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.