I think there is room in the marketplace for an app to facilitate decentralized food production and delivery. I’ve given it some thought for more than a year now, but I’ve made no other progress on it since other projects have taken precedence, among them actual food production and delivery. Over the last two days I’ve moved over a ton of manure. I expect to plant sweet corn and potatoes, perhaps mostly as donations since so many are losing their ability to pay.
Most of the efficiencies in the gig economy come from making public what once was private, whether your private car in the case of ride hail or meal delivery apps, your private house, or private information. Small farmers, and especially hobby farmers who don’t regularly make money growing food, are especially resistant to making their capabilities public, and yet they often participate in informal networks. If an app can be designed to incentivize sharing this information by keeping some of it local and private, yet disincentivizing those who are unreliable or merely trying to arbitrage the system, this can encourage more informal food production.
This has been tried various times before. Centralized food production has been too inexpensive for hobby farmers to compete, but also they may have been experiments in social engineering rather than social modeling. The closer you can match the needs and motivations of the likely participants, the more people will engage. So there needs to be a credit system to compensate those who are more naturally competitive, yet not convertible to actual currency in order to encourage benevolence (people can donate credits, identifying those who may need extra food assistance). For many countries the tax and legal complications multiply when money is transferred, and likewise there can be problems with prepared food. So I would especially target backyard-grown fruit and vegetables, and also transportation.
The app would need to do distance calculations to determine efficient peer-to-peer transportation and the closest source of commodities, but that information might have to be by default hidden if it would reveal private homes. Businesses would want the most exposure, but they would not well compensated, perhaps only in credits and advertising, or there could be a separate section for monetarily-compensated transactions, but this could be a slippery slope since they would not be aiming for a zero-credit balance which would reflect an equal amount of giving as receiving.
Anyways, if someone wants to further develop some of these ideas, these interesting times might be reason to do so.