“Basically the idea was resourceful urban people attach [milk crates] to their bikes to hold their stuff while they are riding around the city,” said MilkCrate founder Morgan Berman. “MilkCrate is a place to store and find ‘your stuff’—the places you shop and eat and play that relate to your sustainable urban life.” Photo courtesy of MilkCrate.
Designed for a tech-savvy urbanite with a penchant for sustainability, MilkCrate hopes to be a responsive app with a lot of potential for promoting small business.
When the app launches, MilkCrate users will be able to search an extensive database of Philadelphia businesses by neighborhood or keyword. Results will display on a map, including details about the business’s affiliation, as a member of the Sustainable Business Network or a Fair Food Philly partner, for instance.
Morgan Berman, in her last year at Philadelphia University’s Masters of Science in Sustainable Design, created MilkCrate as a real-world spinoff of her thesis project. She designed the mock-ups of the app’s potential user interface herself, along with the branding and visual identity.
As a long-time Philly resident committed to supporting a sustainable and local economy, Berman noticed serious issues with the available resources for finding the types of businesses she wanted to be patronizing.
“There are three different websites that show farmers markets in Philly,” she explained. “There’s no reason that people need to go to three different maps—and god knows which one is the most accurate or updated. … [MilkCrate] is just a way of consolidating information so that the people who really care about this stuff can find it in one easy place.”
She’s calling it “a green Yelp with soul.”
As of now, the app is in its infancy, without seed funding or a committed developer. Berman will be launching an Indiegogo campaign in April, with the purpose of raising the cash to pay a developer to make Berman’s designs a reality. She also pitched at this month’s PhillyStake, a crowdsourced microgrant program.
She is working with a handful of collaborating local nonprofit and for-profit groups that independently work to promote sustainable and local businesses, like SBN, Fair Food and Mayor Nutter’s Office of Sustainability and the Greenworks program, to create the database.
The long-term plan for where the app will live and be maintained is yet to be determined, but will continue to rely upon the collaborative relationship between the partner organization.-30-
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