Cal Poly student launches 'Harvestly' to deliver local produce, goods to people's doorstep
A Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student has turned an idea into reality, launching his own company that makes it easier for people to support and buy from local businesses.
21-year-old Cal Poly student Walter Lafky used to sell tomatoes from his family farm when he was a kid. At 14 years old, he was pretty successful at it — but he ran into challenges getting his produce into people’s hands.
“I observed a lot of issues in the system," Lafky said. "Issues with getting my product to the consumer, and there was really no way to get online and get my products delivered.”
From there, Lafky came up with the idea of using an online platform to connect local vendors to consumers more easily. Now a senior in college, he’s launched his own business that does just that, called ‘Harvestly.’
“Harvestly is basically an online farmers market to help connect local vendors with local consumers and giving consumers the convenience of ordering from all those local vendors and having all those products delivered to their door," Lafky said.
Customers can order things like produce, ice cream, merchandise and meal kits and get the items delivered to their home throughout San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
For customer Maxi Coven, she said she chose the service to help keep money local, especially during the pandemic when she saw so many businesses struggling.
“When I’m in a big supermarket, I have no idea where things came from," Coven said. "And here, I do. I feel good about it, I feel good about the purchase.”
Lafky started the business with just three vendors, but now has more than 160 and growing. His coworkers are mostly all current and graduate Cal Poly Students.
Lafky himself is still a full-time student working towards his degree.
“It’s very challenging," Lafky said. " I often have to be in two places at one time. But I only have a year left, and I’m very determined to graduate.”
Lafky said his plan is to continue to expand Harvestly statewide with an overall goal of making it available nationwide.