Across the entire food system, there is power in knowing.
In the last post, we discussed the power public market data would bring to regional food systems. The benefits don’t end there. Researchers, farmers, and consumers will all see big benefits with more transparent food data.
By using a public blockchain to record how much produce an area shipped; be it a region, a state, a town, a farmer, or even a specific field, we would create a data store that would drive endless insights. What is the yield impact of a two-inch difference in rainfall in our region? What is the impact of a new invasive pest? What is the actual yield of this variety vs. that in your farmers’ specific climate and soil? How about all of those things at once? Researchers would be empowered to mash this yield data up with other public data sources, like weather data or satellite imagery, to gain insights without asking farmers to go out of their way to collect, track or submit anything.
As a farmer, there are benefits to a public blockchain as well. You’ll be able to see the concrete results of other farmers' practices. Maybe your growers have been thinking about going organic but were too worried about reduced yields. Or maybe they are skeptical of cover crops saving money on amendments the next spring. Seeing fellow farmers succeed with new approaches does a lot to build your courage to stray from what you have always done. Even if you are using the same practices, accessing concrete information about how your fellow farmer is getting better yields on similar acreage, enables you to know who to buy lunch and ask for tips and advice.
In regional food systems, our end consumers appreciate knowing where their food came from. Consumers love the sense of community and trust in being able to shake the hand of the person that grew your food. By recording the chain of custody on a public blockchain consumers could get full transparency in every step of bringing them food, including the farmer that grew it, the processor who prepared it, and the driver that delivered it. And you could see it as easy as pointing your phone at the label on the produce you just bought. This kind of human insight wouldn’t just build trust in food safety, but also make visible our interdependence on all the people that make up our local communities.
Not just more efficient, better
While we believe in data sovereignty and it should always be up to the data owner how much data they share, sharing specific data attributes publicly would certainly make the food system more efficient, but also do so much more. It would increase the pace we gain that efficiency while also making visible the communities we rely on but can’t see today.
Want to know more?
Curious how we can create a repository of regional food data? See how blockchain is a great answer to fair and responsible collaboration here or why a blockchain is a better place to store your data than a traditional database here.
Want to help? Help spread a good idea, share below and sign up for our newsletter here. If you would like to be part of the collaborative to support a data standardization and blockchain effort for regional food systems you can sign up here. For specific questions, connect with Tony at firstname.lastname@example.org.