Donna Williams has not had the traditional career path. A one-time “Master of the Universe” on Wall Street and in Los Angeles, Williams has become an entrepreneurial powerhouse in the Historic River Town of Athens with Field Goods, a business that connects the consumer with food from small farms on a subscriber basis.
Field Goods began as a result of consulting work that Williams, who has an MBA from Columbia Business School in Manhattan, did on agricultural economic development for the Greene County IDA. The research showed that growing farms and agriculture in the area required improvements in the distribution system for local produce. To quote Williams in an article from her award as one of the Top Women in Business for 2013, “Field Goods was built around the idea of helping farmers grow their business as well as getting product to consumers.”
Since starting her business in 2010, Field Goods has rapidly expanded its workforce and distribution area. The company, which started as a one-person business operated out of her parent’s house, now has 13 employees and continues in expansion mode. Food is sourced from throughout the Hudson Valley, and distribution occurs from Saratoga to Westchester. Field Goods participated in the Greene County Microenterprise Program, and by itself has created more jobs than the goal of the entire grant program.
Subscribers can purchase weekly packages in varying amounts, and the selection varies based on what is in season and available locally. Food can be picked up in various locations, including college campuses, office buildings and stores, and each subscriber gets their own bag of food every week. While offering superior taste and freshness to typical grocery store fare, the Field Goods model virtually eliminates waste, keeping costs competitive with other distribution channels.
As a new take on a traditional industry, Field Goods has filled a market niche while improving the lives of consumers, farmers and workers.