For Immediate Release
April 19, 2021
BlockSpaces Announces Food Equity & Racial Disparities in Food Supply Chain Blockchain Pilot: St Petersburg
Tampa, FL— April 19 , 2021 — Today, BlockSpaces unveiled that they have filed Florida House Bill 4119: Food Equity & Racial Disparities in Food Supply Chain Blockchain Pilot: St Petersburg in partnership with University of South Florida’s Center for the Advancement of Food Security & Healthy Communities. The appropriation, sponsored/co-sponsored by House Representatives Ben Diamond and Jackie Toledo, and championed by Senate Agriculture Chair Darryl Rouson, would be a community-based pilot program that would, in part, connect producer members of the Florida Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association with citizens and minority-owned food-related businesses in a USDA-designated food desert in South St. Petersburg. If awarded, the pilot would be Florida’s first state funded blockchain project.
“As a Governor appointed member of the Florida Blockchain Taskforce, this is an exciting time for Florida” said Jason Holloway, government affairs advocate and member of the legislative committee for the Florida Blockchain Business Association, who recently announced his run for Florida House District 67 with blockchain technology at the center of his platform. “This appropriations project request has the potential to be Florida’s first blockchain pilot project that would not only prove as a successful use case for the technology, but also improve food tracking and traceability while solving the progressively worsening situation of food deserts in our most vulnerable communities”.
BlockSpaces proposes a mobile app that would directly connect minority farmers to minority consumers, a minority-owned grocery store, farmers market, restaurant, and food bank in the pilot area. The app would also provide a blockchain-based foundational, customizable food supply chain system that would allow for integration of a producer's legacy system with the ability to add on future features that meet the needs of FDACS departments: food safety, food worker conditions, food counterfeiting and traceability of regulatory compliance. The pilot includes a one year qualitative and quantitative study conducted by University of South Florida’s Center for the Advancement of Food Security & Healthy Communities. The study would measure and analyze outcomes on healthy eating behaviors in minority populations, as well as the impact on unequal market access for minority farmers to sell their goods.
“Blockchain technology is dependent on a network of incentivized participants cooperating for the benefit of the ecosystem, “ said Rosa Shores, CEO/co founder of BlockSpaces. “This technology shows enormous promise to uplift previously marginalized and underserved populations, and we look forward to offering a solution for food disparity and insecurity in one of our own local communities.”
To stay up-to-date with House Bill 4119 and see it’s progress as it moves through the Florida House, check here.
To read more about the impact that food deserts have on the health of individuals and communities, check our blog post here.
BlockSpaces believes in a future where every business will transact with more trust, transparency and security. Our mission is to blockchain-enable traditional business applications to leverage the unique features and benefits that various enterprise blockchain networks provide. Through our B2B integration platform, we manage blockchain connections, data flow and configurations, so our customers can plug-and-play into any existing system. BlockSpaces is simplifying the blockchain integration experience for all business applications and use cases.
Contact: Rosa Shores email@example.com
For more information on BlockSpaces, please visit https://blockspaces.io.
Pandemic, elections, racial unjust, supply chain interruptions, food insecurity, outdated technology, economic crisis- our country has been battling some heavy situations week after week. For many Americans, putting food on the table is now a struggle.
I have been fortunate enough to live in a community where I have access to the basic necessities, including food- but I worry everyday about those Americans who are not as fortunate. What happens to people who have not had access to such crucial resources this year? What happens when there isn't a local grocer in your immediate area?
Areas within South St. Petersburg, FL are USDA designated food deserts. This means that people living in the community do not have access to organic, fresh, healthy foods and have to travel many miles to get to a grocery store. What food people have readily available to them has a direct correlation to their overall health and many experts suggest that those living within a food desert put people at increased risk for obesity and diabetes. The last grocery store to serve the South St Petersburg community closed its doors 4 years ago, leaving local residents no options for easily accessible healthy foods. Many have had to rely on convenience stores for food, which are high in sugar and fat and have no nutritional value. Many cannot afford to spend money on gas or use a ride-share service such as Uber. Many are rightfully worried about traveling, often to multiple stores, for essential items in the midst of COVID. Even with a strong sense of community in the area, the overwhelming number of residents in the South St Petersburg area are facing the same hurdles when it comes to food accessibility. The need for fresh fruits and vegetables is undeniable for this area of St Petersburg.
I see an overwhelming opportunity for blockchain technology and local leaders to combine forces to help vulnerable people and close the food access gap in South St Petersburg. At BlockSpaces, we have been working on such a solution. A mobile app, that would directly connect minority farmers to minority consumers, and minority owned grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and restaurants, as well as food banks and schools. The application would allow producers to distribute fresh food to an area directly and allow food service coordination across a network of farmers and distributors without reliance on third party intermediaries. While the front facing interface will consist of an easy to use mobile app designed around the personas of different network participants/users, the back end will offer a robust, flexible, blockchain based solution that has the ability to connect to larger blockchain networks giving farmers and distributors the ability to add a fully customizable inventory and food management system. This would without a doubt be a game changer for this area, giving local residents access to healthy foods all while supporting local farmers.
As a graduate of University of South Florida’s College of Public Health, where I learned firsthand the devastating impacts that food deserts have on the overall health of communities, I believe that it is imperative to leverage innovative technologies such as blockchain into communities like South St Petersburg and other underserved areas of the United States as it has the potential to strengthen food systems, bring communities relief, bring a positive impact to the community and deliver assistance more effectively.
Blockchain is a word that’s used quite often these days, thanks to the meteoric rise in Bitcoin’s value. But the applications of blockchain go way beyond Bitcoin, and we’ve only begun to discover what this revolutionary technology can do. Today, I’ll be taking a look at how blockchain will impact the enterprise, and how businesses can benefit from this technology.
First, let’s take a look at what blockchain is.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain seems extremely complicated, but the concept behind it is quite simple. Basically, a blockchain is a ledger, and an exact copy of this ledger is maintained on every single computer that’s connected to the blockchain network. This network can either be private, like those run by a corporation, or public, like the one Bitcoin uses.
The information in a blockchain’s ledger forms a block. Whenever a change in the ledger occurs, a new block is created (this new block contains all the existing information + the change) and sent out to all the computers on the network. Each computer uses cryptography to verify that the new block hasn’t been tampered with, and if so, all the computers on the blockchain reach a consensus to add the new block to the chain. This is where the term blockchain comes from.
Blockchain’s impact and applications for the enterprise
The most obvious impact of blockchain is that it allows financial access to anyone, anywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a first-world country or in an underprivileged society where conventional banking is not available to you. Using blockchain, one can conduct decentralized transactions with anyone in the world and conduct financial activities including buying, selling, and borrowing. Nobody needs to authorize that transaction and there’s virtually no delay.
The best part is that, because of the technology’s inherent nature, trust is built-in. Your activity on the blockchain network is immutably recorded in the blocks, and you can allow the other party selective access to your reviews, ratings, and financial activity, so they can verify your trustworthiness.
Blockchain technology is being used by quite a few banks today in order to facilitate and enhance their operations. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) and Red Electrica Corporation made history by delivering the world’s first syndicated loan of €150m using blockchain; thanks to blockchain, the loan was facilitated in record time. Intesa Sanpaolo, an Italian international banking group, is also using blockchain to easily validate trading data.
Other notable names in the banking industry currently using blockchain include HSBC, Barclays, and Visa. HSBC is shifting its traditional paper based records to blockchain, Barclays is using it to streamline funds transfers, Visa recently included cryptocurrency support for its payment network. What’s amazing is that all the banks I’ve mentioned here are using blockchain in different ways; which just goes to show how diverse this technology is.
Anyone who has ever dealt with real estate in any capacity knows what a pain it is to deal with. There’s a ton of paperwork and bureaucracy, the payments aren’t simplified, transaction costs are too high, and the whole process takes too much time.
Coldwell Banker is using blockchain technology to solve all these problems in real estate. Using blockchain, the transactions are secured and take a fraction of the time they normally would. Brookfield Asset Management is also looking to use blockchain in commercial real estate to drastically reduce transaction costs and automate their contracts.
Education/document/job experience verification:
Back when blockchain was initially invented in 1991, it was meant for this very purpose. Using blockchain, documents would no longer need to be verified by a central authority or to be notarized. As an applicant, one can choose which details to reveal to a prospective employer using the blockchain. The business that receives this info can be sure of its validity as it’s nearly impossible to fake information on the blockchain; the credentials that are sent over are verified, and vouched for, by everyone else on the blockchain.
Sony, in collaboration with IBM, developed a system where blockchain is used to secure, share, and verify student records. Learning Machine also collaborated with MIT in 2016 to develop a similar system to verify student records. These systems can also be easily expanded to document and job experience validation.
The biggest challenges for cloud storage these days are data security, data privacy, and reliability. Blockchain can address all of these issues by first encrypting the data, making sure it’s secure and private, and then distributing it all over the blockchain to ensure reliability.
Only the person with the private key will be able to decrypt that data, and, thanks to the blockchain, the data will always be available. Compared to traditional web servers like Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, blockchain is much more reliable as it’s much less likely for all blockchain nodes to go down at the same time.
As corporations get bigger, their supply chains can get increasingly complex and more difficult to deal with. As a consequence, it’s nearly impossible for a company to guarantee its products’ quality throughout all phases of its supply chain.
Walmart tackled a similar problem using blockchain. The retail giant was facing a very high percentage of product returns from its customers due to quality issues. In order to find out where the quality issues were originating from in its supply chain and to solve them, Walmart employed blockchain. Thanks to the blockchain technology, the company was not only able to track where the issues were occurring (and fix them), it also leveraged blockchain’s proof of work to make sure that these issues don’t occur again.
DHL is also working on a proof of concept with Accenture, using blockchain, that will allow them to track medicines from their origin point all the way to the consumer. The idea is to prevent tampering with drugs and to easily get rid of counterfeit medicines.
When it comes to their confidential healthcare data, patients have very little control over it. FDA realized this, and it is currently working to use blockchain technology to power a platform that will secure patients’ healthcare data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also working with IBM on a similar system that will let it securely store all patient records on an encrypted ledger system.
Furthermore, in the field of healthcare, the use of blockchain isn’t just limited to governmental use. Pfizer, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, and Deloitte are currently using the technology to track records and manage their digital inventories.
These are just a few of the industries blockchain is changing for the better. The examples I included just go to show how revolutionary and disruptive this technology can be. We’re only beginning to see its uses, and I can’t wait to see how it fosters innovations in all industries.
Blockchain is deeply embedded in revolutionizing data integrity, across several industries worldwide. Over the past few years, the credibility of blockchain as a promising technology has made leaps and bounds, with a point of maturity still awaiting on the horizon.