This month we put the spotlight on Cara Rosaen, Co-Founder & Director of Vegetable Outreach of Real Time Farms, Chefs Collaborative member & recent sponsor of the 2011 National Summit in New Orleans. Real Time Farms is a crowd-sourced online food guide based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that aims to connect and educate producers, chefs, and eaters alike on where exactly their food comes from. Their mission: to collectively document the entire food system. Sound a little intense? You just haven’t met Cara.
Let’s start with the basics: You co-founded Real Time Farms with your husband, Karl Rosaen, describing it as a “for-profit social venture” and “crowd-sourced online food guide.” What exactly does all that mean?
Our mission is a social one: collectively document the food system, so people can make informed decisions about what they eat.
How did you personally become involved in the world of sustainable food?
In that same vein, where did the inspiration for Real Time Farms come from? Was there a specific “lightbulb moment?”
Director of Vegetable Outreach sounds like a pretty cool job title. What is your favorite part of your job?
What would you classify as a couple major accomplishments since Real Time Farms’s founding in 2010?
- Launching the first ever tools for diners to trace their food back to the farm. Working with 60+ of the top restaurants so far to change the way people know food.
- Our launch of the Food Warrior Program – an educational internship for students across the country to learn, document, and immerse themselves in their food system.
- Being asked to speak at TEDxManhattan Change The Way We Eat this January, after attending last year, in awe of presenters such as Josh Viertel, Britta Riley, and Curt Ellis.
- Capturing data on 4000K farms and food artisans, 6500+ farmers markets, and now 60+ restaurants.
We provide web tools to meaningfully communicate the depth of what they do – the stories of each of their ingredients and their purveyors. This builds consumer trust and appreciation for what they are eating, which will undoubtedly mean repeat customers.
For example, here’s a bird’s eye view of Chefs Collaborative member Seth Caswell’s emmer&rye.
Click on any ingredient, see the farm name. Click on the farm name, and you are brought to a rich profile with stories, images, and more on the farm or food artisan.
How can our members get involved in Real Time Farms’s mission?
If you are a chef, try our web tools to tell your menu’s story. (Free 2-week trial. $40/month after that.)
If you are a farmer, fisherman, rancher, or food artisan, add yourself to Real Time Farms. (Free.)
Why are you a member of Chefs Collaborative?
With the holidays coming up, everyone’s got menus on the brain – any favorite dishes/ingredients this time of year?
We don’t judge!
Feel free to contact Cara with any more questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 650-814-7796.
Anyone can register on RealTimeFarms.com for free; sign up and add your favorite local restaurants, farms, artisans and markets to their ever-growing database.