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How Family Dinner Uses Data To Eliminate Food Waste: An Interview With Erin Baumgartner

Bill Choudhry



This article was written by Erin Baumgartner.

Family Dinner is a farmers’ market delivery service based in Somerville. Every week, we find and deliver the best ingredients from New England’s finest farmers and purveyors and deliver it right to our members’ doors! Our shares can contain meat and fish, produce, grains, dairy and eggs – and there is always a little treat from a local baker.  Shares are curated so that the ingredients marry well together, while still giving some flexibility to the adventurous home cook.

Family Dinner was created in 2017 and is 100% woman owned. We created this business to support the work of small local farms and purveyors.  We have created systems to enable technology and data analytics to help eliminate food waste and shorten the local food supply chain while solving for last mile logistics.

How did the idea of Family Dinner come to be?

My husband and I started Family Dinner 4 years ago but the idea was buzzing around our heads for years before that. In my previous career I was the Assistant Director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) . This lab uses data to understand and improve complex urban systems such as transportation and waste. 

We had been thinking that there had to be myriad ways to employ technology to understand and improve the complex problem of the food supply chain. Though we were both working VERY full time jobs at the time, we decided to give it a go and launched a beta process in early 2017.  We got 7 friends on board and very slowly, very lovingly but somewhat clumsily started Family Dinner. At first everything we did was so clunky and inefficient! But we have been lucky to learn along the way and build an amazing team to help us grow in a more streamlined way.

You said you are building a better food system for everyone, how are you doing that?

We started this company to support and elevate the work of small local growers, makers and producers. We wanted to bring the beauty and bounty of small farms to a larger audience.  We do this by creating a distributed network of local farms and operating a subscription model on an e-commerce platform. This allows farmers and makers in one part of the state to directly reach consumers in towns far away that they may not not have had access to previously. 

We think that knowing where your food comes from and keeping the distance between where it was grown and your plate as short as possible is really important. It is important for the farmers, the animals they raise, the soil they grow and it is important for us as final consumers. Raising animals and growing food without antibiotics, pesticides and other harmful junk is critically important.

What is your number one goal for your organization this year?

We are hoping to spread the mission of local food, support more small local growers and bring delicious food into people’s homes!

You can visit Family Dinner’s website here: 

Bill Choudhry is an experienced cold outreach and outbound sales professional. His approach is non-salesy, consultative, and authentic. He enjoys long walks at the park, frisbee football, and baking magical brownies for his marketing friends.

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