Local Food/Tech Landscape
We at FoodHub have become junkies. We were having a heckuva time keeping up with the innovation explosion happening in our sector, so we designed this nifty mental model to help us keep it straight. Local Food/Tech Landscape is an interactive infographic that categorizes local food/technology innovations by their role in a new alternative food system. Start here: Criteria & Caveats.
Criteria & Caveats
Here’s the deal, we totally want to debate the finer points of who goes where and who we missed, etc. (preferably over a locally-sourced libation), so please leave us a comment. We’ll make adjustments, get in touch, chat via our blog, Facebook, Twitter (or ignore you if you’re being snarky or mean). Please take note:
Who’s IncludedThe focus of this infographic is to highlight innovators at the intersection of local food and technology. To be included, there must be:
- Technology integral to the model (just having a snappy website isn’t enough)
- Some minimum criteria or focus on local, sustainable or otherwise “good” food
- Available nationally, or being piloted regionally with an intention to scale
LocalLike most mainstream eaters do, we use the word “local” as a catch-all for local, regional, sustainable, socially responsible, humane, clean, “good” or any relevant combination of specific claims related to production methods. It’s not perfect, but it’s quick and easy and people know what we’re talking about.
Conjecture and HearsayNo, we didn’t vet our categorization through the innovators themselves — we read their sites and available media and asked around, just like a potential customer, investor or reporter would. That said, we’re happy to fix errors, so if we’ve made one, please tell us. Want to add your own conjecture or hearsay? We want to read that too.
No, this isn’t everybody.Not only are innovators and entrepreneurs percolating on new ideas in the local food space daily (it really does feel like the dot com sector circa 1997), there are hundreds of local and regional players we skipped over entirely. Think of this as a starting point, we’d love to hear where it takes you…
None of these ideas exist in a vacuum! Food/technology innovators have symbiotic relationships with colleagues working on other aspects of fixing the food system:
- Our catch-all phrase for the community of practice working to build robust regional food economies, but not buying or selling food themselves. Includes industry suppliers, NGOs, foundations, government agencies, certifiers, trade associations, academic/research institutions, extension offices, media, etc.
- Shared Missions
- Although we’re highlighting food system solutions that are (intended to be) financially self-sustaining, there are important causes that require strong advocacy and policy support, such as farm to school/hospital, food justice/sovereignty, farmworker rights and training, rural economic development, regional resilience, transparency, traceability, and food safety.
- Producer Support
- Supply is where it’s at! Keeping farmers successfully on their land is a vital mission that will feed us all. Applause to all those working on new and beginning farmer training, access to capital, succession planning, land links, business advising, GAP and HACCP certification preparedness, broadband access and the like.
- Food may be the new green, but the debates over inputs and intended outcomes lead back to the same wells: water quality and scarcity, soil health, biodiversity, clean energy, waste management, farmland preservation, population growth, yields, globalization and climate change, to name a few.