We hear it all the time: “If you bought it, a truck brought it.” The average bite of food in America traveled more than 1,500 miles to your plate, which usually means across multiple state lines. The other day I met a trucker hauling eggs from Iowa to Maine, he’d just run his 18 wheeler up onto a barricade to avoid a collision. I shared some of my chocolate with him as he was quite shaken, and deeply relieved that none of his eggs had broken. Food-safety scares, recalls, and broken eggs are just the start of the structural weakness of such a transportation-heavy food supply. But how do we shift over to a new system? The answer: little, medium and big farmers working together to fill a truck, fill an order, and deliver to the loading docks of existing buyers and new buyers of locally grown foods.
Our current food system is dominated by mega-corporations specialized, vertically integrated, with hyper-efficient sleek fleets of trucks. What’s emerging to replace it is a national network of regional food distribution businesses, each serving the needs of its producers and customers, match-making, hustling and finessing the ground-game logistics. In cities and counties across America, these food hubs, distribution portals, web-based CSAs, buying clubs, and CO-OPs are presenting the alternative possibilities for a more durable and appropriately scaled food delivery system. Let’s keep our dollars closer to home, employ more people, meet deadlines, nurture soil, and most importantly: eat the food where it’s fresh!
In a trip to Eastern Carolina Organics, Our Land learns how new distribution systems are being built today.
Here is an open source forum where we are brainstorming the functionality and context for a fully distributed, open-source supply-chain management software. If we want to take down the Big Boys we’re going to need adaptable, open-source, modular software for the small guys to get medium sized. Lets use the models we have to expand fluency across the system.
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