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Technology, interaction and Food

The souls who have long lamented the death of culture, civilization and socialization due to the internet are ostensibly proven wrong by every tweetup, nerdcamp, and flashmob. I'm not sure that the connections that result from online interaction are better than used to happen around the town square, but I do know that the internet has not reached its potential in connecting people around food. Sure, you can make dinner plans and reservations, but we are just beginning to see the potential impact of the internet on our food system. New marketplaces like Foodzie and business to business marketplaces like FarmsReach are changing the way millions of people shop for food. I believe that the connection facilitated by the Internet will make it possible to shop where you do now, in the supermarket and still know the name of the farmer who grew your lettuce, the fisherman who caught your fish and even interact with them just like you can when you trek down to the farmer's market on Saturday.

Here's an interesting take on data, technology and being social by Alex Steffen of Worldchanging:

"There was a time when people thought the Internet would isolate us from one another, that we'd all end up spread out across the landscape in suburban enclaves, too absorbed with television and the Net to want to meet any actual people. A funny thing happened on the way to that asocial future, though: we discovered that the most important thing about the Net is that it connects people, and that connected people tend to want to meet, socialize and work together. Rather than separating us, the Net has made us more social than ever, both online and in the "real" world. In fact, the more connected we are online, the more time we're likely to spend hanging out offline with friends, family and neighbors.

As technology has suffused our cities — think not only iPhones and GoogleMaps, but community ratings of restaurants and shops, real-time traffic reports, smart electrical grids, even hyper-local news sites — it has magnified the feedback loop between online connection and in-person conversation: we're learning that public space and cyberspace are symbionts; technology and physical community fuel each other. The trend is only accellerating. Technology has gotten smaller, spread out and become ubiquitous in urban space. We’re surrounded constantly by data points, sensors, and layered information about everything from transit delays to weather reports to the bar where our friends are having happy hour."

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