EAT Club, which is launching in private beta today, has a unique spin on the way that users get lunch. The service hopes to get rid of all the hassles around waiting in line, paying, and waiting for your food, all with a convenient food truck that serves a variety of foods, and a mobile app to ha..
Want more transparency in the meat you eat? Food+Tech Connect is bringing together technologists, entrepreneurs, creatives, policy experts, non-profit leaders and industry executives to develop technologies and tools that help create a better future for meat. Learn more and sign up at http://bit.ly/ZE7Xs9
Guest post by Mike Caprio (Above: Caprio’s great-grandfather’s butcher shop: Mike’s Meat Market, 157 Wooster St, New Haven, CT)
As a software engineer descended from three generations of butchers, I might be uniquely qualified to answer this question. My perspective as a programmer and general hacker gives me the ability to decompose complex problems into structured solutions; creating an algorithm is almost no different than creating a recipe. And while I’m not a butcher by profession, my overall familiarity with the butchering, preparing, and cooking of meat in its various forms may give me some insight into the “problem domain.”
In order to consider the future of meat, we must first look at its current state. So I’ll start with my “State of the Meat Union,” which may be controversial to some, but I’ll take you through my thinking step by step.
Food+Tech Connect, GRACE Communications Foundation and Applegate are hosting an online conversation, asking leading food and technology innovators: “How can information and technology be used to hack* (or reimagine) the future of meat?”
There has never been more interest in disrupting the way meat is produced, distributed, sold, consumed and communicated to the public, yet significant barriers exist to scaling current solutions. This is why we are inviting thought leaders and the public to better define these challenges and explore ways that data, technology and new communication methodologies can be used to create a more sustainable, profitable and healthy future of meat.
Please join the conversation and share your own ideas or product requests in the guest post comments, on your own blog (send us a link), on Twitter (hashtag #hackmeat) or on Facebook. We will collect all of your ideas into a community “wish list,”** which will serve as an open resource for those looking to develop or fund meat-related technologies.
While the conversation will begin online, we are also be hosting an in-person “hackathon,” an event during which volunteers will self-organize to develop tools and solve problems over the course of 48 hours. “Meat // Hack” will occur December 7 – 9 in NYC and will bring together key stakeholders to present their meat-related challenges and work with entrepreneurs, technologists, creatives, academics and policy experts to rapidly prototype new solutions. Sign-up to participate in the hackathon here.
Join the #hackmeat conversation:
- Mike Caprio, Brainwave Consulting and Startup Bus : A Software Engineer’s “State of the Meat Union”
- Will Turnage, R/GA, Bread Baking App, & Ratio : How Software Could Re-invent Meat Distribution
- Justin Massa and Ben Stanley, Food Genius : “Meat-ing” Customers Where They Are
- Patty Lovera, Food & Water Watch: Breaking Down Policy
- Arlin Wasserman, Changing Tastes : Choosing a Tasty, Sustainable Future of Meat
- Ulla and Melkorka Kjarval, Sheep Dog Print & Design and Spring Lake Farm : Bringing Economic Sustainability to Family Farms
- Bernard Lahousse, Food Pairing : Algorithms for Less Meat, More Flavor
- John Bailey, Top 10 Produce
- Emilie Baltz, Baltz Works
- Helena Bottemiller, Food Safety News
- Dan Carberry, Panera Bread
- Jimmy Carbone, Jimmy’s No. 43
- Carl Disalvo and Thomas James Lodato, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Anya Fernald, Belcampo Inc.
- Jennifer Goggin, FarmersWeb
- Ellen Gustafson, 30 Project
- Garth Holsinger, Working Man Digital
- Naithan Jones, Aglocal
- Melissa Kogut, Chefs Collaborative
- Matija Kopić, Farmeron
- Destin Layne, GRACE Communications Foundation
- Mike Lee, Studiofeast
- Jessica Moore, Philly Cowshare
- Robert Puro, Seedstock
- Kara Rota, Cookstr
- Dick Stoner, Locale Chesapeake
- Ben Walmer, LIMN Architects and Highlands Dinner Club
- Mark Wilhelms, Red Meat Market
*A note on hacking: while many associate the word with a criminal act, “hacking” actually grew out the desire of programmers to explore systems and understand how they could be re-configured or re-programmed to function in new and better ways.
Like the computer software and hardware industries, food and agriculture are highly proprietary industries. And just as the hacking community seeks to understand how a technology works, people are increasingly looking to know who and how their food is produced.
** A huge thank you to Amrit Richmond for inspiring this idea through The Internet Wishlist.
Mark your calendar! From December 7 – 9, Food+Tech Connect, GRACE Communications and Applegate are bringing together technologists, entrepreneurs, creatives, policy experts, non-profit leaders and industry executives for Hack//Meat, the first-ever “meat hackathon” in New York City.
Over the course of the weekend, “steakholders” will work with teams to rapidly prototype innovative solutions to business and consumer education challenges in the way meat is produced, processed, distributed, sold and consumed. Our goal? We want to bring together the best and brightest minds to develop technologies and tools that help democratize meat. Some of the areas we will be tackling include:
Production: Develop tools to help small and medium sized ranchers more efficiently and sustainably manage their herds, process their meat and sell direct to consumers or wholesale buyers.
Health: Reimagine how technology can eliminate or minimize antibiotic use and improve animal health.
Processing: Design ways for processors to more easily demonstrate that they are complying with federal regulations, manage processing demand and access financing.
Distribution: Streamline the process of selling “non-choice” cuts of meat, and improve the efficiency and financial viability of getting meat from farm to buyer.
Foodservice: Make it easier and more affordable for restaurants and foodservice to source sustainable ingredients, as well as to manage supplier adherence to worker and animal welfare.
Consumption: Improve consumer insight research and education on the benefits of sustainable meat and nose-to-tail cooking.
Developers, designers, gamers, marketers, storytellers, academics, farmers, butchers, restaurateurs, policy experts and anyone who is in the business of meat is invited to participate. As always, you can be sure to expect great food, lots of learning and invaluable new connections. We also want to make sure teams are able to actualize your prototypes, so we’re offering cash prizes and consulting services to winning hacks.
Please email Danielle [at] foodtechconnect.com for more information about how you can get involved as an event sponsor.
Last Saturday, a carefully curated group of developers and hackers gathered at Pivotal Labs for Ordr.in’s daylong HackFood event. The theme was food. The plan was to hack. And that was about it for rules.
For anyone that may not be familiar, Ordr.in is an open platform for restaurant menu data that helps restaurants manage their menus online and accept orders, and then offers that data to developers to incorporate in their applications. It recently released a new set of tools for developers that make it easier to use its API, for which the HackFood event was a kind of kick-off celebration.
Red Meat Market aims to be a community where you can come to an event, drink a microbrew, meet a friend and walk out with a box of steaks. It’s a new model for farm-direct meat that the company hopes will capture the attention of a new generation of meat lovers.
Big-name accelerators that provide technology entrepreneurs with mentoring and capital in exchange for equity, like Y Combinator or TechStars, are all the rage for founders. They provide a stamp of imprimatur that can invaluable in attracting investors. Yet as the model matures, the options seem to multiple. We have been following accelerator programs popping up around the country and became particularly interested with the ARK challenge, which launched its inaugural class in August and focuses specifically on retail, logistics and food processing startups.
In May, Foursquare announced a partnership with OpenTable that allowed users to make restaurant reservations. At the time, the service was only available “on the computer.” As one user put it:
Now, the service is available on mobile too…
About 6 million people, or 1.8% of the American population, is involved in production agriculture, according to U.S. Census stats…that’s less than the population of New York City…