A group of livestock farmers in Arkansas, supported by Heifer USA, is using cutting-edge technology to let you know where your dinner comes from. The small-scale, forward-thinking suppliers of Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative are the first in the United States to use blockchain technology to trace their products from farm to fork, with the aim of giving consumers more confidence in the origin and quality of the meat they buy.
Already a mainstay in the financial sector, blockchain technology allows for public verification of information in the food chain. Shoppers and diners will be able to scan QR codes on Grass Roots products to learn where the meat came from and how the animals were raised. The “digital history” of the meat will also include stories of the people — from farmer to butcher — who contributed in crafting the final product.
“Americans have an increasing interest in better understanding what they’re eating. According to the 2016 Label Insight Study, 83 percent of consumers want more information about what’s in their food, and I totally believe it,” said Cody Hopkins, Grass Roots general manager and founding member. “When I learned about this technology, I thought ‘this is the solution.’ It’s the perfect way for Grass Roots to offer folks total transparency. [UK-based technology company] Provenance has developed a platform that levels the playing field for small-scale farmers and puts information directly in consumers’ hands.”
Grass Roots embraced technology as a way to boost food quality and customer service. Heifer USA’s Advisory Board Chair, Pierre Ferrari, commented, “Our farmers are innovative, always looking for ways to incorporate the latest technology that ultimately create real value to the consumer. Partnering with Provenance and the Golden Gate Meat Company is another example of how proactive they are in wanting their customers to know where their food originates. It’s only a matter of time before this becomes ‘best practice’ throughout the industry.”
San Francisco-based Golden Gate Meat Company, a purveyor of Grass Roots products, will debut the first trial of this technology today, giving customers the opportunity to use these advanced tools in stores. Additionally, Grass Roots meats are available for purchase online and can be found in restaurants and retailers across the country.
For more information about their foods and traceability measures, visit grassrootscoop.com
About Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative
Grass Roots is a small-batch meat company working to restore consumer confidence in the integrity of their food. We believe it shouldn’t be so difficult to understand what you’re eating and how it was raised. And that’s what sets us apart—ridiculously high standards and transparency from pasture to plate. We empower consumers to ask questions because we want them to understand the differences between farms and factories and why scale is a critical component of animal husbandry, environmental stewardship and food safety.
About Heifer USA
Heifer USA works with small-scale farmers to help them transform their communities. Farms become strong, community-focused businesses that support their families and spark economic growth in rural America. With hands-on learning and access to livestock and horticulture experts, we teach farmers how to grow their sustainable farm enterprises and connect to steady markets while caring for the Earth. We invite the public to join the work that directly aids our project at Heifer Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts, and Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas.
Provenance is a platform that empowers brands to take steps toward greater transparency by tracing the origins and histories of products. With its technology, users can easily gather and verify stories, keep them connected to physical things and embed them anywhere online.
Golden Gate Meat Company
The Golden Gate Meat Company is a family owned and operated business that has been distributing natural and organic meats to wholesale customers – including fine restaurants, culinary institutes, caterers, and hotels – in San Francisco Bay area since 1977. They also run an old-fashioned butcher shop and charcuterie in the Ferry Building Marketplace that offers natural and organic beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry, wild game, offal and smoked meats.