Portland-based tech startup Forager said it has received an additional $70,000 of funding from Coastal Enterprises Inc.

David Stone, who previously co-founded digital gift-card provider CashStar Inc. in Portland, launched a new company in March called Forager1 LLC to develop a digital procurement platform for local food producers and the retailers who sell their products. The company’s goal is to accelerate the growth of the local food economy and make locally sourced food more widely available.

The company said Tuesday that the new funding from CEI brings total investment in the startup to $1.1 million. CEI is an economic development group based in Brunswick that specializes in agriculture, fisheries and rural areas.

“Our goal is to grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises and shared prosperity in Maine and across the country,” said Gray Harris, CEI’s senior program director for natural resource sectors, in a news release. “We are thrilled to invest in Forager, whose mission and focus on accelerating our local food system aligns so well with our goals.”

In March, Forager’s technology was rolled out in New England and New York state, with the eventual goal of expanding nationwide. At its launch, the company already had been up and running on a trial basis for several months and had about 100 Maine food producers and 10 grocers, food co-ops and wholesalers using it, according to Stone.

“Since our launch in March, we are already witnessing considerable success with our customers across the state of Maine, and with CEI’s support, we will continue to remove the friction from local food sourcing,” Stone said. “We know that local food can make a fundamental difference to the health of our environment and our well-being, and we want to fan the flames of a local food revolution.”


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