Practice and Sustainability of Urban Food Sharing

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* Research Project: SHARECITY: The practice and sustainability of urban food sharing”. Horizon 2020 research project (Project Number: 646883)


"an affiliated project of the Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production Knowledge Action Network (SSCP KAN) of Future Earth."



"Its objectives are to establish the significance and potential of food sharing economies to transform cities onto more sustainable pathways the project by:

  • Developing deeper theoretical understanding of contemporary food sharing
  • Generating comparative international empirical data about food sharing activities within cities
  • Assessing the impact of food sharing activities
  • Exploring how food sharing in cities might evolve in the future

The project has also developed the first, international an open-access interactive database of more than 4000 food sharing initiatives from across 100 cities around the world providing a platform to inspire new initiatives, to foster learning between initiatives and to begin the process of classifying and categorising different practices; a fundamental pre-requisite to conducting any impact analysis." (



"Buying food is part of everyday life, and seems a normal way to gain access to food. In contrast, food sharing as a means to secure sustenance is somewhat less common in developed cities, at least beyond our friends and family. However, sharing is a fundamental form of cooperation that existed in human societies long before the supermarket. Over the last few years, with the rise in awareness of food waste and its environmental implications as well as emerging discourses around a “sharing economy”, there has been renewed interest in food sharing practices and particularly the role that information and communication technologies (ICT) can play in extending the spaces and sites in which food sharing can take place.

Such ICT-mediated food sharing initiatives hold many promises, not least reducing food waste, increasing food security and forging new social relationships, but do they deliver on such promises? Up until now there have been no inventories of food sharing activities that could answer this question, but the European Research Council project SHARECITY is seeking to change all this. Examining the practices and potential impacts of initiatives that use ICT to facilitate sharing beyond friends and family networks, researchers have produced a useful typology of food sharing for any city willing to map existing sharing activities within its territory and an interactive open access database – the SHARECITY100 Database – of more than 4000 initiatives across 100 cities around the world." (

More information

  • A Special Issue documenting the findings from the case studies will be published in the journal Geoforum in 2018.
  • Davies, A. , Edwards, F. Marovelli, B., Morrow, O. Rut, M., Weymes, M. (2017), “Making visible: Interrogating the performance of food sharing across 100 urban areas”, Geoforum, Vol. 86, pp. 136-149