The Challenge

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How might we better connect food production and consumption? read the brief

Idea

Collaborative Consumption: Food Edition

Utilizing the "What's Mine is Yours" idea from Collaborative Consumption as inspiration, this idea involves neighborhoods (who may already have a swapping or sharing system in place) to expand or create their swapping habits to include food.
Too often we buy food that is never used, which consequently is thrown-out. Instead of this, households who find themselves with something extra could post to their community the food items they have and could then arrange for an ingredient swap. As such, this will help communities decrease the amount of waste they produce and aid in growing or building upon swapping or sharing systems.

However, with quickly perishable items this may be difficult to implement. I would like to recommended that for quick implementation (which could of course be improved upon in the future) communities utilize a social media tool, such as Facebook and create a page for their those who live in the community. To this end it will not be necessary to build a third party platform and try to draw people's attention. All community members will receive the message, and with the increasing use of mobile phones, could potentially pick-up the item on their way home from work, for example, or run over to their neighbor's house to pick-up the item instead of running to the store, both costly in time, energy and money.

Comments

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Ruben Canlas Jr.

May 30, 2011, 17:20PM
I'm thinking about freegans when I read your idea. One appeal for the freegans, I think, is the thrill of "the hunt", which is linked to the location of sources of food. For perishable items, location will matter, so electronic maps will be useful.

Participants can tag their location on Google Maps or FourSquare and then their announcements will be geocoded. Knowing there's someone nearby who is looking to swap an ingredient will entice more people to use your service.

Hamza Mounhi

May 05, 2011, 08:43AM
I really like the idea, very original. However, I think that it will only work between members of a reduced community that know each other quite well. Personnaly, I am not ready to take a stranger's food. I guess that confidence is a key element here. Each one could actually create a facebook or google group and then invite his friends and communicate via this plateform.
Good luck ^^

Karina McElroy

May 05, 2011, 15:29PM
Hi Hamza, thank you! I agree and I think launching this concept within existing collaborative consumption communities is definitely the best way to start as individuals involved are use to the collaborative idea and presumably know each other quite well.

Hamza Mounhi

May 05, 2011, 08:43AM
I really like the idea, very original. However, I think that it will only work between members of a reduced community that know each other quite well. Personnaly, I am not ready to take a stranger's food. I guess that confidence is a key element here. Each one could actually create a facebook or google group and then invite his friends and communicate via this plateform.
Good luck ^^

Hamza Mounhi

May 05, 2011, 08:43AM
I really like the idea, very original. However, I think that it will only work between members of a reduced community that know each other quite well. Personnaly, I am not ready to take a stranger's food. I guess that confidence is a key element here. Each one could actually create a facebook or google group and then invite his friends and communicate via this plateform.
Good luck ^^

Gokul Selvaraj

May 04, 2011, 16:47PM
great idea..just one issue to be resolved...
would how would you determine a fair exchange value? e.g. 7 apples = 10 oranges

Karina McElroy

May 05, 2011, 15:39PM
This is definitely an important issue, however my idea is that if this concept launches within an existing collaborative consumption community, hopefully those involved will not abuse the system. Perhaps each exchange might not be seen as "fair" as person x receiving an item may not provide an item in exchange on that given day, but rather provides something to the community on the following day.

Ruben Canlas Jr.

May 30, 2011, 17:22PM
How about we just let the market decide on the exchange rate? The desirability of broccoli will vary from one household to another, depending on what's cooking in that house :)

Nathalie Collins

May 03, 2011, 23:27PM
I love the idea of doing this in neighborhoods or existing communities where trust is built in or more easily acquired. Perhaps the site could show your degrees of separation from the person sharing their excess food so you can not only have faith in the quality of their offer, but also create a broader community. Plotting the areas where items are being shared on a map could make them more easily viewable / accessible too.

Karina McElroy

May 05, 2011, 15:40PM
Thanks Nathalie! That is a great idea and I like how it aids in growing and strengthening the community.

justin randall

April 29, 2011, 07:37AM
this is kind of what happened a half-century ago, when you'd borrow a cup of sugar or some flour from your neighbor. i think it would be easier to start in a neighborhood setting. but it's kind of a back-to-basics idea that, if implemented properly, could have a big impact. or even a neighborhood potluck with the scraps found in everyone's cupboards!

Paul Wiesler

April 28, 2011, 05:12AM
I really like this concept. As a college student I find all too often that I"m throwing out the last 3 eggs in my carton. Almost as common is that I"ll buy a pound of ground beef and have to eat tacos and cheeseburgers for the next 6 meals to finish it before it goes bad. Another dilemma is when I have plenty of sandwich meat but no loafs of bread. It would be awesome to swap some of my unwanted canned goods for half a bag of bread.

 A food sharing network would be great in the college setting where there is less awkwardness about sharing such things. I think having your pantry open to others is easier when you are a young student rather than an adult who is expected to follow social norms.

Karina McElroy

April 28, 2011, 06:39AM
Thanks Paul. I like this idea about food sharing in the college setting, especially since when you start a habit early in life it is more likely to continue into the future. Regarding social norms, do you think that communities already engaged in collaborative consumption will feel this way?

Quyen Nguyen

May 01, 2011, 16:44PM
What a great idea! To target college communities is smart! I always remember having extra of something but missing some key ingredient that some fellow student was sure to let spoil due to not being used!

I'd be a little concerned about "abusers" of the system who take more than they give. But that's part of the collaborative consumption community - there'll always be those who play more fairly than others. Then again, if I have eggs that are going to spoil, it doesn't matter to me who gets them as long as it's not going to waste! So in that aspect, it's a win-win! :)

Paul Wiesler

April 28, 2011, 05:12AM
I really like this concept. As a college student I find all too often that I"m throwing out the last 3 eggs in my carton. Almost as common is that I"ll buy a pound of ground beef and have to eat tacos and cheeseburgers for the next 6 meals to finish it before it goes bad. Another dilemma is when I have plenty of sandwich meat but no loafs of bread. It would be awesome to swap some of my unwanted canned goods for half a bag of bread.

 A food sharing network would be great in the college setting where there is less awkwardness about sharing such things. I think having your pantry open to others is easier when you are a young student rather than an adult who is expected to follow social norms.
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