Field Notes

Stories and resources for re-linking the food chain.

“Local beer takes more than a taproom.”

Last year we highlighted LINC Foods' work with Gonzaga University to overcome logistics challenges in order to get local produce into university dining halls. We're big fans of LINC's work, not just because they're a Local Orbit customer - but because co-founders...

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Your Biggest Software Cost Isn’t the Software

The most significant cost of software has nothing to do with technology. It's the cost of user engagement and adoption within your organization once you choose the software. Ease of use one of the most significant measures of success. If your team (or your buyers,...

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Collaboration Outperforms Policy

I'm sharing my response to a recent thread on the National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration Discussion Group, started by a question: We are wondering what policies (and how strict) have been put in place by other food hubs regarding individual producers making...

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Making Connections: How We Think About Software Services

Today, businesses recognize Software as a Service (SaaS) as an accepted way to deliver applications, but it was not always that way. Companies began adopting this strategy in the late 1990’s, but it didn’t really take hold as a widespread practice until the mid...

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A Workshop for Supply Chain Problem Solvers

Transparency, Collaboration & Shared Value in Local Food Economies A Workshop for Supply Chain Problem Solvers - November 7-9 in Ann Arbor, Michigan Conferences can be useful, but for collaborative learning and problem solving, we find that small, interactive...

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Change Food Speaker Spotlight: Erika Block

Local Orbit CEO Erika Block is giving a Change Talk as part of the Business Doing It Right track at this year's Change Food Festival in New York. This interview with Brittany Barton originally appeared on the Change Food Fest Blog. How do you define local food? And...

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Top Revenue Drivers for Local Food Producers

Local Orbit supports 12,000 buyers and suppliers across North America who do business in 85 local markets.  As our CTO Andy Bass has written, "Local Orbit generates millions of transactions on a daily basis, across all aspects of the order to cash process – from...

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Creating Business Value with Open Source Software

At Local Orbit, we frequently hear of efforts to build or utilize open source software (OSS) for local food businesses. Commonly misperceived as “free” software, it sounds appealing to small, cost-conscious operations that strive to make a social impact while building...

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The Cost of Indecision

Ever struggled to get your organization to consider a change or have your organization evaluate a change and then stall on taking next steps? Identifying the cost of indecision can reduce the organizational inertia that prevents you from moving forward. When...

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Small Steps. Big Impact.

As  Local Orbit develops new processes and features, we focus on incremental change and continuous iteration. This means that we add new components into our processes and our application without disturbing anyone’s business, including our own. This way, we can use...

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Celebrating A New Food Economy With Local Orbit

Michael Rogers, vice president communications for the Small Business Association of Michigan, talks with Erika Block, the founder of Local Orbit, Ann Arbor, Michigan, the supply chain platform for people who are creating a new, connected food economy. Local Orbit,...

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The Power of Data to Grow Local Food Systems

  How Local Orbit helps organizations access their data, and how they can use it to plan for the future and develop sustainable local supply chains. Each day, our digital footprint grows larger and larger. In fact, it permeates our lives so thoroughly that we...

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Does PACA affect your food hub?

The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act protects businesses dealing in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables by establishing and enforcing a code of fair business practices.  Denetra M. McPherson explains how PACA may apply to you.  Guest Post by Denetra M....

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What is Organic?

As consumer demand for transparency in the food system grows, we see many terms used to describe food, such as local, organic and fair trade. The challenge, however, is understanding what these terms actually mean.  Local Orbit believes that the best way to ensure...

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“Local food systems are not inherently sustainable”

At events and in meetings, and through the rich pool of applicants we’ve had for recent job openings, we’re seeing a growing number of young people grappling with seemingly intractable food systems problems – with greater depth and awareness of the complexity - and...

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“Food Leaders are De Facto Climate Leaders”

Healthcare Without Harm published an excellent article last month about the role of hospital foodservice in climate change: Nourishing Patients and the Planet: The Role of Hospital Food Service in Climate Leadership.  Featuring the work of the University of Washington...

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Networks: Helping Grow Local Food Economies

It’s been a couple weeks since the Local Orbit team returned from the National Food Hub Conference, and there’s a lot to share about the event. The conference provided a great opportunity to connect with customers and hear from business leaders about the challenges...

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Local Orbit’s Software Development Process

by Jackie Cohen, Local Orbit Software Engineer  As a software engineer at Local Orbit, of course I write code – but that’s not all. I do larger scale product development tasks with the team as well as smaller tasks, including, data management for development of team...

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Conversations Across the Supply Chain

I'm on the road this month, attending events for institutional foodservice operators, local food suppliers, and a conversation about reducing food waste hosted by Panasonic's Innovation Lab. Universities, schools, healthcare facilities and other non-commercial...

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Can software loosen Big Food’s grip on institutions?

We love this visualization of the Local Orbit network, which was recently published in piece about  LocalEyes, our Supplier Management Service for institutions, at The New Food Economy. Increasingly, large institutions are setting food procurement standards that...

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LINC Foods and Gonzaga University: A Case Study

LINC Foods and Gonzaga University: A Case Study The Challenge Students at Gonzaga University are demanding more local food options and greater visibility into the sources of supply. In response, the University established aggressive goals with its dining services...

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Can Local Food Help the California Drought?

The National Drought Mitigation Center reports that even with short-term rainfall this winter, severe drought will continue throughout much of California. How can local food systems help address this? By increasing the supply of these same crops, grown locally.

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Small Farm Tech: Food’s Past and Future at Work

from Daniel Matthews' article on Triple Pundit It’s easy to think of the small farm as a bastion of The Way Things Used to Be. And it’s comforting. But the reality of small, organic farms is that they are constantly seeking new ways to do more with technology. They’re...

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