New project cultivates the change for a sustainable and resilient food-sharing

The CULTIVATE EU-funded project aims to increase awareness and knowledge of Food Sharing Initiatives (FSIs), understand what drives or hampers their practice, and foster sustainability, inclusion, and resilience in urban and peri-urban food systems through food sharing

On 23 and 24 March, all the 19 partners gathered in Dublin to kick off the project. The general assembly, hosted by the CULTIVATE coordinator Trinity College, was crucial to set the basis of the project and plan the next year’s activities.

Project lead Anna Davies, Trinity Professor and Chair of Geography, Environment and Society, said

“The ancient practice of food sharing provides ways of growing, cooking, eating and redistributing surplus food collaboratively that can create many benefits for people and the planet. CULTIVATE will work with contemporary food sharing entrepreneurs, local authorities, food sharing initiatives, researchers and citizens to help identify, support and enact social innovation for sustainable and resilient urban and peri-urban food systems in the 21st Century.” 

In a world where all the resources are constantly harnessed and almost never equally distributed, an urgent transition towards more just and sustainable urban and peri-urban food systems is required. Many FSIs already provide a positive contribution towards this transition yet their activities are often hampered by complex, fragmented food governance, uncertain finance and insecure tenure.

To achieve its aims, CULTIVATE will co-create a specific platform, the Food Sharing Compass. This is a social innovation support platform for key stakeholders in food sharing: FSIs, policy makers, food supply actors, researchers, and citizens. Based on five tools, the Compass helps these stakeholders navigate food sharing landscapes and cultures to understand, develop, replicate, scale out and strengthen food sharing and create more sustainable, resilient, and healthy urban and peri-urban food systems.

Actively involved in CULTIVATE are three hub and six spoke locations, which will sow the seeds for the first CULTIVATE project harvest. The hub cities of Milan, Utrecht and Barcelona will be the site for the initial field data collation and activation of the compass tools, while the spoke locations of Lisbon, Brighton, Dublin, Athens, Brno, and Freiburg are sites for replication and further testing of the tools that will make up the Food Sharing Compass. CULTIVATE will support for the European Green Deal’s Action Plan, Food 2030, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the EU’s climate change ambitions.

Photo Credit: Trinity College Dublin