Idea:Food Computer Network - Blockchain Food Data


TL;DR:Decentralizing farms and grocery stores.

Hey everyone! I had an idea bouncing around for a while and I’d like to share it with you. I actually thought of this before I found OpenAG, but I think that this is the perfect tech to do it with.

Basically, my idea is to have a system where individual households are incentivized to grow their own food and sell/share it with their community. I think that this could be really powerful in stopping the food desert issue and could also solve some of the environmental issues related to large farms.

People would have a food computer (they could actually grow however they want, but this would be the best way) and an app. The app would tell them the demand of various produce items and people would grow what needed to be grown. The app would also include a marketplace that would allow people to buy and sell produce.

I’m biased because I work in blockchain, but I think that tokenizing this would be really interesting. We could solve the chicken/egg problem by rewarding early users that sell on the platform. We could also cut transaction fees of the marketplace.

What are your thoughts on this? Would love to discuss!

Food Safety and your Food Computer

Hey @Webb.Peter I saw that you had a bunch of really good input around the site, I would love to get your opinion on this!


Couldn’t agree more. The one fatal flaw to this is safety/regulation. That’s not to say it can’t be done - it’s actually why I think “open source food” is going to be the next organic. What if ingredients were on your produce? What if I knew the inputs and conditions my food had experienced? The trick comes is a method of measuring the quality and safety of each input. If the “Device” did this for the grower, and had a way to guarantee safety/quality to a standard, then I think you’d have the opportunity to make a real impact.

To do any of these great ideas we have to begin the network. That’s why we’re starting with creating the community of growers and seeing what that organically grows into as our first step. I see schools as a great point of entry to households and if a kid brings home lettuce for dinner and explains hydroponics, that’s certainly a conversation starter.

Keep explaining your idea - I’m interested to know how serious you are and what your experience has been so far.

Thanks for reaching out - tag me anytime. You’re on the right path.



Question, what stops the grower from modifying the readings from the sensors? This is actually something I’ve struggled with before working on blockchain.

There’s something called a Blockchain Oracle, which takes data from the “real world” and puts it onto the chain so that on-chain programs and “smart contracts” can use it. I’ve worked with this problem in the context of food safety and wireless devices. I’ve never actually seen a solution that looks viable 100% of the ti


@legionof7 I’d love to hear more about your experience with blockchain. Can you elaborate more about how this has been a previous struggle so I can better address your question?

If I were to try to answer your question in the moment I would say I think there is a need for multiple checkpoints. Check out this thread that gets into how complicated/variant these datasets can become: Basic questions about flavor data and recipe bag


Yeah, so I’ve done a bunch of work with ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). I worked at FirstBlood with raised a bit more than 6 million dollars and WeTrust which also raised a few million. FirstBlood was an esports tournament system and WeTrust was a lending platform for developing countries.

I became kinda disillusioned with doing ICOs after this because the scene became filled with scams and people were getting rich off shady stuff. I founded my own company, Aether United, where I am now.

During this time, I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of companies, some of them hardware.

With blockchain, everything “on-chain” is trustless. If the code runs well, everything works. However, sometimes you have to take real life data in order for your code to work.

This is the problem in this case. There’s a bunch of companies (Walmart, some food ones, etc.) that want to prove that their food is legit by using blockchain. None of them have a way to detect food safety, you have to trust the guy checking the food. That’s the flaw in all of this. I’ve read things involving encrypting the sensor data and some other stuff. I’ll read that again tonight to see what we can get from it.

Long background haha but I hope that helps!


Oh, ok I think I figured out how to do it.

This uses Intel SGX. If the sensor data gets directly fed into the TownCrier system, then it should be correctly outputed onto the blockchain. Stuff can’t get changed once it’s on chain so people will know all the data about their food. This will give them a lot more data and they can trust it with 99.99% certainty, unlike with farms or things like that.


I like your idea! In a very basic way, this is actually already being done in some places. I can’t seem find the link now though, but I’ve read about a year ago about these kinds of vending machines where farmers are able to put their fresh vegetables inside for the local community to buy (I’ll try to find the link later). Perhaps this could be a starting point to learn how this already works and you could expand this further with your idea. It would definitely be interesting to see how combining this concept with “open source food” would work in an online marketplace environment, especially considering how the customer could indeed know all the conditions the food has been grown in like Peter mentioned. In terms of safety and regulation, I assume this is where the Food Computer comes into play really as I assume the Food Computer could be a very consistent way to guarantee quality products.



Yeah, before asking Peter, I never really thought of food safety or quality as a benefit of this idea, but now I could see that this would be extremely beneficial if the data was well presented and explained.

I can’t tell if my replies are actually going through lol


Haha don’t worry, your replies are coming through! I just didn’t really have anything to add to the Blockchain talk as this isn’t even close to my field (Industrial Product Design). I wouldn’t have thought of it myself either really. This could infact be a big pro, although it does have a tradeoff.

I assume a Food Computer in a system like this will also have to undergo “somewhat frequent” maintenance in order to keep sensors calibrated and keep the data accurate. If the data is inacccurate from a bad reading, faulty sensors or poor calibration, then we have a situation that’s somewhat similar to the Blockchain situation (or atleast I think so, from what I understood of the Blockchains) where it looks like the data is correct while in reality the conditions were way off and it’s as if the data has been “tampered” with. The only difference here is that the data wasn’t intentionally changed but just happened like that over time.


Yeah, could someone that knows more than me give an example of some data that would demonstrate food safety?


Tests to determine if the food is contaminated by:

  • Salmonella
  • E. Coli
  • Environmental pollutants such as industrial chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, radioactive isotopes, lead, etc.

Sources for further reading:


Those tests can’t be done solely with food computer though right?


Correct–at least not with the current designs that people have been building so far. Sensors for pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, and the visual appearance of the plant won’t tell you much about potential salmonella, e. coli, etc. Those measurements are mainly useful for maintaining a nutrient solution that supports plant growth. If you wanted to know about food safety, you would need to measure different things.

It would probably be more effective to come at the problem from the angle of ensuring good sanitation–things like the signs in restaurant bathrooms about how employees must wash their hands. If food were grown in a home, things like bugs, mice, people not washing their hands properly, dogs and cats, poor quality municipal or well water, polluted air, etc. would be ways of introducing food safety problems.


@J3OD3 @AndrewW


What if people had their own methods of determining food quality and they would do random checks on vendors? They could publish the results and the community would vote on whether to keep that vendor listed as “safe”. There could be some sort of reputation system for this.


Unrelated to Food Safety: @rbaynes do you think that the cloud backend you are making could be used to store the data for this?


This is a startup that I don’t think made it to market, but their concept video is similar to what you describe:


Yeah, at least in the USA, the existing food safety system is a more formal version of that. If you see a sticker in the grocery store about USDA grade <whatever> meat or a notice in the news about a restaurant shutting down for flunking a public health department food safety inspection, that’s what’s going on. For restaurants, review sites like Yelp address more of the reputation side.


@legionof7 the design of the OpenAg cloud backend includes the PFC, Food
Servers and manual data upload for our older research which is in CSV
files. Since all we do is open and documented, and I will make the design
as flexible as possible, it should not take much community effort to add
other devices (such as the MVP).

But we are a small software team (now up to 2 people!), so progress is
slow. When I have plans / code / designs in a presentable state, they
will be released on this forum.

Rob Baynes