The rise of farm live streaming reconnects urban consumers with rural producers and could make our food consumption habits more sustainable.
No one would have expected a Chinese farmer to become the next emerging internet star connecting urbanites with nature, rural life and their food. The Shanghaiist reported on Sang Qingjun’s internet stardom after starting to live stream his 70,000 chickens and their daily lives on his farm. Qingjun’s social media showed a side of food production and agriculture that most of us have rarely if ever seen when you can simply nip down to the supermarket and grab your prepackaged foods without thought of where they came from.
Qingjun is by no means the only farmer to live-stream his farming lifestyle with a growing trend of individual farmers going live to show their consumers and partners behind the scenes of their farms. And it’s not surprising that people, especially those living in large urban areas, want to see where their food comes from and feel closer to their food source. A recent report published by SPACE10 and YEAST shows a distancing of urban dwellers from agriculture, nature, the countryside and, ultimately, their food. After decades of urbanisation and alienation from food production and agriculture, live streaming makes agriculture and the origin of the food on our supermarket shelves more transparent and accessible to almost anyone through popular social media channels.
Vital Farms in the US has incorporated live-streaming on a corporate level. Vital Farms shows a constant live feed of their free-range chickens at the organic Buckskin Acres farm on their website and offers consumers to tune in on of the 200 Vital Farms family farms by searching the farm name on the side of the egg carton. This online sharing of the farm allows consumers to feel connected to the food they have picked up at the supermarket and also acts as proof of the good conditions the chickens are living in.
Chinese e-commerce key players, Alibaba and JD, have also embedded live streaming into vendors marketing and promotional tools allowing you to see and interact with the farmers and vendors you are buying from online. It offers consumers a glimpse into the production of the products encouraging sustainable choices while bringing the agriculture industry into popular digital space where producers can connect with their customers. It seems this trend is only just beginning offering new ways to connect with farmers, the food industry, our food and where it comes from.