It’s a new world for local producers, as sales move to online stores and innovation is more important than ever. In West Michigan, Green Wagon Farm has rallied farmers and producers to launch the new concept market ‘REKO.’ REKO is a Facebook-based sales model developed in Finland and is mostly unheard of in the US.
Each week, small-scale, sustainable farmers & producers post available products to a public Facebook group, managing their own sales from comments or their online stores. The market itself is either a half hour or hour-long pickup window. There are currently two weekly REKO Markets in West Michigan–one each in Ada and Holland (Holland | Ada).
Heather Anderson, Farm Manager at Green Wagon says, “We first heard of REKO at the Northern Michigan Farm Conference in 2019 from Swedish farmer Richard Perkins. There are so many great things about REKO for the consumer, but for us, the presale market is efficient, eliminates wasted product we might have at the end of a slow day at the farmers market, and requires virtually no setup or tear-down.”
For the consumer, it brings market-shopping into the digital age. It allows for planning and shopping to be done in the comfort of your own home, and accelerates the actual pickup time to a short weekly errand, instead of a half-day event. In the days of COVID-19, avoiding congested grocery stores, supporting local businesses, and finding a one-stop pickup for a variety of staple goods is particularly meaningful. Until further notice, REKO will be set up for no-contact pickup, requiring social distancing and masks for all shoppers and producers. Pre-payment options are available for most vendors.
Currently, the list of vendors can be found at rekomarket.com. It includes bakeries and a local ice cream shop, in addition to farms producing vegetables, meats, eggs, tea, herbs, honey, maple syrup, cornmeal–even wool and locally-made compost! Availability will be posted weekly on the Facebook group; producers may not attend every single week and require different order deadlines. Market shoppers must place their orders prior to the deadline and pick up their pre-packed orders within the short pickup window.
Rebecca Henderson is the West Michigan Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference and the CSA & Marketing Manager for Green Wagon Farm. Contact her at [email protected] to learn more about REKO Market!