Professor’s local food project expands to Florida, a hyperlocal online community on local food founded by Michelle Ferrier, has opened a franchise site in Tampa Bay.

*****, a hyperlocal, hypertopical online community about local food founded by Associate Professor Michelle Ferrier, has opened its first franchise site in Tampa Bay.

Ferrier came to the Elon University School of Communications from Florida, where she developed and managed a hyperlocal online community for a mid-size newspaper. From the lessons learned, she pitched the idea of a community news franchise to J-Lab and the New Media Women Entrepreneurs program.

She was one of three grant awardees in 2009 to receive $10,000 in startup funds from the McCormick Foundation-funded program. launched in April 2010.

Michelle Ferrier

Ferrier will be working with Dana Villamagna, M.S.J., a Tampa Bay journalist and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Eating for Kids.”

“I’m really excited to work with Michelle on this project. I think local is the future not only for food, but also for media,” Villamagna said. “The more we get to know each other and our communities, the more vibrant our societies become. I love food and I love journalism and I think it will be a great community building project.” has also received recent press from The Patterson Foundation, the Reynolds Journalism Institute and the Columbia Journalism Review on the unique hyperlocal, hypertopical cooperative model.

Ferrier plans to expand the local food community concept to other cities nationwide and is in search of local foodies interested in bringing the project to their community. She is also seeking partnerships with hyperlocal news operators seeking evergreen food/eco content for their audiences.

“While we provide hyperlocal content to our readers, we also have an abundance of stories and recipes that help raise awareness about local food and sustainability,” said Ferrier. “We’d like to syndicate some of this timely, geography-neutral content to other hyperlocal news operations and partners.”

For more information about, contact Michelle Ferrier at