Company Provides Sustainable Food System to Columbus Community and Ohio State Soccer Players

Yellowbird Foodshed, founded in 2014, is a company that connects shoppers with groceries from over 100 local producers. Credit: Courtesy of Leah Schaffer

Since 2014, a small business delivering to Columbus has set out to help other Ohio-based entrepreneurs by creating a system that brings food straight from farm to fork.

Yellow bird shed, located in Mt Vernon, Ohio, is committed to providing customers with natural, meat, grocery and wellness products through weekly subscription boxes and an online grocery store, Benji Ballmer, Founder of Yellowbird Foodshed, said. Working with over 100 local Ohio growers and producers, every product has been sustainably raised, harvested and transported.

“There are all of these different things that contribute to the well-being of an individual, and food is such an important part of that, but it’s only one part,” Ballmer said. “When it comes to food, we want to be able to bring fresh, nutrient-dense, nutrient-dense local foods to our customers so they don’t have to try to do everything themselves. ”

Ballmer said small producers face huge drawbacks in the industry, which inspired him to create a system that can sell food from local farmers in large quantities.

“There are a lot of people who no longer trust the large food system that brings food to grocery stores, for a number of reasons,” Ballmer said. “They want to know that it was not sprayed with chemicals and that the money they spend goes directly to the person who grew the food. What we do is come in and have a meaningful impact at the farm level so that the people who actually grow the food are the ones who get paid.

Yellowbird Foodshed recently began providing food for several Ohio state football players who have busy schedules and little time to create healthy, balanced meals, Ballmer said.

Second-year safety Lathan Ransom, a second-year in communications, said that as a student-athlete, Yellowbird has provided him with a great way to get healthy food despite his busy schedule.

“As a student, it’s hard to go to the grocery store all the time and buy food,” Ransom said. “When I started to eat healthier, I saw how much it affected me just by changing little things in my diet. It was great to get in touch with Yellowbird, and they really helped me.

Ballmer said athletes aren’t the only group Yellowbird is targeting, but rather all students who want a fridge full of healthy foods but are short on time or lack cooking expertise.

“There is certainly a need in the diet of students for fresh, healthy and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, but what program is in place to ensure that they have access to them? Said Ballmer. “The idea is to give these football players, and really all college kids, the nutrients they need.”

Ransom said Yellowbird Foodshed is a good option for anyone – a student or not – who is looking for a healthier, more ethical way to consume food.

“Whether it’s students or working people, having a simple system like Yellowbird can do a lot for a lot of people,” Ransom said.

The weekly subscription boxes, which Ballmer says are the heart of the business, come in three different sizes and price ranges from $ 25 to $ 45. They can be home delivered or picked up on Thursday or Friday on various routes around Columbus. He said customers will be given the various routes to choose from when purchasing.

“Every item and every product that we offer is researched and we trace it straight to a farm,” Ballmer said. “We are tilting our heads on that. We are very proud of it. ”

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