Michael Rozyne, one of the creators of the international fair trade company Equal Exchange, founded an organization called Red Tomato in 1996. The goals for Red Tomato were to develop a dual purpose non-profit to market sustainably grown fruits and vegetables in the Northeast, and provide nationwide consulting services for regional food system development.
Red Tomato has defined its role as follows:
Connecting farmers and consumers through marketing, trade and education, and through a passionate belief that a family-farm, locally based, ecological, fair-trade food system is the way to a better world and a better tomato.
The Red Tomato that exists now grew out of unsuccessful attempts to operate on a broader geographic scale and create an alternative food supply chain. In 2003 the organization sold the trucks and coolers, and kept the relationships with the customers and farmers. In other words, Red Tomato became a supply chain coordinator rather than a supply chain operator.