Seasonal Harvest is an app with transformative potential, but also with some potential problems that are significant. The slogan is “Eat locally! Eat Green! Find out what produce is in season in your area.” The app encourages users to “become a Locavore!” and helps the user to determine what locally grown produce is in season in your area. It also helps search for recipes and nearby farmers markets.
To follow the rhythm of nature is not only good from an environmental perspective as less energy and less/no pesticides is needed to grow the food. So far it has also been the best way to ensure a personal relationship as you can meet and visit those providing the food. However, to only focus on local production runs the risk of promoting less environmentally sustainable food (in many parts of the west food requires a lot of energy and pesticides even though it is a seasonal harvest) compared with food grown where there is lots of sun. It can also deprive people in developing countries moving out of poverty of the income they need. Over time local focus can also support different degrees of xenophobia where things from other places are seen as strange or even dangerous.
I don’t know who developed “Seasonal Harvest Lite”, but more information about the app can be found
The best with the app/supporting initiative
+ It helps support the move from an anonymous product to “story chain” from farm to fork that makes food something more than just a commodity where only price/brand is used as a differentiator in the grocery store.
The weak parts of the app/supporting initiative
- No clearly visible information that it is not always the best option (from an environmental and poverty perspective) to buy locally produced food.
- No information about the different impacts of different kinds of foods. Red meat is for example almost always bad to buy from the perspective of environmental, animal rights, land use, health reasons etc.
What could accelerate this app/supporting initiative into a world changer?
> To include a “moving the sun” perspective and a poverty reduction perspective. Include information about the need to think global and act local.
> Support communication between farmers and others in the food value chain.
> It could also include links to fair trade shops and present fair trade products that are in season.
How direct is the delivery of the result the app tries to achieve
- Long shot
If people get inspired and want to learn more about the history of the food they buy they can understand the power we have to make significant changes as consumers (compared with energy, transport and other areas where the power of the consumer are more limited due to the underlying infrastructure needed to deliver sustainable solutions in those areas).
How transformative is it
- A new world
- A major shift
- A bit of a shake-up
- A gentle rocking
Making the broader consequences of our food choices visible is important, the question with this app is the context as the current approach is so limited that it can be transformative in a way that would not support a sustainable development. Instead of a sustainable global food system the app could support a protectionistic development that is neither good for the planet nor the poor.
How much does it encourage collaborations
How much are new networks supported
- Strong support for global networks?
- Currently encourages new forms of collaboration
- Provides interesting opportunities in the future
- Restricted to a small (expert) group
Not much today, but the potential to link consumers with farmers is significant. The potential for people to come together and order larger amounts of food is also interesting.
What synergies can be delivered
How well does it also solve other problems/generate solutions
- It solves everything
- Several important challenges
- Some important challenges
- Only one challenge
As agriculture will be key for much more than food in the future the understanding of sustainable food supply will be key. Fertile soil will be needed for everything from biomaterial to energy, often at different stages of the same product.
Nine billion contribution
How global is it? Is it helping/will it help everyone on the planet
- Instant global equality
- Almost global
- Getting (incrementally) global
- Not applicable
With the current approach it is easy to exclude the poor on the planet and ignore where it is best from an environmental perspective to grow food. The current unsustainable food system should not be used to push for a suboptimal system, just because it is better then the current system.
Building on current trends
How well does it use current trends
- The app is setting new trends by itself
- Building on multiple trends
- Effectively building on one trend
- Not really building on any major trend
Increased interest of what we eat in society is something that can be used to help people understand more about the complexity of the food system.
How fast can it deliver
- It's already happening
- In the coming weeks
- In a year or so
- In a distant future (hopefully)
By selecting locally produced food and interacting with farmers and grocery stores a change in the food system can be supported.
Does it support transformative transparency
- Brave new transparency
- Transparency that is innovative (never seen before)
- Increased transparency, but nothing innovative
- No increase in transparency
Much more can be done to create increased transparency, but starting to meet people with a direct relation to the farm is often a good first step.