Time-starved Americans were indirectly responsible for the creation of food delivery services that contain everything they need to prepare “home-cooked” meals in a hurry, but they likely have no idea how far those ingredients travel before they reach their front door.
While there are some who may not care, for those who do, there are Sprout Boxes, assembled in Battle Creek and fully customizable with products from around the area and throughout the state. Customers are able to select items including locally-produced meats, cheeses, breads and snacks for delivery to their homes, offices, or other locations in the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo area.
Jeremy Andrews, Chief Excitement Officer for Battle Creek-based Sprout, says the Sprout Boxes are Battle Creek’s version of Blue Apron, an ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service headquartered in New York City.
“We realize there’s a demand for local food and a lot of local food entrepreneurs are helping us get their products to market,” Andrews says.
The Sprout Boxes are part of Sprout BC, a food hub in Battle Creek, that connects area people to healthier, fresher, naturally grown vegetables, fruits, and other foods sourced from local food producers. Sprout, which has been in business since 2009, buys from local vegetable farmers, organic farmers, conventional farmers, cooperative farms, pasture-raised meat producers, cheese producers, and others. Its customers include area restaurants, food carts, school districts, breweries, hospitals, and individuals.
The nonprofit is comprised of a grocery store, an incubator kitchen, and an urban farm; the latter provides space for community farming and allows beginners to start farming businesses without being hampered by high costs.
“Our local economy is important,” Andrews says. “People spend their food dollars and they get to choose where they spend them. Our prices are comparable to local markets, but our products are superior because they are fresher and last longer.”
Currently, there are more than 250 Sprout Box customers. Andrews would like to grow that number and says people need to know that their dollars spent locally have a positive ripple effect on the community. He says that every dollar spent in a community gets circulated seven times before ever leaving that community.
“If you support local businesses, the economy will thrive,” he says. “If you spend outside of the community, those are dollars that will never come back.”
The Sprout Box program is offered ‘year-round with prices starting at $15.
“it’s not just kale,” Andrews says. “It’s all of your favorites delivered right to the door.”
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