Grasshoppers Distribution won’t exist after Friday, according to an email the local food distributor sent to its members.
Based in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood, Grasshoppers was founded in 2007. As city officials have talked about growing the city’s local food movement, the company was often held up as a success story and a model for future local food infrastructure in Portland.
From the email Grasshoppers sent out Wednesday, and posted online:
Deciding to discontinue Grasshoppers Distribution has not been an easy decision for our board. Our decision to discontinue our service is a result of our lack of financial sustainability. The economics of the local food distribution business requires scale that we have not been able to achieve, despite the best efforts of many people over these years. We ultimately have decided to do what we feel is best for our Grasshopper clients and our network of farmers and artisans.
Ivor Chodkowski is on the Grasshoppers’ board. He also farms in Jefferson County and owns local food restaurant Harvest. He says he’s sad for Grasshoppers’ employees, but the company’s demise doesn’t mark the end of Louisville’s local food movement.
“You know, for me it’s not primarily a moment of sadness,” he said. “This is growing up the food system. And it’s going to hit some bumps. There’s still great investment opportunities and there are still opportunities for farmers. There are still great opportunities for ideas, which is maybe the most important of those things.”
Fellow board member Caroline Heine agreed. She said Grasshoppers’ demise just represents one company that couldn’t make it work financially, and that doesn’t mean other companies couldn’t be successful in similar ventures.
Grasshoppers isn’t the only service in town that delivers local food to Louisville residents. In the email, the company said it has reached out to Green BEAN Delivery to serve current Grasshoppers customers.
Grasshoppers had more than 1,200 subscribers to its grocery program.