1) MilkCrate is largely a way for consumers to learn about green businesses in their area. Where does the directory come from?
We have a unique grassroots way of building our directory that’s been pretty successful in Philadelphia and we think will be successful in other cities too! We approach and create partnerships with local individual and business membership sustainability organizations like the regional green building chapter, Social Venture Network chapters, and others. In Philadelphia, we have partnerships with the Clean Air Council, the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Fair Food, The Humane League, The Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, and others. So we basically trade services in exchange for their databases of businesses that are the perfect fit for the MilkCrate directory. It’s so much easier and more successful that just going door to door. There is also a submit-it-yourself feature on our website so if you have a favorite sustainable pizza joint that you think fits the MilkCrate description of local and sustainable, then you can submit it yourself!
2) Where did the name MilkCrate come from and how does it represent your mission?
Our founder, Morgan Berman, got the idea for the name from seeing a lot of people around Philly attaching milk crates to the backs of their bikes and putting their things in them. So the idea behind the name is that you put your favorite things in the MilkCrate and get moving. It aligns with our mission because of the whole biking around, alternative transportation idea and reusing and reinventing something for a new purpose.
3) Largely through the efforts of Philadelphia’s mayor, Mayor Michael Nutter, the city is beginning to redefine itself around sustainability. Why MilkCrate here and why now?
We see Philadelphia as a great starting point for MilkCrate because it isn’t the most sustainable city- not everyone integrates it into their everyday life but a lot of people want to. It’s a good mix of sustainability veterans and newbies so after we tackle Philly, we can move on to less sustainable cities and even cities like San Francisco and Portland who are the epitome of being green where the adoption will be much quicker. The people I’ve talked to in San Francisco about MilkCrate are saying things like “Finally! I’ve been waiting for this,” so that made me realize how willing people are to take their sustainable living to the next level.
4) In addition to pointing customers towards local green products, your team is tapping into the larger underlying cultural trend of sustainability. What do you hope users of MilkCrate will gain from the service?
We want them to realize that living sustainably isn’t just farmer’s markets and thrift stores! Everything you purchase and do has the potential be sustainable. That’s why in the app the homepage isn’t just a search bar. First, we give the user a chance to scroll through categories like food, furniture, green spaces, community engagement, schools, childcare, weddings, bars, and tons more so they can explore all of aspects of their life that sustainability can make its way into without having to do the extensive research that many of us have had to do in the past, like does that restaurant really have meatless options, does that furniture store really source their wood responsibly- it’s all there and verified with badges.
5) What is the long-term vision of MilkCrate?
To help make stronger more sustainable local communities and economies. We want to be the tool for users, business owners and organizations to get the word out about how to live more sustainably, together and locally.
6) MilkCrate is launching on Indiegogo. Where can people find out more if they are interested?
Well on IndieGoGo! Here’s the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/milkcrate-the-digital-hub-for-sustainability/x/8230139