Food waste is a huge issue locally and globally. The recent proliferation of apps focused on food sharing and food waste reduction (e.g. Olio, Too Good To Go, Casserole Club and FoodCloud) shows that people are finding exciting new ways to tackle it. But there are recurring questions:
- Who is really benefiting? Are we creating solutions simply for the digitally connected and technologically privileged?
- Is there a way to harness the excitement and gratitude from receiving free/cheap food through these apps to connect with people/projects who are not benefiting?
- Can digitally-enabled food sharing encourage and translate into face-to-face meal-sharing?
- Whose voices are missing from these discussions? How can we ‘design in’ the face-to-face and use digital with the most vulnerable people?
Supported by a Brighton Digital Festival 2016 Grassroots Fund award, ONCA, Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and MakerClub brought makers, developers and young people together with people using these services to explore solutions to these questions at a Harvest Hack. With the help of volunteer mentors, MakerClub Brighton’s after-school club participants explored a range of socially-beneficial possibilities through a combination of creativity, innovative problem solving and technology. They delved into food sharing-inspired questions, worked in small teams to explore the aspects of the issue that interested them, then moved from brainstorming into rough prototyping. During BDF, each participant/ team presented their project to a BDF panel and received prizes donated by Technology Will Save Us and Boss Alien.