Market Wagon co-founder and CEO Nick Carter grew up on a family farm in Indiana and has a keen understanding of what consolidation within agriculture and the grocery industry have meant for smaller farms. “If [large grocery retailers] could wave a magic wand and have one vendor that brings them all their eggs from the entire nation, they would,” Carter says. “More and more family farms are just losing the opportunity to sell into the flow of commerce.” After spending time in software development and the startup space in Indianapolis, Carter decided to return to his roots in an effort to expand access to market opportunities for smaller producers.

“Everywhere we go, there’s one universal need, and that is farmers need more access to the market,” he says. “We just needed to create a better, faster way for those farmers to be able get in contact with the consumers and the consumers to get in contact with the farmers and for us to be able to facilitate that transaction.”

And so online farmers market Market Wagon was born. Launched in 2016, offers consumers the chance to buy directly from a range of local producers—no subscription, contract or membership required. At the beginning of 2020, Market Wagon was operating in six locations; by year’s end, it had reached 20. By the close of 2021, Market Wagon hopes to be operating in 50 markets.

“I think consumers are hungry to know where their food is coming from and how it’s produced,” Carter says. “And they’re asking all kinds of questions that supermarkets cannot answer: ‘What’s the environmental impact of the way this farm operates?’ ‘What am I contributing my dollars to here, and how is it impacting the world around me?’ ”