Urban food sharing in the 21st century: Come dine with us!
Last week ended with Katrin meeting Dr. Ferne Edwards from RMIT Europe, the Royal Melbourne Institute’s European branch. Amongst the various subjects they explored was the recent (May 2019) publication Urban Food Sharing: rules, tool & networks compiling the results of SHARECITY, a European-funded research project led by Prof. Anna Davies at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Ferne, a cultural anthropologist with a long-standing expertise in urban food and food mapping was one of the project’s five research team members.
Ferne quotes André Viljoen’s and Katrin Bohn’s CPUL book as one of her inspirations.
The new SHARECITY book explores the history and current practice of food sharing. Illustrated by rich case studies from around the world, the book uses new empirical data to set an agenda for research and action. From its description:
‘In May 2019, The Guardian reported that a third of adults in the UK regularly eat alone; a figure which rises to almost half of all adults within London. This pattern of eating marks a radical departure from the bulk of human history where coming together around food was not just a pragmatic practice […] but also a highly socialised experience where relations between individuals were cemented.
Media coverage of eating alone often focuses on the problems that underpin this shift: […]. These trends are disheartening, but there are also many thousands of inspiring activities in urban areas around the globe where explicit attempts to reinvigorate collective experiences around food from community gardens and cafes to gleaning events and surplus food redistribution initiatives are taking place.
So why do we not hear more about these food sharing activities? Partly it is because they often fly under the media radar. […] In a world where big is often unquestionably seen as best, the small-scale and grounded nature of urban food sharing initiatives can easily be dismissed as an irrelevance.
However, the increasing pervasiveness of digital and mobile information and communication technologies (ICT) and the emergent phenomenon of ‘the sharing economy’, have changed this. Many digital traces of food sharing can now be mapped, giving visibility to the distributed actions of food sharing initiatives, creating an aggregated population of practices that can be interrogated and evaluated.’
The publication can be found here.
For further information on the SHARECITY project see here.
Image: Cover of the publication Urban Food Sharing (source: Anna Davies / Sharecity www 2019)