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Breadly: Building Communities Around Local Food Sharing

Breadly is an social app that helps people share craft food with their community - a virtual farmers' market!

Photo of Paul Hamill
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Breadly LLC

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Colorado's Front Range (a.k.a. the Front Range Urban Corridor)

What country is your selected Place located in?

United States of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

The Breadly team and our partners and advisors all live in the Colorado Front Range.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Colorado Front Range is a region of Colorado that contains urban areas, rural farmland, and wilderness. Colorado is a "breadbasket" that produces large amounts of food, including crops, livestock, garden produce, processed foods, and health products. The Front Range has long been a hub for people who are interested in healthy living, health foods, and craft foods. More recently, it's also been a focal point for innovation in technology and social progress, including Internet companies, organic foods, cooperative agriculture, and progressive social policies. It's a perfect place to launch Breadly.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The American food system provides abundant food to the country. Farmers and the food-producing industry are highly efficient. There is no lack of calories in American society! However, the system does not emphasize healthy, fresh, local foods. The majority of Americans eat packaged foods that were produced and processed many miles away. They do not produce their own food. In some areas, simply getting fresh vegetables or foods is difficult - there are "food deserts", where the only nearby food options are mass produced and packaged, or fast food. Colorado is fortunate to have a robust culture of farmers and producers who provide healthier alternatives, such as locally grown vegetables, free range livestock, organic products, and locavore markets and restaurants. Even so, healthier "small batch" foods often cost more than mass-produced products. Craft food producers and small brands are challenged to market and sell their products without the resources that large companies have. The challenge is connecting local food makers with consumers. Breadly aspires to enable people who want healthier foods to find and connect with the local food makers who want to provide it to them. In other words, a social network focused on the theme of people making and sharing food with each other.

It's difficult to predict changes from the present time to 2050, but they are likely to be significant. They may include global environmental changes, population shifts, and probably a more sustainable, energy efficient economy. These changes will challenge the industrialized food economy. Transporting food long distances, processing it in factories, wrapping it in plastic, and keeping it in cold storage will become more expensive. The model of locally sourcing and sharing food will be more economically viable.

Let's imagine June, a 50 year old woman with grown children, living in a medium-sized city such as Pueblo, Colorado in the year 2050. Compared to Pueblo in 2020, there are four times more people, less personal space, and fewer personal vehicles. People live closer together and usually get around by bike, on-demand electric car, or train. June lives in a housing cooperative on the east side of Pueblo. To buy food, she rides her cruiser bike 3/4 mile to a nearby supermarket and loads the baskets of her bike with provisions. Much of the food in the store is sourced nearby. June is a gluten-free vegan. (Real meat is very expensive.) Bringing her food home, she spends the evening making 10 jars of vegan stir fry. Her food is packaged in glass jars that people can reuse. She uses Breadly to offer her stir fry in exchange for other dishes made by people in her community. Within 15 minutes she has arranged swaps of most of her jars. Over the next few hours, friends stop by to swap food, or a delivery bot drops it by. Everybody's happy with their delicious, fresh local food made by a neighbor!

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Breadly will use technology to help local food makers and consumers connect with each other. This app will be a digital farmers' market (or vegetable stand, or bake sale) with the convenience, immediacy, accessibility and ease of use of a mobile app. It works similarly to other social apps such as Instagram or Facebook. People make connections with others based on invitations, referrals, or discovering people near you. Breadly is focused on people's personal relationships with food and their community. It will ask users about their dietary preferences such as preferred foods, diets, allergies, food preferences, and favorite dishes. Users can post "offers" or "asks" for food items. For example, searching for "gluten-free bread" is an "ask", while posting that you are making a batch of organic granola is an "offer". Like Uber matches riders with drivers, Breadly will match offers with asks, i.e. makers with consumers. Breadly will be a virtual marketplace and community hub for local food exchanges. It will be more efficient than the mass market food system. Food products can be made on short notice, use reusable packaging, travel short distances, and be consumed fresh.

Local craft foods aren't just fresher than processed foods, they are also more delicious and enjoyable. People making small batch foods often use better ingredients and put more care into their products than mass produced foods. They have pride in their products. They are proud to feed their community and enjoy receiving positive feedback from people they know. One of the great joys of the Community Food Exchange is people taking time to proud describe their recipes, the ingredients they use, and seeing others enjoy their wares. 

Breadly will empower people to create their own small businesses and micro-brands. Making and selling homemade food has always been a way for people to help support themselves and their families. Breadly will be a powerful tool for people to become food makers and make some extra income. Commercially inclined users can create significant business using the Breadly platform. It will also be a amazing venue for personal chefs, nutrition coaches, caterers, makers of speciality foods (such as wedding cakes or special holiday or ethnic foods), and others who are providers not associated with the industrial food chain.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Using Breadly, people will have a great tool to find and consume amazing local food products. The app will be aware of peoples' location, food preferences, social connections, and will present them with local, currently available foods. It will allow users to ask their community to help obtain specific foods. Rather than centrally managed and distributed food, a new, disruptive ecosystem of flexible, interpersonal food production and distribution will emerge. The diversity, efficiency, and availability of healthy food products will grow. Food makers will not have to be concerned with scaling their products to sell to a mass market, investing in commercial-grade, shelf-ready packaging, large scale marketing and advertising, or modifying their recipes to allow time for transportation or extended storage. The food system can be positively disrupted to move back towards local foods exchanged by individuals rather than impersonal mass production. There will be more recognition, pride, enjoyment, and community around food - and better food for everyone!

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The Colorado Front Range of 2050 will have a population and density similar to the California of 2020. Today's 5 million people may have grown to 20 million. Most of the interurban spaces that are farmland or open space today will be used for developed purposes such as housing, commercial uses, and transportation. Fossil fuels and plastics will be a thing of the past. Ecological and economic changes will affect the whole world in ways that are hard to predict. Society will probably rely more on local, renewable resources, sustainable practices, and less on energy-inefficient practices like mass production, long distance supply chains, single-use products and refrigeration. Colorado will have a thriving economy due to its large area, abundant solar and wind energy, and the fact that it will not be inundated by sea level rises. Individuals in the Front Range are likely not to enjoy all the personal space and abundant resources of all kinds that we do today. Technologies such as bioengineering, AI, self-driving vehicles, or 3D printing are likely to shift production methods to highly efficient "just in time" production and delivery of all kinds of products.

Community is equally as important to human health as food. People need positive connections with other people. Modern America can be socially distant. People pay more attention to their screens than each other. Neighbors in the same neighborhood or building often don't connect in person. Throughout human history, food has been one of the central elements of social events. From family dinners, to holiday festivals, to community cooking groups, people gather and make joyful connections over food. People already use social networks such as Instagram, Etsy, and Facebook to share their love of food. Breadly will help build positive community between neighbors by connecting people near them who share similar food interests, or have complimentary offerings and asks for particular food items. Breadly's founders have been inspired by the Community Food Exchange movement in Boulder. CFE members are people who share similar dietary preferences (such as Vegan, Keto, and Gluten Fee), are home chefs, and want to trade fresh made foods with others. Meeting regularly to swap jars of homemade foods, everyone benefits not only by enjoying a wider variety of dishes, but also by the joy of sharing food with friends. What if every community had ad hoc networks of people who regularly traded dishes? People would benefit nutritionally and have lots of fun doing it.

Breadly's vision touches on several of the Food Vision Prize themes: Diet, Technology, and Economics. Breadly will be a multifaceted community of communities, with aspects of social networks, online marketplaces, search engines, health apps, or even dating apps. Our explicit goal is to help people make friends and create businesses by creating a local food sharing economy. Creating community and making money are positive social impact intentions. Helping people make and share food is not only altruistic and fun, it's healthy. The first version of Breadly will resemble Instagram or Etsy, but focused specifically on food. Not just food for sale, but food swaps, with intelligence about people's social connections, diet preferences, and health needs. Our experiences with the Community Food Exchange movement have shown us how people love to make high quality food for each other, share it, and learn healthy recipes and practices. We know this will take off and people will love participating in it. It's particularly important to us that this vision is accessible to people who can be at a disadvantage economically or socially, such as senior citizens and kids. Why are communal dinners popular with older folks? Why are bake sales popular at schools? Both are real-world, ad-hoc communities around sharing food.

Much as many people today have become accustomed to pulling out their phone to hail a ride, get a room, or find a business, Breadly will help people to find food near them that meets their dietary preferences and is available now. People who make food can offer their products to their neighbors. People who want particular foods can ask for them. Breadly will enable finding foods, rating the products, profiling ingredients, communicating with makers and groups, and more mundane details like payment and delivery. This model of nutrition "asks" and "offers" will have many positive effects: Helping people make friends local to them. More efficient production and sharing of foods. People sharing ingredients, recipes, and teaching each other how to cook. Less need for wasteful food practices such as producing and throwing away excess, shelf-ready packaging, refrigeration, and transporting food from farm to factory to store to consumer. More healthy food practices such as locally sourced ingredients, food made and consumed fresh the same day, on-demand production, personalized recipes, and knowing the exact source of your food.

Breadly is a movement that can happen now - there is no need to project out 30 years to implement this vision. We hope to work with you to make this happen!

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dr. Kelly Gehlhoff

As a Pueblo resident and food innovation leader your narrative really grabbed me... Let's stay in touch. Dr. Kelly

Photo of Paul Hamill

Thank you Dr Gehlhoff, really appreciate your support!

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