I've become somewhat preoccupied with this whole "local food distribution" concept and I've been finding different examples of how folks are doing it in other areas. (I list a lot of what I've found in these previous posts: 1, 2 ).
To my mind there are two big components to a local food distribution system. The first component is allowing local producers and consumers to discover each other. The name I have for this component is the "market". It can take the form of a website or a physical meetup at a farmers' market. The second component is moving the food around the region from producer to consumer. I call this the "T&L" component for Transportation & Logistics. This can range from farm stores where the consumer travels to the site of production, to CSA's or farmers' markets where producers and consumers meet up in the middle somewhere at pre-determined times, up to home delivery where food travels all the way to the consumer's home or business.
For the market side of the equation, I've thought mostly about solutions based on the internet. I'm a bit of a technophile and so that is where my mind turns and I honestly think there is a lot of untapped potential there. There are a handful of solutions that can be used basically "off-the-shelf" to varying degrees. Those would be:
I know a lot less about T&L than I do about websites, so I have not figured this out as well. In my mind one of the basic problems with farmers' markets and CSA's is the fact that you have to meetup in a certain place at a certain time. I realize that this is probably the simplest way to do the logistics and I'm not trying to knock it. But it does seem like there is room for other types of physical distribution to be tried. What about a CSA pickup point that is limited in location but not so limited in time? Or a system composed of a distribution center and delivery trucks that send food directly to the doors of subscribers? What would the minimum order sizes be? What would be the optimal delivery frequency? All questions I'm not well equipped to answer. I was at first inspired, then disappointed hearing about CityCargo that seemed to have a good idea that ended up being cancelled. It may in fact be that the weekly or monthly meetup is the most efficient way of distributing goods from many producers to many consumers - I have no expertise in the field, so I can't really say.
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7 years ago