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Julia Niiro is the founder and CEO of MilkRun. She’s also a former farmer herself. After realizing the enormous challenges faced by small producers in selling their food to their community, she started MilkRun in 2018 to give small farmers like herself a local market for their product — connecting the needs of urban markets with high-quality food from their rural neighbors. With a background in digital marketing and technology and a passion for local food systems, she saw an opportunity to build a digital platform that makes supporting local farmers as easy as booking a room or calling a cab. Her goal was simple: make good food accessible to all and save small farms in the process.
She’s since become a powerful advocate for small-scale farmers and sustainable food systems, including an impassioned 2019 TEDx Portland talk on saving small farmers from extinctions. She believes a better food system is possible, and it starts with us.
“I don’t want to live in a world where my only option is to buy meat and produce from a big corporation...Food is offering us an opportunity to come together, to stand on common ground, to put our hands in common soil, so that we can rebuild this future in a way that rebalances what we need with what we value. Let this be the era where we reclaim our connection with the land, with the people that feed us. We can do this, each of us, in our own way.”