1) to divide and distribute in shares; apportion—usually used with out
- shared out the land among his heirs
2a) to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others
2b) to have in common
- they share a passion for opera
3) to grant or give a share in—often used with with
- shared the last of her water with us
Not from Merriam-Webster
1) Uber, Lyft
3) Platforms that enable owners, via an iPhone or Android app, to rent out their possessions that would otherwise sit idle, and for which the platform takes a hefty cut
I realize that everyone must earn a living. And I don’t have a problem with services like Lyft or Airbnb… well okay, I have a problem with the downward spiral toward increasingly well-defined master and servant classes that these gazillion-dollar platforms encourage. But mostly, the editor in me cringes every time I hear the term “sharing economy.” Redefining the word “sharing” as someone charging money for a service perverts the English language—and religion, philosophy, common decency and stuff every kindergartener knows innately.
20 25 kinder, gentler endeavors
The organizations and websites listed in this post share resources, prevent waste, help build community or, in most cases, accomplish all three. I hope to expand this list over time, so if you have an addition, please leave a link to it in the comments below.
Food sharing and recovery
All of these organizations provide food for free in some way. Some help divert excess food from landfill, either by enabling people to locate free produce or share what they grow with their neighbors, or by gleaning excess food on farms and distributing it to those in need. Others transform food deserts into urban gardens.
1. Falling Fruit
This website and its accompanying app provide a global map of free edible plants. Enter your address on the website and up pops a map with nearby locations for free foraging. When I entered my info, hundreds of locations popped up within just a few miles of me. Use the site to either list or find food. Check out the website here.
2. Food Is Free Project
This organization encourages people to grow food in their yards and share the excess with their neighbors. The Facebook page has a very large, engaged following.
3. Food not Bombs
Formed in 1980 in the US, this anti-war organization has spread around the world. It collects food that would otherwise be thrown away, cooks meals and distributes it on the street to anyone who wants it. Click here for the website.
4. Guerilla Grafters
It’s motto: “Undoing capitalist civilization one branch at a time.” This group secretly grafts fruit-bearing limbs onto sterile, ornamental fruit trees in urban areas lacking access to fresh produce. The organization appears to have started in San Francisco (from what I can tell…it’s all quite secretive, and rightly so…) and has spread to other cities. Download a guerrilla grafting manual on the organization’s website here.
From the website: “OLIO is a free app that connects neighbours with each other and with local shops and cafes so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Users of the app simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO. Neighbours then receive customised alerts and can request anything that takes their fancy. Pick-up takes place at the home or store, an OLIO Drop Box, or another agreed location—usually on the same day.” Look for the app in the AppStore and on Google Play. Visit the website here.
UK AND EUROPE
6. The Gleaning Network
Part of Feedback, an environmental organization that fights to end food waste, The Gleaning Network brings together farmers with excess produce, volunteers to pick that produce and distributors to get the excess food to those in need. According to the website, “From our start in 2012 to the end of 2016, the Gleaning Network gleaned 288 tonnes of produce—equal to more than 3 million portions of fruit and veg—with over 1,500 volunteers across 154 gleaning days.”
7. Backyard Harvest (Pacific Northwest)
Covering a 4000-mile radius in the Pacific Northwest, this organization collects excess fresh produce and distributes it to those in need in the community. In 2016, it distributed over 34,000 pounds of food that otherwise would have been wasted. Visit the website here.
8. FoodShift (Northern California)
This nonprofit works with communities, businesses, schools and governments to reduce food waste through recovery and distribution of edible food. It also launched a kitchen in 2016 that produces food products from imperfect food. The kitchen hires and trains people facing challenges such as poverty, disabilities or domestic violence. Check out FoodShift’s website here.
9. GleanSLO (San Luis Obispo, California)
Located in an agricultural region about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this organization sends out volunteers to farms—or homes, or the farmers market—to rescue excess produce for distribution to those in need. Click here for the website.
10. Grow It Forward (Cottage Grove, Oregon)
This group trades and exchanges seeds, garden supplies, plant starts, excess produce—and ideas. Members meet the first Saturday of the month and also have a large online forum on Facebook. Check that out here.
11. The Ron Finley Project (Los Angeles, California)
If you haven’t watched gansta gardener Ron Finley’s inspiring TedTalk, watch it below. Ron and his organization have transformed abandoned parking lots and parkways located in the food desert of South Central LA into edible gardens for the community to enjoy. Check out the website here.
UPDATE 07/27/20: More American endeavors:
- City Fruit (Seattle, WA). Volunteers will harvest your excess fruit and donate it to a food bank. Check it out here.
- Urban Gleaners (Portland, OR). Volunteers pick collect food from restaurants, grocery stores, businesses, schools, farms and wholesalers and distribute it to people in need through various organizations. Find out more here.
12. Not Far From the Tree (Toronto, ON)
From the website: “When a [Torontonian] homeowner can’t keep up with the abundant harvest produced by their tree, they let us know and we mobilize a team of volunteers to pick the bounty. The harvest is split three ways: 1/3 is offered to the homeowner, 1/3 is shared among the volunteers, and 1/3 is delivered by bicycle to local food banks, shelters, and community kitchens. It’s a win-win-win solution!” Check out the website here.
13. Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society (Vancouver, BC)
This non-profit picks excess fruit from backyard trees and shares it with neighbors, community centers and day cares. Since it began 16 years ago, it has rescued nearly 60,000 pounds of fruit. Visit the website here.
UPDATE 06/11/20: A few more Canadian endeavours:
14. Affordable Living SA
A joint initiative of The Government of South Australia and The Salvation Army, this organization has locations throughout South Australia, which offer food and so much more. Visit the website here.
15. Food Is Free Laneway Ballarat
Wanting to help her local neighborhood, concerned citizen Lou Ridsdale started her own Food Is Free branch at her home by putting out some of her homegrown vegetables and a “Food Is Free” sign. Those efforts have morphed into a community hub. Check out the Facebook page here.
16. Spare Harvest (mostly Australia)
Through this site, users share, swap or sell excess food they grow in their gardens or on their farms, in addition to tools, plants, cuttings and other garden materials. Click here for the website.
Pay-what-you-feel cafés and grocery stores
So money usually does exchange hands in these organizations that divert food waste from landfill, but unlike all those tech companies claiming to make the world a better place, these cafes and supermarkets actually do.
17. The Real Junk Food Project (UK, Europe, Australia)
I wish we had these here in the US. If you know of one, please send me a link and I’ll update this post. This organization rescues edible food and distributes it through its growing number of cafés and other community organizations. Click here to go to the website.
18. The Warehouse (UK)
Part of The Real Junk Food Project, this supermarket diverts good, edible food from the waste stream and sells it on a pay-what-you-feel basis. Read more about the store here.
19. The Good Food (Germany)
The first German supermarket that sells food waste only, The Good Food rescues perfectly good food from farmers and producers and sells it on a pay-what-you-feel basis. Read about the store here or check out the store’s website here.
20. OzHarvest Supermarket (Australia)
Located in Sydney, this supermarket sells food “perfectly good, perfectly healthy and within date” food that for whatever reason, winds up at the pay-what-you-feel shop because a larger store has decided not to sell it. Read about the store here or watch the video below.
While the news continues to depress most of us, as you can see from this short list (please help me expand it!) lots of sharing still goes on in the world.
“Imagine all the people / sharing all the world”