My favourite farmers’ market in Aotearoa is in Dunedin. Over the warmer months it has the best fresh produce in New Zealand: Central Otago apricots the size of peaches, oldschool gooseberries, greengage plums. But the Otago Farmers Market also offers a physical pun. It’s at Dunedin’s famous Railway Station, and there on the station platform you’ll also find many artisan products, like seaweed condiments, craft beer, and bread of every kind. A ‘platform’, according to Choudary and Parker, is ‘a business model that uses technology to connect people, organisations and resources in ecosystems to exchange goods, services and ideas’ (Choudary and Parker, 2016). Take a broad view of ‘technology’ and the Otago Farmers Market is a platform on a platform.
Talk of ‘platforms’ – or the ‘sharing economy’ – sometimes seems to be ubiquitous. But how significant is this model, and what kinds of policy and regulatory issues is it raising?