August 10, 2005
Infra for food
If we are to re-localise food, a new generation of information systems will be needed as support. Many of today's food systems rely on closed networks in which access to information is controlled by entities (such as supermarkets) that are not keen on cooperatives and localisation. The good news is that open source software for food systems are already emerging. A story in Indymedia shows the People's Food Co-op in Portland, Cascadia, ringing out items on an entirely free open-source point-of-sale system (or POS) - the software needed to run a cash register and manage the pricing of all the items in a store.The story describes the project as a 'world's first', but several commenters list comparable systems that, they say, already exist. The "I was first! No, I was first!" bickering is tiresome, especially considering the vast amount of design work still to be done . We need, for example, to exploit the potential of RFID systems to give citizens far more information about about a product's history (where product = carrot) than might be comfortable for the the company selling it.
Posted by John Thackara at August 10, 2005 08:32 AM