Real Time Farms
The premise behind the app is that we would like to know where our food comes from, all things being equal, and that restaurants and the producers of food have an incentive to pass that information along to us. Food transparency has a high value.
The founder of Real Time Foods, Karl Rosaen, and his wife Cara Rosen, are aggressively growing the business with a growing team. I met Lindsay-Jean Hart at the event as well, another team member.
The application provides the tools so that food can be made more accessible at every step in the food chain, from farm to our plate.
The screenshot above (click to expand) shows several steps in the food chain: Zingerman’s Roadhouse, an Ann Arbor restaurant, is a client, and they source food from various farms and food artisans, shown along the right hand margin. This linkage between farms, food artisans, and restaurants means that you could potentially know where every bit of food at Zingerman’s comes from, and likewise for the Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory, where Zingerman’s gets tortillas.
The team told me that they are at work on a lot of innovative new features, as well as launching an internship program that will lead to a more aggressive expansion, and adding more organizations to their rapidly expanding data set.
The site can also be used to find local farmer’s markets, and their data set carries more detailed information than others programs, I was told.
I am excited to see another polished tool focused on food tech. The execution is tight, the design is intuitive and pleasing, and the company’s plans are exciting. Like most geolocal applications, the map has to be fairly comprehensive to get users to use it or to come back, so the notion of fanning out ten dozen interns to get farms, artisans, restaurants, and farmer’s markets signed up is a good one, and a necessary precondition to general use.
In the meantime, Real Time Farms is moving ahead technically and operationally, heading toward a massive database of food and the connections between sources in the food chain, something we, as informed consumers, really need.
I am looking forward to the day, in the not too distant future, where I will sit down at a NY noodle bar for lunch, and I will see Real Time Foods information inserted in the menu next to every dish, and reprinted on the check, as well.
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Web anthropologist, futurist, author. My focus is the future, and the tectonic forces pushing business, media, and society into an unclear and accelerating future. (More.)
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GigaOM Research analyst and curator.
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