A while back some tech start ups tried to disrupt how food was sold in cities. As far as I know, these had marginal impact. Why do I say this? Because, by and large, we all still buy our food in supermarkets. But the locavore movement is not dead - to the contrary. Mark Bittman writes about how Vermonters are developing new approaches to CSA to take locally organized food production and distribution to a new level. This sentence gave me some … errr … food for thought
Because the (local city) market can sell all the local produce it can get, it can guarantee purchases from farmers and even sometimes extend payments in advance.
Selling to a market rather than to individuals allows farmers to specialize
Leading to this idea - a local CSA buying coop (or “hub”). It is a nice idea. But notice as well, that it has taken a bit of time for the original CSA idea to evolve to incorporate a hub idea.
FOLLOW - In many markets this does not happen for at least two reasons (1) no exchange platforms for information to flow so firms get trapped into static models, and (2) it is hard enough for small firms just to survive, so there is no time or energy left to think of next steps to build an ecosystem. This has ramifications for how we think about incubation. Incubators that take in firms or people as individuals without investing to build ecosystems are less likely to have impact over time.
2d FOLLOW - As peer to peer working ramps up, the above challenges morph. Traditional thinking is that firms provide more stable data collection and exchange platforms. But if firms start stripping down their workforces to take advantage of savings from peer to peer options, this capacity is likely shrink as well. So we are likely to see a new market niche for ecosystem builders.