May 22, 2009

Wired Magazine Features Student Project "Squash & Vine"

From Wired Magazine

Food Web, Meet Interweb: The Networked Future of Farms

By Alexis Madrigal

...Other startups are trying to put more information in the hands of consumers, too. Three students at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Information are trying to create a social network, Squash and Vine, to connect farms, retailers and food consumers....

Squash and Vine’s founders don’t want to supplant the current distribution infrastructure, but they do want to simplify things for consumers and farmers. Their site (still in the concept phase) is based on extensive research carried out by the site’s co-founders Shawna Hein, Hazel Onsrud and Aylin Selcukoglu in completing their master’s degrees at the Berkeley Information School.

Farmers have a hard time updating web pages they found, so they’d create audio updates that could be called in from the field. Consumers don’t always know what’s in season, but someone usually does, and there would be avenues to spread that knowledge....

“People want things that are convenient and easy for them,” said Onsrud. “They don’t necessarily want to have to go out of their way. If they knew where more of the information was, it wouldn’t be as big of a hurdle.”

To get increased adoption of new food behaviors, though, they’ll need a lot of users from up and down the supply chain. Without obvious monetary or other incentives, they could face the standard Web 2.0 dilemma: Without users, the site isn’t valuable and the site isn’t valuable without users.

But even if it starts small, the efforts could have an outsize effort in demonstrating what how the interwebs could change the food web....


Last updated:

October 4, 2016