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Window to the Farm

A startup business that boosts food traceability and brings producers closer to consumers. The startup would create a wiki style platform for food providers to share their provenance and information on their products. It would sell kits to schools to enable kids to print off batches of QR code stickers specific to each producer / product for the producer to place on the product / packaging. Enable producers to occasionally offer 'golden ticket' winning QR codes to offer prizes and encourage consumers to read the codes...

Photo of Tom  Hulme
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We could create a startup (perhaps to be founded by a young, web-savvy entrepreneur?), called Windows to the Farm. In this case QR codes would be used to enable consumers to access the producers / product's relevant page on the 'Window to the Farm' site. 

Kara Pecknold gave a great example of a US coffee company 'Ethical Bean Coffee' doing exactly this at the moment - you can see it by clicking here. I managed to find a video outlining their scanner approach that helps bring this approach to life.  

In this case the entrepreneur would build and moderate a wiki that enables producers to create their own page for each product, they could also choose whether to enable consumer ratings on their page.

Smartphones with embedded QR code readers are more and more widespread, this trend is likely to continue through the support for the technology by large companies, including Google.

Bit.ly has a free QR code generator that acts as a hyperlink - you can see this in action by adding a URL into the site here: http://bit.ly/ . Here's one that we made for this challenge: http://bit.ly/localfood-ideas. Bit.ly also enables users to access information on how many people have read the QR code, here is information on the clicks on our link: http://bit.ly/localfood-ideas+ . This information alone would be valuable to producers.

Further to James Mcbennett's idea we could also offer the farms a low cost kit to livestream and enable them to embed the stream on their producer page.  Alternatively farms could perhaps just livestream from the video camera on an iPod to keep costs low?

We could do three things to help scale the idea and drive early adoption:

1) In order to get the idea out there and help the producers set up the site we could leverage Queensland High Schools. Schools would be able to purchase the 'Window to the Farm' QR Code stickers and could print specific QR codes in bulk for the food producers that they work with.

2) In order to drive up the amount that the QR codes are scanned the producers could run competitions – similar to Golden Ticket type approaches. The producers would just need to place a unique ‘Window to the Farm’ QR code sticker on a product occasionally.

3) Invite retailers to broadcast producer pages in their stores (including livestreams if the farms have it)

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO BUILD OFF THIS CONCEPT OR SUGGEST IMPROVEMENTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW - I WILL CHECK IT REGULARLY...

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Photo of Fei

I also agree with this idea. It is a good way to let people know where is the foods come from, and which farm is product.

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