Farm Fare

Spotted by Jana Rudnik

Farm Fare aims to disentangle the often-twisted pathways by which farmers find buyers in Northeast Ohio. The arduous process of coordinating multiple farmers presents a barrier to businesses that otherwise might source locally grown foods. Trying to incorporate a higher level of complexity into their food hub enterprise, the Farm Fare founders turned to ants. Ant colony optimization is an approach to applying ant behavior to solving engineering and operations problems. Different ant species use different kinds of networks of nests and paths in between them to optimize food transportation. E.g. Argentinian ants, rather than using permanent nests, are constantly on the move, splitting and joining in new groups and nesting temporarily as they go. Farm Fare adapted this model using information technology to display food available from participating food hubs online. As next step they are exploring incorporating local truck fleet owners, inspired by the Malaysian ants’ approach.