Open platform for peer-driven food production needs your help

Devin sez,

We need the crowd's help to fund development (or just to find awesome pro-bono developers) of a platform that facilitates peer production driven local food systems. Think Craigslist meets Etsy with the ethos and practices of couchsurfing all about homemade, home grown and artisinal food. We're a small University of Michigan team and having already built and reached the coordination and reputation limits of a local food-exchange email group. We've got 5 days left to hit our all-or-nothing "tipping point" of $8,000 and hopefully reach our goal of $15,000.

Food swapping is a fast growing national movement with over 40 groups consisting of almost 7000 members who conduct P2P swaps in person. This is the same energy behind the decade long growth of local farmers markets, food trucks and organic food. We're aiming to provide better coordination to allow existing communities to begin swapping with people they know and trust and gradually develop reputations within the broader local community, hopefully catalyzing organic growth driven by network effects.

help us build Real Good Food in your community (Thanks, Devin!)


    1. Your right, they’re not really that clear, but I believe they’re looking for the money to create a website to facilitate the exchange. They reference Etsy and Craigslist in the description, both of which are simple markets that could be done with about 20 minutes worth of WordPress work, but if they’re aiming for something a little more sophisticated and creating a true “food economy” then it means having an application whereby I could say, for instance “I make awesome pickled Okra and I will exchange for 3lbs fresh tomatoes or 1 qt of canned peaches” or something like that, or perhaps even using alternative currency system.

      1. Right, but I was wondering about the specifics. Will they be spending it on living expenses? Contracted developers? Server space? If they reach the $15,000 goal, how does the additional $7,000 pay for those extra features?

  1. I’m in! I’ll never drink all the Keifer I make, and come fall I will have way too many Pumpkins. I went a little crazy growing pumpkins.


    Mixed case, please.

    Also – what moshaney said. 

  3. A platform that facilitates peer production driven local food systems?

    I’m pretty sure that’s called a “Farmer’s Market”.

    1. Farmers markets are, well, for farmers. People like myself (and 3 million other Brooklynites) who make pickles and artisan soda syrup at home don’t generally sell their product at places like farmers markets. But if I could trade some of my pickles for some home-brewed beer, or some cheese, that would actually be something I’d like to do. 

  4. I think Michigan State University is already facilitating  peer production-driven local food systems. You can call your county extension office to find out more, even in Ann Arbor.

    1.  MSU has some great stuff going on food-wise as does EMU and we would love to know what specific initiative(s) you’re referring to. So far as we know nothing like this exists yet but there are a growing body of exciting complementary initiatives like cooperative commercial kitchens and regional Food Hubs as well as the food swapping communities

  5. problem is the government regulation and taxation of using regular currency. They could use the local LETS and/or ripple. Credit smooths the market, giving better average return for work, rather than current consumers having as much need as produce.

  6. Hi everyone, thanks for your comments and please keep them coming, we are excited to learn from and incorporate your ideas.

    Waetherman’s comments are spot on, we’re going to need him to coach us on how we explain what we’re doing. Awjt and Kim we are very interested how to better facilitate exchanges without currency but recognize govt restrictions and the convenience of currency, it’s a challenge that will take many iterations.

    1. seriously though. bit interested. not sure how this could legally work in the UK for example. they recently made it illegal here to sell your own veg. so if i was growing some pumpkins in my backyard i couldn’t sell it without a food license/ some hygiene certificates. 

      i think even though you guys are trading without currency it still couldn’t be done over here. correct me if i m wrong.

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