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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA
ASIA & MIDDLE EAST
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.