The Internet 2012 bus went off the beaten path this week to make one stop at a small Richmond, Missouri farm. While the tour has been very panel-heavy and startup-focused, the farm visit is a key component of Reddit's tour goal of framing Internet freedom as a fight that extends beyond Hollywood and Silicon Valley.
Arriving as the sun came up, Alex Ohanian and Reddit employees toured the property, owned by farmer Tom Parker, who is using Aglocal, a Kansas City startup, to connect his products with local buyers. "Farming a part of our culture as Americans and we've lost track of that," said Aglocal founder Naithan Jones.
Jones, like so many on this tour, supports the open Internet and its ability to break down communication barriers. "Putting family farms on a level playing field can only happen because the cost of sharing a story on the Internet is nothing," Jones said. Parker, who only checks his email every other day, does almost all his business over the Web and is capitalizing on his digital connection as well as the growing local food movement.
"People have been so inundated with brands and now they want a local connection. We see it especially with food. The Internet can facilitate that, " Jones said.