Bitcoin is one of the most well-known applications in the field of internet technology and computer science. It is not only used for purchasing items online, but individuals and institutions are utilizing this technology to transform the food industry. The Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative, a collective of small-scale livestock farmers in Arkansas, is using a supply chain tracking system called Provenance that is powered by blockchain technology to trace their products. This supply chain tracking system does not have anything to do with cryptocurrency, but it is using the powerful tracking mechanism of bitcoin to smoothen the co-op’s processes.
Provenance is a London-based company founded in 2013. Ever since the company was conceived, it has helped a lot of small-scale companies all over the European Union including fishermen, winemakers, and food manufacturers. It is no surprise that farm co-ops such as the Grass Roots Farmer’s Co-op is also using it to streamline their processes.
How Can Blockchain Technology Help Farm Coops
Many people think that blockchain is a shady technology but it is much more than cryptocurrency, its database is permanent once it is entered, making every transaction traceable when applied to consumer products. According to Jessi Baker, Ph.D. in computer science and founder of Provenance, small food companies who want to trace their products can use blockchain technology as a third-party verification so that they don’t have to undergo expensive auditing processes.
How It Helps Small Farm Co-ops
Blockchains can hold data that is immutable so changing information within the database is very hard to do. The information in the database is put directly in so that people who are involved in the transaction can see it. For instance, if a member of the farm co-op raises chicken for chicken legs, they can put the conditions the chicken was raised in as well as other pertinent information in the database and then delivers the information along the supply chain until the product is sold to the end-consumers.
Bitcoin & Blockchain Equals More Transparency
Aside from pertinent information about the product, other information such as certification of their products can also be entered into the database. This makes it easier for consumers to scrutinize the product and it gives people access to a paper trail for transparency. So, when you pick up a bag of apples at your local grocery store, you can scan a QR code on the package, so you can pull all the information that you need about the product that you want to buy.
Setting Expectations With Consumers
With elevated product transparency, the blockchain technology also sets expectations to consumers about the condition of the products that they have bought from start to finish. Consumers are guaranteed that they are buying certain products from quality sources. This prevents many food companies from making fraudulent and misleading claims. This increases the credibility of companies that are involved in using this technology. It is definitely a win-win solution for both food manufacturers and consumers.
Inspired by modernfarmer.com