Best of Rhode Island 2020

While the pandemic changed life as we knew it, we’ve still got a lot to celebrate. Check out this list of do-good Rhode Islanders with whom we are lucky to share this place we call home, plus the results of our annual readers’ poll.

Photography courtesy of WhatsGood and Farm Fresh Rhode Island.

WhatsGood and Farm Fresh Rhode Island

Bringing farm fresh food straight home.
WhatsGood and Farm Fresh Rhode Island allow consumers to connect with their local farms through the web or on a mobile app. Over the past two years, WhatsGood has partnered with more than forty Rhode Island farms and businesses to create a diverse, sustainable and convenient marketplace for customers to order local food and, in 2019 alone, more than 143,000 SNAP dollars were spent at Farm Fresh Rhode Island farmers markets. During the current COVID-19 climate, these programs have helped people in the community order local meats, seafood and fresh produce and have it delivered directly to their homes.

Rhode Island Monthly: Why was it so important for you to create WhatsGood for the community?
Matt Tortora, WhatsGood: If we want a reliable, resilient food system, we have to localize it. We can’t do that until the supply meets the demand. Farmers don’t produce to capacity for the most part and their sales channels are limited to where customers will go to them. That’s becoming less and less of an expectation by us stay-at-home consumers. What happens when farmers are left out of how that works?

RIM: Why did Farm Fresh Rhode Island start a home delivery option?
Nikki Ayres, Farm Fresh Rhode Island: Farm Fresh’s Market Mobile has been delivering local goods to wholesale customers on behalf of farmers and producers since 2009. The home delivery service was a response to COVID-19. National food supply chains were breaking down, there was an enormous need from our community to have food delivered to them safely and quickly and the farmers and producers were losing restaurant and institutional accounts. We saw home delivery as a way to remain rooted in our mission of connecting growers to eaters. —Samantha Labrecque