Blockchain technology is coming to the mainstream as a game changer in several sectors, and this includes the entire food industry.
The process of finding out where the food is first produced, what growing method is applied and how many times it changes hands between different wholesalers and brokers before reaching out dinner tables can be very complex that most people have no idea about it. Blockchain provides new levels of transparency to each step, radically changing the way we track and trade food.
Similar to signing a document, cryptographic signatures determine which transactions in the process are valid and what information is true. And because all this data is replicated and stored in thousands of personal computers around the globe connected through the Blockchain, steps and signatures cannot be manipulated or erased and are highly visible.
Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, has reported it is already implementing Blockchain technology in a partnership with IBM to allow its Chinese customers to trace food from farm to plate. Given the number of food scandals China has seen over the past decade, this is a huge step towards holding food suppliers accountable for what they provide.
But what if instead of depending on large scale food suppliers, each of us could grow and share locally produced food creating big communities of mini-farmers trading over the Blockchain technology?
At Gartenzwerg, we want to pioneer the application of Blockchain into local food systems. Our long-term vision is not only to enable local food production on an individual level but also to bring together local producers from community gardens, large scale hydroponic farms, allotment growers and home-growers – regardless of what system they use. We want to enable peer-to-peer trading on a sharing economy model, where Blockchain technology can be used to allow the recipients to track food right back to the primary producer using their smartphones with the same technology behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Imagine having at hand a list of small food suppliers right next door and knowing exactly what variety of food they grow, what methodology they are using, what nutrition their plants receive, how much food they can supply, what trades they have made on a certain time period, etc – with all the transparency you need to rely on locally produced food as part of your daily routine.
Obviously personal indoor gardens will not replace the need of farmers or supermarkets, but will allow them to focus primarily on producing and distributing items that indoor gardens aren’t able to grow yet – such as potatoes or bananas for instance. Therefore leaving the supply of small fruits, vegetables and herbs to the local community. And if all of this can be traced end-to-end at a customer level, we will be able to radically reduce land scarcity, pesticides, transportation, packaging, storage, food waste or even free some supermarkets shelves.
If you’d like to discuss about Blockchain applications in the food industry, personal indoor farming or are interested to become a Gartenzwerg investor, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and pop by our office in Angel, London. We have a Gartenzwerg growing some amazing tomatoes, chillies, rocket and basil right from our desks!