Real Time Farms is a “crowd-sourced online food guide” that tells you exactly where the meal on your plate came from.

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As crazy as it sounds, our vision is to collectively document the whole food system.

That does sound crazy, but so does the notion that a bunch of volunteers would build the most comprehensive and frequently updated encyclopedia in human history. And that one seems to have worked out okay.

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Real Time Farms is in its early days, so only a tiny fraction of restaurants, farmers markets, and their fans have imported data on where ingredients are sourced. It feels like the kind of thing that will require a really big technological solution at some point in the future, like DNA barcoding of food or super cheap RFID tracking of crops from field to fork. Or maybe just more of us moving to Portland.