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SAN FRANCISCO – A cooperative of livestock farmers in Arkansas has turned to blockchain technology to provide customers farm-to-fork transparency in the group’s supply chain.

Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative, a small-batch meat company, says it is the first in the United States to use blockchain to trace their products. Provenance, a tech startup based in London, developed a platform that allows any company to trace the origins and histories of products.

“Americans have an increasing interest in better understanding what they're eating. According to the 2016 Label Insight Study, 83 percent of consumers want more information about what’s in their food, and I totally believe it,” said Cody Hopkins, Grass Roots general manager and founding member. “When I learned about this technology, I thought ‘this is the solution.’ It’s the perfect way for Grass Roots to offer folks total transparency. Provenance has developed a platform that levels the playing field for small-scale farmers and puts information directly in consumers’ hands.”

Blockchain technology is best known in the financial services industry. In the case of Grass Roots, consumers will be able to scan QR codes to retrieve information about where the meat originated and how the animals were raised. Grass Roots states that the “digital history” of products will include stories of the people who contributed in crafting the final product.

Golden Gate Meat Co., a family owned and operated business that specializes in distributing organic and natural meats, will participate in the first trial of the blockchain. Grass Roots meats also are available online and in restaurants and retailers nationwide.