making going green easier

Built for touring bands (but perfect for locals), app InBloom finds eco-friendly food and retailers

Built for touring bands (but perfect for locals), app InBloom finds eco-friendly food and retailers

If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you know how hard it can be to find good food in the middle of nowhere. And if you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or just health-conscious, it gets even harder.

New iPhone app InBloom (available for free in the App Store) makes it insanely easy for you to find an eco-friendly eatery, anywhere in the country. Originally designed to help touring bands locate restaurants, shops and even hotels with green products and business practices, InBloom was created and developed by musicians Andy Ross (OK Go) and Eytan Oren (Eytan and the Embassy).

Hungry, but not sure where to find the fair trade, kosher snacks your diet demands? InBloom lets you filter results by categories from restaurants to bakeries, based on both their offerings and the ingredients they use.

“When OK Go is on the road or when Eytan and his band [are] on the road, we’re constantly trying to find food that may have been grown more sustainably or businesses that we’d like to support,” Ross explains in a recent interview with TechCrunch.

The pair developed the app themselves; Ross did all of the programming, while Oren lead the product development, researching and entering all listings by hand.

InBloom makes it easy to find suggested retailers by showing the direction and distance of each result. This is especially great if you’re looking up hotels, B&Bs or camping grounds; you can also search for fuel and charging spots for hybrid vehicles (touring bands: this is where the app will really save you on the road).

“Touring is an inherently consumptive task,” notes Ross, “so basically our desire for a more sustainable future and our needs as musicians sort of combined to make something that would help people find businesses that are good for the world.”

In addition to searching for places that serve local, organic food, you can also see which businesses practice the green lifestyle they preach. InBloom’s gathered information on practices like composting, water efficiency and recycling as well as whether energy-efficient lighting and green building designs are in use.

“We are only featuring businesses that are sustainable, specifically ones that are either organic or locavore,” explains Oren.

InBloom also lists groceries and markets and eco-friendly shops, making the app perfect not just for travelers, but locals looking to bring a little more green into their homes.

A basic search for Austin-area eateries yields suggestions like Eastside Café, Asti and Daily Juice, plus Natural Grocers, Wheatsville and Sweetish Hill Bakery.

So whether you’re on the road and looking for a better option than that rest stop McD’s, or you’d like to explore new local, locavore-friendly spots, InBloom’s got you covered.

Watch Andy Ross and Eytan Oren discuss InBloom: