I am writing to let you know about an exciting change at Local Orbit. My name is Rob Barreca and I recently became the new CEO of Local Orbit. I’m a food hub director, organic farmer, and Local Orbit user myself. The changes my team and I’ll be making at Local Orbit will include improved stability and speed, quicker customer service, and new features.

How did I end up here?

I’ve been a user of Local Orbit since late 2014 when I founded Farm Link Hawai‘i – an online marketplace, aggregator, and delivery service that now serves nearly 100 active suppliers and buyers on the island of O‘ahu. In addition to my role as director of Farm Link Hawai‘i, I own and co-operate a five-acre certified organic farm. But, before getting involved in the local food movement I spent 15 years as a software engineer and web product designer.

Eager to apply my unique background in both technology and agriculture, I reached out to the Local Orbit team over the past three years to see how I might help improve the platform. Then, in September 2016, I applied for and was awarded a USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant aimed at developing a comprehensive software solution for local food systems.

Knowing about my background and USDA project, Erika Block recently contacted me to ask if our team was willing to take over Local Orbit. After devoting six years of hard work to the company, Erika and team needed to move on to other ventures. I happily accepted the offer, and we officially took over Local Orbit on December 18. The fortuitous timing allows us to make an even larger impact by applying our existing work and grant resources to the Local Orbit platform.

Thank you, Erika and team, for all you’ve done for local food!

What does this mean for you?

Over the next six weeks, we’ll focus on improving stability, fixing bugs, and making the platform faster. We will be promptly responding to your support tickets and returning your phone calls. We will be transparent regarding known bugs and our product roadmap. And, we will be looking to get your input to help us prioritize the most critical fixes and features to make all our markets more successful.

As the first of many enhancements to come, last week we deployed a critical bug fix to credit card checkout that some markets were experiencing. I’m hoping you’ll be patient with us as our team gets up to speed and works to improve the platform we all depend on.

Feature roadmap

Once we improve the stability and performance of the Local Orbit platform, we are excited to develop new functionality. Here are some items we are considering for our 2018 product roadmap:

  1. Support assigning suppliers and buyers to specific delivery/pick up routes
  2. Allow multiple product units to pull from a single inventory pool (e.g. 25 lb case, ½ lb bunch, and pound units automatically pull from 200 pounds of inventory)
  3. Clean up redundant, confusing product categories and allow each market to customize
  4. Option to require market manager approval for new products or major product changes
  5. Better support for standing/recurring orders

Please email your suggestions to service@localorbit.com to help us prioritize and develop our long-term roadmap. We want to hear from you!

The rest of our team

Weston Triemstra
A senior software engineer with 22 years of experience in leading-edge web development technologies and a passion for creating great user experiences. Nominated for an Emmy (Science & Technology) and 2-time Gemini nominee (Best Interactive).

Hunter Heaivilin
A market developer and outreach coordinator with 3 years of experience building a marketplace and distribution logistics network on O‘ahu. Over 10 years of experience in sustainable community development, urban agriculture, and local food systems planning.

Trudy Carol
A senior product specialist and technical documentation writer with over 15 years of experience in online educational, rich media, and grant management software. (And, she grew up on a 200-acre farm in Michigan!)

Questions, suggestions, or concerns

If you have any questions, concerns, bug reports, or feature suggestions please get in touch with us in one of the following ways:

  • Submitting a ticket is still the best way to reach out. Click Help on the top of your Local Orbit site, then click Submit a request.
  • You can also email service@localorbit.com with your message.
  • Call our main phone line at (800) 598-3351.

Wishing you a happy and bountiful new year.

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