Freshspire Creates New Connections Between Local Farmers And Food Buyers

The Freshspire team at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Durham. From left: Matt Simpson, CTO; Co-Founder Shraddha Rathod, CEO; Ziwa Mukungu, the lead technology developer; and Co-Founder Mona Amin of business development.

Here’s a sobering fact: Over 40 percent of food is ending up in landfills. Shraddha Rathod, the Co-Founder and CEO of Freshspire, wants to do something about that.

Before graduating from NC State in May 2018, Rathod began to bring her ideas to life with her company, Freshspire, in January 2018.

A lot of people have quality food going into the landfills and we thought about how to stop the excess food from going there,” Rathod said. 

After bootstrapping the business, Freshspire started off running as semi-finalists for an NC IDEA grant and the Andrews Launch Accelerator at NC State, while also being named Miller Fellows, a prestigious NC State entrepreneurship program that includes a stipend.

Though Freshspire’s roots trace back even further than that. Rathod and her Co-Founder, Mona Amin, first conceived the idea when they were juniors at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham.

Freshspire’s software launched in October 2018 and helps connect grocery stores, like Weaver Street Market, and restaurants, like Whiskey Kitchen, to farmers all around the Triangle.

The mission? To connect farmers to buyers and reduce food waste in the process.

Freshspire focuses on accessibility to local food. Rathod wants to make it easier for retailers, chefs and food distributors to connect with farmers and vice versa.

“Typically we see that buyers’ current methods to order are through a call, text or email and we make that process so much faster,” Rathod said. “We are cutting order times by 50 percent, making it more efficient, fast and easy.”

The application allows users to explore an array of elements from farmers’ produce to their certifications and farming practices.

The software was built in-house and provides users with data collected on everything from what is being sold or bought in a specific area to what customers want in the future. As for sellers, they can see demand rates and price ranges for their produce.

Right now the application is completing data analysis on a case-by-case basis but Rathod hopes to continue consolidating the data and building upon it so that the back-end of their software can continuously provide local food system analytics.

“We are a tool to maintain personal relationships, not replace them,” Rathod said. “When it comes to purchasing food, things can get complicated but we can help people find farms, track the orders and create buyer lists.”

Farmers can also use the application to create a custom market and increase visibility to people they don’t normally sell to.

The company hopes to expand deeper into the grocery chain realm and become a standard connection for local produce and its buyers.

“The value we want to provide is for legitimate local buyers who want fresh local food,” Rathod said. “Our goal is to be the standard in local food sourcing and to create efficient communication.”