with lemonGRAFT Founder Zach Correa

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This week, we discuss the benefits of hyperlocal agriculture with Zach Correa.

Zach is the founder and CEO of LEMON GRAFT, a Tampa-based technology platform that allows neighbors to buy and sell home-grown food. 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 compares lemonGRAFT to Uber or Airbnb, but for food. “Now food no longer needs to travel.”

Through the platform, anyone with a local product, such as cherry tomatoes, duck eggs or homemade kombucha, can connect with local buyers and only harvest what they have already sold. This reduces waste and lowers 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 revealed the weaknesses of the current system.

“The United States is very insulted by many of the negative effects that come from not having a sustainable food system,” Zach says.

In this episode of The Zest, Zach explains the inner workings of lemonGRAFT. For a more detailed explanation, check out Zach’s interview on WUSF Florida Matters. lemonGRAFT was also selected as 2021 How I built this man.

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

“I’m really passionate about sustainable communities,” he says. “We need a sustainable food system. It’s really the first infrastructure that needs to be put in place, because we can’t have sustainable communities until we have sustainable infrastructure in place.

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

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

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