Friday, May 22, 2009

More proof that the Internet is allsome.

In an article in today's Wired, the magazine highlights a Bay Area start-up with an aim to connect small farms to restaurants through a type of social networking site.

With a suite of mobile apps for use in restaurants and on farms, FarmsReach wants to create an online food marketplace that would directly connect farms with restaurants.

“The food supply industry is ripe for ‘disintermediation’ because of the internet,” said Alistair Croll, a startup consultant working with FarmsReach. In other words, middlemen beware: Food could undergo a transition like the one that swept through classified ads, air travel and dozens of other industries.

If it catches on, this could be a boon to farmers, restaurants and eaters everywhere. But I say why limit it to restaurants. Wouldn't connecting smaller, local grocery stores make as much, if not more, sense?

Better to get this good food directly to people's stomachs at the lowest cost possible, which usually doesn't involve a chef's expertise and a wait staff. I love to eat out as much as the next person, but I'd much rather be able to get good produce from a local farm at my neighborhood grocery store for when I missed the weekly farmer's market. Maybe there is already an answer to this that has to do with distributor contracts or bullshit USDA regulations?

Still, this is great news. Maybe with the help of the Internet, my favorite burrito places can afford to use local produce and meat and keep costs low. And then I won't feel guilty for supporting CAFOs and Big Agribusiness when I'm eating my second Super Burrito al Pastor on the day.

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