How is Technology Changing the Way We Share Food? The SHARECITY Research Team to Find Out

All photos courtesy of SHARECITY

Food is one of our most basic needs and food sharing has long been a bedrock of human civilization, so it’s not surprising to see many inspirational examples of food sharing around the world. The increasing availability of accessible Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) through interfaces such as webpages, blogs, wikis, Facebook and apps is changing the face of many of these existing activities and stimulating a new generation of enterprises.

We, the international SHARECITY team, based in Trinity College Dublin in Ireland and funded by the European Research Council, are exploring the following set of questions around the influence of ICT on food sharing—what we call “ifood-sharing”:

  • How does ifood-sharing differ from historical practices?
  • What does the global landscape of ifood-sharing look like today?
  • What role might ifood-sharing play in supporting any transformation towards a more sustainable society in an era of planetary urbanisation?

We’ve already identified ifood-sharing across a range of activities, and developed an ifood-sharing spectrum. This spectrum includes the sharing of food itself (from seeds, through to compost) and food-related stuff (including kitchen appliances, gardening tools and other devices), to the sharing of skills and spaces for growing, cooking and eating. These activities also adopt diverse ways of exchanging food from informal activities and gifting or bartering, to more formalized social enterprise and for-profit models.

By focusing explicitly on food sharing activities enabled by ICT, we are looking to identify activities within 100 global cities to populate the SHARECITY100 Database.

At this stage of our research, and in the spirit of the collaborative co-production, we are now reaching out to you, the sharing community, to gather information for the open access SHARECITY searchable database. This will help us build an accurate picture of ICT-enabled city food sharing around the world which we can then share with everyone.

We aim to include all the cities which form part of the Sharing Cities Network, as well as others identified through their participation in other networks related to urban food management, resilience and sustainability. A scoping study conducted by the team has already identified a dynamic landscape of activities across Europe and North America, but so far identification of activities across Asia and the Middle East, Africa and South America has been limited. While this may be a function of our focus on ICT-enabled food sharing and the persistence of a global digital divide, it certainly is also due to a lack of local knowledge and language skills on our part. Please do help us go global!

The cities we are currently investigating are listed below, but if we’re missing a hotbed of food sharing, particularly in Asian, Middle Eastern, African or South American cities, please do let us know. For activities to become part of the SHARECITY database we need:

  • Name of food sharing activity
  • ICT address: e.g. Facebook page, website url, app details
  • What is being shared: stuff, spaces or skills
  • How is it being shared: informal, gifting, bartering, not-for-profit, for-profit

The SHARECITY team needs your help identifying ICT-enabled food sharing in your city.

If you can help with any leads, we’d love to hear from you. Your assistance will be acknowledged on our website and the final database will be made public and searchable through our website. You can also join the SHARECITY community and receive updates from our blog and research by forwarding your examples and details to: sharecity@tcd.ie

Below are the cities in our database and each is hyperlinked to a spreadsheet so you can fill in the details directly. Many thanks for your engagement and we look forward to sharing our findings with you all.

EUROPE

Barcelona, Spain

Prague, Czech Republic

Copenhagen, Denmark

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Nijnegen, Netherlands

London, UK

Birmingham, UK

Dublin, Ireland

Paris, France

Brussels, Belgium

Berlin, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany

Zurich, Switzerland

Vienna, Austria

Cologne, Germany

Athens, Greece

Thessalonika, Greece

Rome, Italy

Milan, Italy

Bolzano, Italy

Napoli, Italy

Warsaw, Poland

Lisbon, Portugal

Bucharest, Romania

Moscow, Russia

Madrid, Spain

Stockholm, Sweden

Gothenburg, Sweden

Istanbul, Turkey

NORTH AMERICA

New York NY

San Francisco CA

Chicago IL

Toronto CAN

LA Area CA

Boston MA

Vancouver BC CA

Oakland CA

Boulder CO

Pittsburgh PA

St. Louis MO

Houston TX

Washington DC

Atlanta GA

Asheville GA

Ann Arbor MI

Ithaca NY

Portland OR

Denver CO

Detroit MI

Austin TX

Cleveland OH

Santa Cruz CA

Berkeley CA

Elora CAN

Jackson MS

Louisville KY

Philadelphia PA

Dallas TX

Seattle WA

Hartford CT

Bloomington IN

Gulfport/Biloxi MS

Long Beach CA

Media PA

Rochester NY

Montreal CAN

CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Porto Alegra, Brazil

Mexico City, Mexico

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Bogota, Colombia

Quito, Ecuador

Medellin, Colombia

Santiago Chile

AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND

Melbourne AU

Sydney, AU

Christchurch NZ

Wellington NZ

Canberra AU

Adelaide, AU

ASIA & MIDDLE EAST

Dubai, UAE

Doha, Qatar

Singapore, Singapore

Hong Kong, China

Beijing, China

Shanghai, China

Tel Aviv, Israel

Bengaluru, India

Mumbai, India

Chennai, India

Tokyo, Japan

Toyama, Japan

Seoul, South Korea

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Jakarta, Indonesia

Manila, Phillipines

AFRICA

Tunis, Tunisia

Johannesburg, South Africa

Dakar, Senegal

Nairobi, Kenya

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Article written by Professor Anna R. Davies, Professor and Chair of Geography, Environment and Society at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and Principal Investigator of SHARECITY, and Ms. Marion Weymes, Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin, Researcher with SHARECITY.

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