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London leads the world in food sharing

30 Sep 2016

New European Research Council Study Ranks 100 Cities

London leads the world’s cities in environmental food sharing initiatives, reveals a new study financed by European Research Council launched on September 30.

SHARE CITY database.

The SHARECITY100 Database identifies more than 4000 enterprises in 100 cities around the globe that leverage food sharing to advance urban resource conservation, waste reduction and the building of communities.

London stands alone in the number one position with 198 enterprises, ranging from Belsize Park’s innovative program of mapping and harvesting unwanted fruit around the neighbourhood to the Zero Carbon Food which grows vegetables underground, saving on energy and water. Other exciting initiatives include:

  • Mazi Mas: A social enterprise run by women, Mazí Mas is dedicated to supporting women from migrant and refugee communities. It allows women who aspire to careers in the food industry to obtain paid work experience, develop their skills, tell their stories, and connect with the wider public.
  • Olio Ex: This free app connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses to exchange their edible surplus food. Think food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare vegetables from the allotment, cupcakes from an amateur baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away.
  • Sole Share: London's first Community Supported Fishery brings members super-fresh, seasonal, sustainable local seafood.

New York, with 188, and Melbourne, with 144,come out next best. Dublin sits 36th in the list, with 42.

Trinity College Professor of Geography, Environment and Society, Anna Davies, directs the SHARE CITY project. She has developed an innovative, collaborative approach to assess the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies around the world. The first phase of this research, the SHARECITY100 Database, will be launched globally at the September 30 at EU Researchers Night 2016.

Anna Davies, director of the SHARE CITY project.

SHARECITY shows food sharing initiatives proliferating across the world in Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East, in places as diverse as Buenos Aires, Kuala Lumpur and Nairobi. As cities expand to host 80% of the population by 2050, annual waste production is projected to double again in 15 years. Sharing food and cutting waste are required to make urban areas livable.

“It is critical that our urban food systems become more innovative now to deal with uncertainty around food security in the face of climatic changes in the future,” says Professor Davies. “The diversity of experimentation and creativity in the ICT-enabled food sharing realm from Dublin to Dallas and Delhi, is staggering and SHARECITY100 Database provides the first internationally comparative map of this emergent landscape. This resource will be used by planners and practitioners alike, but being open-access means that anyone who is interested in the new geographies of sharing can interact with the data.”

About the European Research Council

The European Research Council (ERC) encourages high quality research in Europe through competitive funding. Set up in 2007, it has a grant budget of EUR13.1 billion for the period 2014-2020. The total annual budget for 2016 will be almost EUR1.7 billion. Since 2007, more than 5,000 projects have been selected for funding from more than 50,000 application The ERC counts eight Nobel laureates and three Fields Medalists among its grant holders. More than 20,000 articles acknowledging ERC-funding have appeared in peer-reviewed high impact journals between 2008 and 2013

Media Contact

Thomas Deane, press officer for the faculty of engineering, mathematics and science, Trinity College Dublin, at deaneth@tcd.ie or Tel: +353-1-896-4685

Anna Davies, professor of geography, environment and society, Trinity College Dublin, at daviesa@tcd.ie or Tel: +353-1-896-1554 / +353 877834114