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SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - SHARECITY (SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-03-31

"With planetary urbanisation fast approaching there is growing clarity regarding the unsustainability of cities, not least with respect to food consumption. Sharing, including food sharing, is increasingly being identified as one transformative mechanism for sustainable cities: reducing consumption; conserving resources, preventing waste and providing new forms of socio-economic relations. However, such claims currently rest on thin conceptual and empirical foundations. SHARECITY identifies and examines diverse practices of city-based food sharing economies, first determining their form, function and governance and then identifying their impact and potential to reorient eating practices. The research has four objectives: to advance theoretical understanding of contemporary food sharing economies in cities; to generate a significant body of comparative and novel international empirical knowledge about food sharing economies and their governance within global cities; to design and test an assessment framework for establishing the impact of city-based food sharing economies on societal relations, economic vitality and the environment; and to develop and implement a novel variant of backcasting to explore how food sharing economies within cities might evolve in the future. Providing conceptual insights that bridge sharing, social practice and urban transitions theories, SHARECITY has generated a typology of food sharing economies; an online interactive database of food sharing activities in 100 global cities; in-depth food sharing profiles of 9 cities including Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, London, Melbourne, New York City, San Francisco and Singapore; a sustainability impact toolkit titled ""SHARE-IT"" to enable examination of city-based food sharing initiatives; and scenarios for future food sharing in cities. Conducting such frontier science SHARECITY will open new research horizons to substantively improve understanding of how, why and to what end people share food within cities in the 21st Century."
Task A – Food sharing economies: Foundation building and framework development [Objectives 1 and 2]
Conceptual development of a food sharing typology has been developed and published in several SHARECITY Briefing Notes (No.1-3) and SHARECITY Working Papers as well as being published in international peer reviewed journals and a Special Issue for Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society (2017):

• Davies, A.R. (2016) Typologies of Food Sharing. SHARECITY Working Paper No.1. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
• Davies, A., and Weymes, M. (2017) SHARECITY Briefing Note 1: The SHARECITY100 Database, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
• Davies, A. R., Gray, M., Donald, B., Knox-Hayes, J. (2017) Sharing economies: Moving beyond binaries in a digital age, CJRES, 10(2) : 209-230
• Davies, A. R., Gray, M., Donald, B., Knox-Hayes, J. (2017) Sharing Economies? Theories, Practices and Impacts, CJRES, 10(2).
• Davies, A.R. and Legg, R. (2018) Fare Sharing: Interrogating the nexus of ICT, urban food sharing and sustainability, Food Culture and Society, 21(1), DOI:10.1080/15528014.2018.1427924
• Davies, A.R. and Evans, D. (2018) Editorial: Urban food sharing: Emerging geographies of production, consumption and exchange, GeoForum https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.11.015
• Davies, A.R. Cretella, A, Franck, V. (2019) Food sharing initiatives and food democracy: Practice and policy in three European cities. Politics and Governance 7.4 (2019): 8-20. http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/pag.v7i4.2090

• Davies, A.R. (2019) Urban Food Sharing. Rules, Tools and Networks. Policy Press: Bristol, 2019 ISBN 1447349865, 9781447349860, 104 pages.
• Davies, A.R. (2019) Food Sharing. In Wiskerke, H., Duncan, J. and Carolan, M. (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Sustainable and Regenerative Food Systems. Routledge: London.
• Davies, A.R. (2019) Sharing Economies. In Kobayashi, A. et al (Eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2nd Edition. Elsevier Science: London.
• Davies, A.R. (2019) Fare Share: Justice and the mobilities of surplus food redistribution. In Butz et al., (Eds.) Mobilities, Mobility Justice & Social Justice. Routledge, London.


The matrix of food sharing was utilized in the construction of a database of food sharing initiatives in 100 cities. This database identified and enabled the analysis of more than 4000 initiatives across 100 cities in 44 countries and 6 continents. Initiatives were analysed according to what they shared, how they shared it, and what type of organisational structure and ICT they employed in order to share.

The motivation for creating SHARECITY100 was to make the landscape of food sharing in cities visible by mapping initiatives consistently across a large number of contexts. This helps demonstrate that the creative and innovative actions of individual initiatives are not isolated experiments, but part of a burgeoning body of activities seeking to reconfigure urban food systems.The SHARECITY100 database enables, for the first time, consistent analysis and identification of patterns and trends in ICT-mediated urban food sharing across cities, countries and continents. It is highly productive; creating a picture of the why, where, what and how contemporary food sharing takes place. Certainly, the diverse collection of food sharing initiatives documented provides a counter-balance to much of the sharing economies research which has tended to focus on a small number of high profile, for-profit enterprises which are using ICT to link up those with idling resources and capacity and those who wish to avail of it. The SHARECITY100 not only provides the foundation for more in-depth explanatory and comparative scholarly analysis, it also provides the bedrock on which connections and networks amongst and between sharing initiatives can be forged, and both nascent and active food sharers and those who seek to regulate the sharing of food can come together.An open access and interactive version of the SHARECITY100 database and map is hosted on the project website. The database has been viewed more than 4900 times from 86 countries since going live and was shortlisted as a finalist in the REFRESH Food Waste Solution Contest in 2017. The entire database was manually checked after one year and broken links corrected and inactive initiatives removed from the website. New initiatives are added as they are identified.

Two papers and a Working Paper have been published based on this phase of research and one Briefing Note for non-academic stakeholders which outlines the key findings, trends and patterns which emerged from this phase of high-level comparative research.
• Davies, A.R. (2016) SHARECITY Working Paper 2: Urban Food Sharing Scoping Database, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
• Davies, A., and Weymes, M. (2017) SHARECITY Briefing Note 2: The SHARECITY Profiles, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
• Davies, A.R. Edwards, F., Marovelli, B., Morrow, O., Rut, M., Weymes, M (2017) Making Visible: Making visible: Interrogating the performance of food sharing across 100 urban areas Geoforum, 86: 136-149
• Davies, A.R. Edwards, F., Marovelli, B., Morrow, O., Rut, M., Weymes, M. (2017) Creative construction: Crafting, negotiating and performing urban food sharing landscapes. Area, 49(4): 510-518. DOI: 10.1111/area.


Task B: In-depth investigation of food sharing economies [Objectives 1 & 2]

In-depth data collection of food sharing initiatives in contrasting contexts within and beyond Europe has been completed in nine cities: Dublin, Melbourne, Berlin, Singapore, Barcelona, San Francisco, New York, Athens and London. City Profiles derived from the SHARECITY100 Database and literature and policy reviews have been developed and are available from the project website. Analysis of the rich body of ethnographic data is ongoing and results are being analysed for publication. A number of publications are in progress in relation to this task including a Special Issue for Geoforum. Further publications from this body of work will emerge over the course of project.

• Davies, A., and Weymes, M. (2017) SHARECITY Briefing Note 2: SHARECITY Profiles, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
• Weymes, M. and Davies, A.R. (2018) Disruptive technologies? Scaling relational geographies of ICT-mediated surplus food redistribution. Journal of Cleaner Production
• Edwards, F and Davies, A.R. (2018) Connective Consumptions: Mapping Melbourne’s Food Sharing Ecosystem. Urban Policy Review
• Davies, A. and Evans, D. (2018) Urban Food Sharing: Geographies, Practices and Disruptions. Geoforum
• Davies, A. and Evans, D. (2018) Editorial: Urban food sharing: Emerging geographies of production, consumption and exchange, Geoforum
• Weymes, M. and Davies, A.R. (2018) Landscapes of food surplus redistribution in San Francisco, Geoforum
• Rut, M. and Davies A.R. (2018) Transition without confrontation? Shared food growing niches and sustainable food transitions in Singapore, Geoforum
• Morrow, O. (2018) Sharing Food and Risk in Berlin’s Urban Food Commons, Geoforum.
• Marovelli, B. (2018) Cooking and Eating Together in London: Food Sharing Initiatives as Collective Spaces of Encounter, Geoforum
• Edwards, F. (2018) Food Sharing Ecosystems: An Urban Political Ecology Analysis of Diverse Food Sharing Practices, Geoforum
• Weymes, M. and Davies, A.R. (2018) [Re]Valuing Surplus: Transitions, technologies and tensions in redistributing prepared food in San Francisco, GeoForum https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.11.005
• Morrow, O. (2019) Community Self-Organizing and the Urban Food Commons in Berlin and New York. Sustainability 11.13 (2019): 3641. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133641



Task C: Sustainability impact toolkit [Objective 1 & 3]

Task C will generate a co-designed on-line assessment tool to enable food sharing initiatives to record the impact of their practices. Task C builds on knowledge and relationships developed in tasks A & B to achieve Objective 3 which is to design and test an assessment framework to examine the impact of city-based food sharing economies on societal relations, economic vitality and the environment. A sustainability assessment tool “SHARE-IT” was launched in January 2020. The sustainability assessment toolkit SHARE IT has three components. First, the Toolshed, which provides a guided sustainability assessment process for food sharing initiatives; second, the Talent Garden, which serves as an online space for food, sharing initiatives to share their impact assessment summaries. The third component is the Greenhouse as a matchmaking service for food sharing initiatives to exchange knowledge and experiences.

• Davies, A. et al. (2018) SHARECITY Briefing Note 3: Goals & Impacts, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. ERC Grant No: 646883
• Mackenzie, S. G., Davies, A. R. (2019): SHARE IT: Co-designing a sustainability impact assessment framework for urban food sharing initiatives. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Volume 79, 2019, 106300, ISSN 0195-9255, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eiar.2019.106300.

Drawing on social accounting and social enterprise impact analyses (NEF, 2006) and assessment developed to examine grassroots sustainability enterprises (Davies and Mullin, 2011), six initiatives drawn from three cities and the initial 38 initiatives involved in Task B are participating in the co-design of a flexible impact toolkit. These are:

• Growing: Citizen farm, Singapore; Muck and Magic, Dublin;
• Cooking & eating together: Be Enriched Community Kitchen, London
• Redistribution: FoodCloud, Dublin; Food Bank, Singapore
• Multifunctional: Global Generation, Skip Garden & Kitchen, London


Task D: The future of food sharing governance [Objective 1 & 4]

The future of food sharing governance research has, and continues to, assess governance responses to food sharing. A two-day multi-stakeholder workshop SHARING FUTURES took place in Dublin in September 2019 and brought together 30 thought leaders in urban food policy including academics, food sharing practitioners, and policy shapers.

A Post-Doctoral Researcher is currently being recruited to develop this work through Reporting Period 4 and to the end of the SHARECITY Research Project.
"Progress beyond the state of the art has been made at each stage of the research process:

1. SHARECITY has developed the first typology of contemporary urban food sharing and this has been published in international peer-reviewed journals.
2. The SHARECITY100 Database has documented, for the first time, the landscape of ICT-mediated urban food sharing internationally. This has led to international peer-reviewed journals and a highly visible platform for urban food sharing.
3. The in-depth ethnographies have produced unprecedented comparative data from multi-sited ethnographies and have resulted in major publications (including a Book and Special Issue).
4. The development of the first co-designed sharing sustainability toolkit ""SHARE-IT"" has been completed.
5. The final phase focused on the governing the future of food sharing will commence in 2020 onwards for Reporting Period 4 (April 1st 2020 - end of project, i.e. 30 June 2021).
6. A low-carbon final virtual conference will provide the platform for communicating the cumulative results of the project in 2020."