Collaborative Consumption and Trust

Just watched this neat video featuring Rachel Botsman discuss how the “new economy” will involve trusting people online:

In my view, local agriculture has so far been missing out on the potential of these new social technologies. Bringing back traditional covered markets for farmers’ has been a huge boon, but they take a lot of resources to get started and expand enough to house the revolution that I think we need for a new local food economy. That’s the biggest reason I’ve been working to bring the LocallyGrown.net platform to Durham.

LocallyGrown has a lot in common with websites like AirBnB.com, Kickstarter, Etsy and other websites that make it easy for people to start “lemonade stands on steroids.” Built around community and personal connection, these marketplaces build peer-to-peer networks between providers and consumers.

In my experience, Athens’ LocallyGrown market supported an even stronger community than these online marketplaces. This community is strengthened by weekly in-person gatherings for drop-off/pick-up. LocallyGrown gives members a few other things these other communities can’t: a chance to know your farmer and try your own hand at growing food (and a place to sell the extra if you grow too much!). In my experience, few things are more empowering.

So, what holds us back? All of these communities take a small leap of faith, especially when the community is first starting up or a new provider joins the community. The result is that people start to trust one another, often people they have never met.

With that in mind, please stay tuned to this space. I’m hoping I will be able to announce some exciting developments that I think will kickstart a new LocallyGrown marketplace here in Durham.

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