Design masters thesis about connecting local producers to community cooperatives

Hi Food Shift Community!

This is my first post and I am currently working on my masters where I started exploring food citizenship, local food ecosystems, and how design can help transition to a more resilient food system. During my research I talked with creative communities in Sweden’s alternative food networks including solidarity buying groups, food coops, and urban farmers. I totally acknowledge that I have an incomplete picture of the current state of affairs in Sweden but it got me on the right path.

I have been asking the question: How might we create tools/space/experiences that facilitate collective action to support a local food economy/ecosystem?

I am working with a vertical farming startup in Umeå as well as with the local REKO-ring to explore how to answer the question I posed above. I am currently developing a concept that centers around Growing Communities Food Zone framework for how cities can feed themselves.

The concept I have been exploring is a coop that has a community supported urban farm that facilitates an alternative route to market for other local farms while providing the infrastructure for food cooperatives to have the space to process bulk orders. Essentially an urban farm coop for members to participate in growing (or have a say in what is grown), enable small food coops, and temporary drop-off/pick-up point for local producers. Not a full blown coop store or a solidarity buying group, but somewhere in between the two. Could there be a digital platform that facilitates this?

I envision a way for communities to be a part of growing their own food while also having access to other local producers and bulk quantities to staple goods. The savings made on buying staple goods in bulk could offset the higher prices of the other local produce. The core idea being to encourage and explore collective action within the local food ecosystem.

Does the community here have any knowledge of similar projects or past projects that can be of help in this exploration? Any and all feedback is extremely welcome!

Thank you!

Lukas Flynn

Hi Lukas, I’ll paste my reply from Slack below:

Great to hear from you! We have been exploring ideas in this direction for some time. How do we not only facilitate local collective action but how do we also accelerate the transition where many local initiatives link up and become truly an ecosystem. What tools are needed to enable this transition, the scaling up of local? We believe there is a need for a distributed agent centric logistics platform that allows for a flow of value between agents. Value can represent both goods and services, agents can represent both physical individuals and groups of all kinds - local coops, wholesalers, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. An open platform facilitating this flow of value. We have been looking at the Valueflows vocabulary and the REA (Resources Events Agents) model as described here:

Value Flows is a set of common vocabularies to describe flows of economic resources of all kinds within distributed economic ecosystems.

And, we have been digging deep, learning the agent centric application platform Holochain:

Some initial thoughts have been written down by @zaunders here:

I am in contact With Wael who is a prominent networker for the benefit of olive oil farmers i Palestine. Hope he will want to connect here.

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thanks Tim to establishing the connection to the similar narrative to the one I am involved with. and NRP decided to come together with and me as catalysts to develop valueflow accounting and management software based on justice and a planetary economic permanence and we have chosen the modeling project for the software, which is the field of regenerative farming sector, in particular, the olive oil production in Palestine. We aim to establish a non-profit social startup that will develop the economic space and activities around this aspiration.

It would be great if we can meet online and exchange insights about our projects and see any potential for collaboration and learning.

Furthermore in this summery and included presentation and material

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