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Locavored at Scale

Over the past months the team that came together after the OpenIDEO Local Food challenge to launch The Locavore Edition have been busily assembling the pieces for a scalable version of their field guide for local produce concept.

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Over the past months the team that came together after the OpenIDEO Local Food challenge to launch The Locavore Edition have been busily assembling the pieces for a scalable version of their field guide for local produce concept. The first step in this process was the development of a self initiated publication 'The Field Guide to Victorian Produce' for the Australian southern state of Victoria. The proceeds from this first prototype publication have underwritten the development of future versions using a more collaborative and scalable approach.
 
The team have set about the creation of a kit of parts that are both easily customised and sufficiently accessible (online) to allow other collaborators from different global locations to initiate their own version of the project – which would be realised as a set of matching guide books for various states and provinces and a searchable website using a consistent format across all locations.
 
The principle is not complex: to map and publish an accessible website, guidebook and apps that 'reconnect producers and consumers' – the core pursuit of the OpenIDEO Local Food Challenge. The challenging aspect of this project has been the methodology required to gather often scattered, inaccessible or tightly held information – what is being grown, where and by whom – and the way in which data from different locations can be unified so that a measure of consistency and cross-navigation is possible. Over time with the suited approach, many different locations could ultimately be unified as a searchable database for a national or international independent food search engine.
 
Alongside this process for mapping, the team have developed an interchangeable brand and flexible design aesthetic, design templates, editorial guidelines, an online submission process utilising interview forms and a surveysystem to gather both profile information and sector data from growers and producers. Together all of these components form the necessary kit of parts to develop 'The Field Guide of Anywhere's Produce".
 
A key attribute of the project is that growers and producers are included at no costs based on a set of selection criteria embedded with the survey process - elevating growers with a commitment to sustainability, conservation, accessibility, collaboration and regionalism. Much of the content is accessed through a crowdsourcing campaign – an open and egalitarian process of recommendation and submission.
 
Putting this into action there are two more editions in development within Australia (New South Wales and South Australia) and the first international prototype using the shared production process for the City of Vancouver and province of British Columbia. The model in BC is that a local design studio will manage the project and recruit local research volunteers to compile necessary lists and drive research. The design will be customised to reflect local conditions – mainly through the commissioning of photography or illustrations.
 
Each new version of the project will be partially funded by crowdfunding (Pozible in Australia, IndieGoGo in BC) with book sales and sponsorship also contributing. A percentage of overall revenue returns to the base operation to manage online growth and development and continue developing new parts for the kit.
 
We're excited about the global possibilities of this scalable model. If any of the switched-on global OpenIDEO community are keen to explore collaborating in earnest on a version from their part of the world – check out Locavored and contact me: ewan[at]locavored.com – to be part of the future of food! And stay tuned for updates here as we roll out in more locations...

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