With a solar-powered smart farm monitoring system, a farm-to-table social network, and a mobile app, Kakaxi wants to help bring transparency to the food production chain.
One of the things I most loved about the years I spent working at farmers markets was the relationships I built with the people who grew my food. Getting to know the farmers through shopping at their stalls, as well as visiting some of the farms, gave me a great deal of respect for the folks behind my meals.
I believe that building relationships with local farmers and market gardeners can add a whole new dimension to eating, and is an key component of a more sustainable food system, because it can change the way we view food. When you're vested in your local farmers, even if just by buying their products, then food, instead of just being a commodity, becomes a pathway to building community and trust and resilience.
Over the last decade or so, quite a few projects have been launched to try to make stronger connections between consumers, their food, and the farmers that grow it, ranging from a push toward eating more local food (locavore, anyone?) to those working for greater transparency in food production. One new project, currently seeking support on Kickstarter, aims to do that in a whole new way, by leveraging the power of the internet and social networks and smartphones to grow healthy relationships between farmers and consumers.
"Through this social network, farmers will be able to speak directly to their consumers and share information about their farm. In turn, consumers will be able to share their experiences preparing and eating the food." - Kakaxi
The project, called Kakaxi, is essentially a farm to table social network that uses solar-powered farm monitoring devices and an app to more closely connect eaters and farmers, and to "enhance the mealtime experience" by sharing the stories behind the production of the food being served. The smart monitoring device for the farm gathers the farm's "vital statistics," including temperature, humidity, soil conditions, and sunlight, as well as captures and transmits time-lapse photos of the crops and fields for the consumer to view.
Users can share recipes and photos of their food with the app, essentially growing a virtual community around food and eating. While millions are already doing this via other apps (Stop Instagramming your meal and just eat already!), Kakaxi can also allow farmers to easily see what people are doing with the food they've grown, and to get feedback from their customers. The platform also aims to help farmers foster more direct communication with their customers, and could prove to be a powerful means for growing the relationships between local farms and the people who eat their produce.