New Business hopes to connect food producers and consumers

inspiration to create TopFeed came after attending Charlottetown’s Food and Farm Startup Weekend last year

Published on May 1, 2016

Rafael Aquirre, left, and Vaughn Murphy recently launched the website TopFeed, the Island’s first e-commerce site for connecting Island producers and consumers.

©Guardian photo

BY EVAN CERETTI

THE GUARDIAN

Two Island men have created an online business with hopes of connecting Island producers and consumers, putting fresh products at Islanders’ fingertips.

Vaughn Murphy, lead marketer, and Rafael Aguirre, lead developer, were inspired to create TopFeed after attending Charlottetown’s Food and Farm Startup Weekend last year.

One of the main goals of the website is to help strengthen community needs by means of getting enough food in communities, said Murphy.

“We think P.E.I. is a good start for a project like this because of the high rate of malnutrition among children on P.E.I.”

The website can be compared to Etsy, which specializes in selling arts and crafts, but TopFeed will be selling fresh local food. The website will take about three per cent to five per cent of each transaction, said Murphy. 

“We’ll also be offering incentives for becoming involved in the community,” he said.

The website won’t merely be a directory website, said Aguirre, above all else it’s going to be a listing of specific products the producers will be selling. Potential buyers will be able to browse the site in order to find what they’re looking for.

“It’s a way for farmers to say ‘hey, this is what I have right now,’” said Aguirre.

Murphy said the interactive side of the site will have a review system that encourages comments in order to rate the producers.

“That keeps the honesty and integrity of the system running,” he said.

The website plans to have pickup locations in different communities in order for sellers and buyers to complete transactions.

“If someone purchases an apple pie from Judy’s Farm, they will be able to, through the site, go to a pick up location a community member has organized along with Top Feed,” said Murphy.

Some producers may have to make a lot more product because community members seek after it, he said.

Aguirre said he hopes the site will be the first stop for new producers when they want to buy fresh goods. A site where you can log in and see what choices are available locally will be of great value, he said.

“What we’re trying to achieve is to give farmers the tools they need to unload their product the fastest way possible, while at the same time maximizing the returns on those products,” said Aguirre.

Murphy noted farmers might have a surplus of product but it’s not on a consistent basis, which might prompt them to use the site.

The website is not limited to established farmers and business, as anyone with a product can create a profile and sell goods.

“It creates new users and entrepreneurs in that way,” he said.

The first phase of the website was launched earlier this month, and the duo hope to have the site fully running at the beginning of June, at which point in time users will have the ability to perform transactions