Morgan Berman realized as a graduate student at Philadelphia University that her passion for sustainable living and her trade of design could birth a niche in the Philly commerce community.
MilkCrate, an app released this summer, was created as a tool to connect Philadelphians with local sustainable businesses.
“We found that people want to live more sustainably, but they don’t know how,” Caitlin Honan, media maven at MilkCrate, said.
The app, which has already been released for Android users, was set up with sites like Yelp in mind. Users could see reviews and learn more about what practices the businesses follow to be sustainable.
Berman said in a video on the MilkCrate site that she took the time to research businesses: what they were about and how they practiced sustainable living, as she was learning more about living a sustainable life.
“It was fun, but it took a lot of time,” Berman said.
Berman said nearly 2,000 businesses have been added to the app’s database, following standards of sustainability from organizations like the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, The Sustainable Business Network and The Humane League to bring all of that information to one place.
“We look for things in a business like, ‘Do they compost? Do they offer vegan options?’” Honan said. “We wanted to partner with major sustainability organizations. If [businesses] meet their standards, they will meet ours.”
These standards of sustainability were exactly what drew Sarah Irwin, a senior majoring in finance and entrepreneurship, to the project.
Irwin interned this summer with coPhilly, a crowdfunding accelerator program with a portfolio of startups and businesses.
“MilkCrate was one of the businesses participating in the accelerator, and I loved what they were doing, so I chose to work with them throughout the 10-week program,” Irwin said.
During her time at MilkCrate, Irwin has composed Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts as well as represented MilkCrate at the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market, saying the app acts as a “central digital hub” for organizations that care about sustainable living.
Irwin wants to operate and run her own food truck or restaurant in the Philly food scene, practicing the same standards of sustainability as those on the app.
Camille Ferruzzi, a recent Temple graduate with a degree in advertising, also joined MilkCrate when she was looking on the web for Philly start-ups to get involved with.
Ferruzzi handles creative strategy and business development for the app, and had a hand in starting the organization’s Indiegogo site with the goal of raising $20,000 to go toward expanding the app and spreading it to locations all over the country.
The app has surpassed $5,500 with more than 60 contributors and 21 days left to raise funds
“Our team worked hard to find over 2,000 different businesses and resources in over 20 categories that can help you lessen your carbon footprint and increase your support for companies that share your values,” Berman said.
MilkCrate aspires to reach other cities, especially Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.
The app will be launching soon for the iOS crowd, bringing over 2,000 coffee, clothing, beer, lifestyle and food business together for the earth-minded user.
Paige Gross firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @By_paigegross