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Raja Ramachandran and Phil Harris met when they were both working on Wall Street, in 2005 after Citigroup Inc. acquired electronic trading company Lava Trading. The pair remained friends for more than a decade, and decided to leave finance to start Ripe.io, which uses blockchain in agriculture, and has big aspirations to weave it through the food supply chain.
“We left financial services to find a more meaningful application of blockchain. We knew it was going to be profound,” said Harris. As Ramachandran put it, they “stumbled on food.”
The next step for Ripe was a pilot project on Ward’s Berry Farm, a 180-acre farm southwest of Boston, where the fields overflow with carrots, baby beets, bok choy, chard, kale, cabbage, sweet potatoes, onions, radishes, fava beans, squash, pumpkins and zinnias, which farmer Jim Ward keeps in rotation because his wife loves it when he brings them home to her in a fresh bouquet.
Added to that lineup this year: blockchain tomatoes. Beginning in August, their ripeness, color and sugar content were tracked step by step, reducing spoilage and documenting the supply chain.
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