Past and Future of Food Systems Innovation
Caithrin Rintoul
1338

Many great points, but I can’t help but still think…

What we really need from the data mining brain trust more than anything right now is an alternative, flexible/scalable supply chain that “slow” farmers can easily plug into. The B2C ideas like Good Eggs started to go there, but are attacking the issue far too late IMO, by only showing interest in produce and food when ready for distribution, instead of during production phase… which can, as we’ve seen, create less than optimal user experiences all around.

In order to see an umbrella company like Good Eggs or others really stand a chance of survival in this space *and* be scalable to the point of competition, they not only need to curate… they need to build a new model, and then provide farmers and their communities with consistent mentorship, intuitive tools, and accessible resources. Growing food is difficult enough, and most farmers don’t have time in a day to plant all their seeds, let alone figure out yet another way to plug into the distribution grid.

(Bonus points if said imaginary B2C startup makes the legal hurdles of growing good food painless to navigate and/or directly invests in starting new farms or converting old ones, ala Straus Dairy. I can also see this sort of logic working for a meal planning startup who wants to go toe-to-toe with Blue Apron or others.)

By vesting interest at the production level, you’re already ahead of the game, and can potentially pay for loyalty in spades while growing exclusive-to-your-company produce, nevermind the totally built in feel-good PR. (But yeah… supply chain logistics and organizing data while knowing that you’ll still have to literally wait for things to grow is obviously the less glamorous side of food culture.)

In the end, I really believe that the most simple, intuitive, technologically supported, and well organized B2C backend user experience *for farmers* will be the one that effortlessly scales and wins.

…or I as well will eat my shoe.