Swedish Startup Space

Gårdsnära, the food and veg site to help you get back to your roots

Written by on October 17, 2013

I caught up with Erik Östling, a 32 year old web developer living in Åre with his fiance. Together they are running a startup called Gårdsnära, which is Sweden’s largest site for finding local producers of food and drinks.

Having a father who worked as a chef and growing up in the Swedish country side, food and it’s production has always played a central part in Erik’s life. A few years back, Erik’s brother started a farm in Åre, herding sheep and milking cows. That got him thinking, how could he contribute and what can be done for people who want good quality food . Erik says that he wanted food that he could trust, “food with an identity that I could trust and in turn also take responsibility for”.

Gårdsnära has Sweden’s largest database of local producers with a massive 2135 sources. Using their native iOS app or a website, users can easily browse and discover new local producers nearby.

Erik and Lisa are putting in most of their time in building trust from producers and consumers, which takes a lot of time.

Our financial numbers are still in the reds but that’s no worry to me really – as I mentioned earlier we’ve put almost all of our efforts into building trust, working together with producers and consumers, and in making a good site. In addition, our growth is all organic and built by working in social media, SEO and of course more traditional PR activities such as writing to news papers/magazines and presenting Gårdsnära at food markets and other food events.

Throughout our chat, Erik kept bringing up the idea of “going back to our roots”, something I found really interesting.

Consumers today want to know where their food comes from – how it impacts the environment and the well of the animals – also they are as you note very interested in how the food affects their health – coincidentally these factors often interact. It turns out that this combination is also very beneficial for producers that do good stuff and who are open about their business – something that we’re trying to promote. Coming from a web background and being a big fan of open source and transparency I’m hoping to spread some of this to the agriculture business.

As of today, Skåne and Västra Götaland are the biggest markets in terms of producers for Gårdsnära, which doesn’t surprise Erik, “That’s correct – and I guess that this reflects pretty accurately that these are two very important regions for our country’s food production.”

So what’s next for the Gårdsnära team? Well, they’re going to continue traveling the country, looking for the best food producers, and continue to try and grow their user base.

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