CASE STUDY

Urban Agriculture Cooperative delivers with Metrobi.

With Metrobi, Urban Agriculture Cooperative connects growers with consumers and institutions that lack access to healthy food.

Urban Agriculture Cooperative - Urban Agriculture Cooperative -
Urban Agriculture Cooperative

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Problem

Their deliveries were a combination of using their vehicles and hiring somebody part-time who had their van, but it was increasingly hard to coordinate. And UAC also saw that they could go in a couple of directions as they got bigger.

Solution

Now Urban Agriculture Cooperative enjoys the flexibility Metrobi provides: once Metrobi’s work is done each week, they don’t have to worry about the vehicles anymore.

Urban Agriculture Cooperative - Urban Agriculture Cooperative -
Co-Founders, Emilio Panasci And Jamie Bruno, 2017

“We still offer conventional sort of farmers markets in neighborhoods with multiple vendors, music, and things like that to bring people together and to gain access to healthy food. But more and more our weekly business is about packing and shipping food directly to people or other institutions. And so that's where you all come in: Metrobi has been a big help because we haven't had to maintain our fleet of vehicles and all of our trips are generally pretty short. So we're able to continue doing the other things like packing, administrative work, purchasing, and ordering while we work with one of your drivers to fulfill an order and they've also been useful.”

About Urban Agriculture Cooperative

“Urban Agriculture Cooperative exists to enhance the localized food system between underserved local food growers and consumers. Based in Newark, NJ, they are part of the “connective tissue” between farmers, institutions, and families. They operate a food hub distributing NJ products through farmer’s markets and wholesale, and consult on several related projects. In collaboration with the work of many allies, we maintain an inclusive, sustainable, just, and caring food economy centering on people and our planet.”

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Urban Agriculture Cooperative - Urban Agriculture Cooperative -
Urban Agriculture Cooperative - Urban Agriculture Cooperative -

How it started

Q: How did your business begin?

Emilio: “We’re based in Newark, New Jersey. We are what you would call an aggregator or a little bit of a middleman. We’re a nonprofit organization, and we deal with mostly small and medium-sized local farmers. Our entire goal is to reconnect those growers to a lot of our consumers who lack healthy food access. “

How it succeeded

Q: What do you think made Urban Agriculture Cooperative successful as a business?

Emilio: “Over time, we built relationships with more and more growers and farmers like us, and also with some of the larger institutions like the public schools and the hospitals here. And that set us up for kind of becoming what we call a food hub. So were able to organize different farmers, purchase their goods, bring them in, and fulfill larger orders, like wholesale orders. A lot of our clients are purchasing what we call farm-to-families box and so they’re getting a box product every week or every other week. Those are ideal for families who are relying on food pantries or for schools that have a healthy food school partnership where the families take home a box of produce on the weekends or for other nonprofit organizations when they have events.”

Urban Agriculture Cooperative - Urban Agriculture Cooperative -

Urban Agriculture Cooperative’s favorite things about Metrobi

Reliable drivers that build relationships, and save our small team’s time

“We increasingly use your drivers more and more to also go to the different farms in New Jersey. And they've kind of gotten to know some of those farmers and they're familiar with the farm, so they pick up the food and bring it back for us, which not only saves time but allows our very small team to continue, focus on other things while the food is coming in.”

Using Metrobi is better than maintaining a whole fleet of vehicles

“More and more our weekly business is about packing and shipping food directly to people or other institutions. And so that's where you all come in. Metrobi has been a big help because we haven't had to maintain our fleet of vehicles.”

I have time to focus on other important parts of my business

“We're able to continue doing the other work like packing and administrative work and purchasing and ordering while we count on one of your drivers to fulfill an order.”

How Metrobi works

“The whole experience is very personable. The driver comes to pick up, he gets packages into the van, and the van is dedicated to our products only. We can follow the delivery progress, driver location, and delivery pictures on the dashboard.”

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