Posts Tagged ‘sharing’

Sharing the (sour)dough: Pasta Madre

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on May 23rd, 2013

Sourdough for sharing

From Hands into the Dough (in the latest Slow Food International newsletter):

Nothing is more satisfying than preparing your own bread at home, using your flour of choice, kneading the dough, waiting while it rises and then finally savoring its aroma fresh out of the oven. However, for amateur and professional bakers alike, real bread requires the use of the ancient sourdough technique – the cultivation and use of a starter dough that provides a diversity of natural yeasts and bacteria.

Each year the Pasta Madre (mother dough) food community (part of Slow Food’s Terra Madre network) organizes Pasta Madre Day – a day celebrated across Italy with events to promote traditional sourdough bread. Free pieces of mother dough are handed out with recipes and information is provided on where to source good flour.

Riccardo Astolfi, the community’s founder, says: “the easiest way to start is to ask somebody for a piece of the mother dough they are already using.” If you are in Italy, the groups’ website www.pastamadre.net lists more than 1,000 bakers who are willing to give away a piece of their dough to any interested home bakers. If not, you can follow the follow instructions to prepare your own sourdough starter.

>> Read the full article for more, including instructions on making sourdough


Food Incubators: Commercial Kitchens in the Sharing Economy

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on April 15th, 2013

unionkitchen floorplan2
Image: Union Kitchen’s Floor Plan

From “Share Everything: Why the Way We Consume Has Changed Forever” by Emily Badger for The Atlantic Cities:

“The “equipment library” at Union Kitchen in Northeast Washington, D.C., contains some of the more mundane artifacts of the modern “sharing economy”: an oversized whisk, a set of spatulas, ladles, chopping knives, sheet pans and tongs. “Collaborative consumption,” as it’s also known, is more often associated with the big-ticket items that have given the concept such bemusing cachet. Suddenly, it seems, people are casually lending and borrowing cars, bikes, even brownstones. But this basic kitchenware, hanging in a 7,300 square-foot warehouse, reveals the reaches to which all this sharing could ultimately expand, as well as the reasons why it will have to.

Union Kitchen moved into the space in late November of 2012, taking over what had been the commissary for a chain of local kabob houses. Jonas Singer and Cullen Gilchrist had been looking to expand the kitchen operations for a café they own in the city. But this two-story red brick warehouse situated on a cramped manufacturing block was more space than they needed. So they turned the warehouse – complete with a walk-in freezer, two fridges and prep space for two-dozen entrepreneurs – into a shared kitchen and food incubator. For $500 a month, member chefs get a share of their own prep table, access to communal equipment, pantry shelves, and ingredients at wholesale prices.

By early January, the kitchen already had nearly a dozen members, including a cupcake food truck company, a caterer specializing in mole sauces and chocolate cakes, and the city’s lone Kombucha brewer. It would be prohibitively expensive for any of them to open their own commercial kitchens. But – and this is a related problem – there also isn’t affordable space enough in this growing city to do so.

“The reality is that if D.C. swells from a place where there are 500,000 people in 2010 to a place where there are 850,000 in 2020, well what are we doing with those 350,000 extra people who are here?” Singer asks, sitting on a couch in the kitchen’s lounge. “We’re all living in slightly smaller spaces. Obviously the per-capita number of car owners has to go down. The amount of space like this is going to be much tighter. A lot of the sharing economy just has to do with the number of people living per square foot of land. It’s all about physical space.””

>> Read the full article (there’s much more) by Emily Badger on The Atlantic Cities.


Alternative currency creating positive change: Volos, Greece

Posted in Models, Movements by Jessica Bird on December 5th, 2012

Source: Shareable

Screenshot from the BBC News video ‘Greek town develops bartering system without Euro

From the article ‘Greek Town Taps Bartering for a More Shareable City‘ by Kelly McCartney

As Greece continues to search for solutions to its national economic crisis, the port town of Volos has adopted an old-school barter system to help its citizens muddle through. Five years into their recession with 21 percent unemployment, some Volos residents who were short on Euros but long on other resources created a local currency (called TEMs in Greek) that is traded based on non-monetary contributions into the online system. People sign up for a TEMs network account, see what services they might offer to other folks in their area who are in need, and start amassing credits that can be cashed in for things they themselves need. TEMs can be used for everything from bakers to babysitters, teachers to technicians. In theory, the value of one TEM is equal to the value of one Euro.

One participant, acupuncturist Bernhardt Koppold, explained, “It’s an easier, more direct way of exchanging goods and services. “It’s also a way of showing practical solidarity — of building relationships.” Maria Choupis, co-founder of the TEMs network, echoed that sentiment regarding the local alternative currency systems: “They are as much social structures as economic ones. They foster intimacy and mutual support.” Speaking to NPR, Volos Mayor Panos Skotiniotis encouraged municipal governments around the world to consider similar programs of their own to fill in where government and the traditional market are failing to adequately serve citizens: “This is a substitution for the welfare state, and that is why this municipality is encouraging it and wants it to grow.” For its part, though, the Greek Parliament is also very supportive, passing legislation to encourage various non-traditional forms of “entrepreneurship and local development.” Thankfully, other governments are listening. Many more Germans have jumped into alternative currency systems since the Euro was launched. More than two dozen systems now exist there. […] The United States, too, has a number of toes in the alternative currency water […]

Back in Greece, the TEMs system is but one of more than a dozen like it around the country. And, as the new thinking and new currencies take root, more opportunities grow. In Volos, daily markets allow people to barter and trade to their heart’s content. Choupis noted, “They’re quite joyous occasions. It’s very liberating, not using money.” By not being limited by price tags, almost anything is possible. Choupis relayed the story of a woman who arrived at a market with three trays of cakes she had made. The woman’s asking price was only one unit per cake, which Choupis questioned: “I asked her: ‘Do you think that’s enough? After all, you had the cost of the ingredients, the electricity to cook …’ “She replied: ‘Wait until the market is over’, and at the end she had three different kinds of fruit, two one-litre bottles of olive oil, soaps, beans, a dozen eggs and a whole lot of yoghurt. ‘If I had bought all this at the supermarket,’ she said, ‘it would have cost me a great deal more than what it cost to make these cakes.’”

No matter the city, keeping resources and economic systems close to home has both a trickle-down and a ripple-out effect. As more and more local governments open their minds and laws to what alternative currencies and sharing economies have to offer, the more resilient, self-sufficient, and sustainable their populations will become. […]

>> You can read the full article on Shareable, or watch the BBC News video report on the BBC website.


Toolbanks: Shared resources for neighbourhood non-profits

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on July 17th, 2012

Source: The Atlantic Cities

Photo: Christian City via volunteerpublishing

From “The Awesome Power of Toolbanks” by Andrew Zaleski:

[…]

Picture a massive shed stocked with shovels, rakes, power tools, wheelbarrows, ladders, water hoses, work gloves—even a tiller and a generator. Since opening last year, Charlotte’s ToolBank has equipped more than 11,000 volunteers at 500 different projects, lending tools with a combined retail value of $243,000 for only $7,200. It now provides 134 nonprofit agencies with tools.

The Charlotte location is just one of several ToolBanks nationwide. The original, Atlanta Community ToolBank, celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Baltimore’s ToolBank opened at the end of May, and another is scheduled to open in Cincinnati later this summer. Local nonprofits can rent tools for just three percent of the cost of the tool, multiplied by the number of weeks it’s needed. A shovel that normally costs $30 to buy? A paltry $1.80 cents to rent it for two weeks from the ToolBank.

The rentals fees are just “enough to get people to bring the tools back,” says Patty Russart, who has served as executive director of Atlanta’s ToolBank for nearly four years.

But the ToolBank means more than the convenience of having a warehouse brimming with inexpensive power tools. According to Angela Munson, the executive director in Charlotte, ToolBanks do two significant things: increase nonprofits’ capacity to serve by allowing them to spend less money on expensive equipment while at the same time transforming volunteerism by turning fewer people who want to help away. “By having access to our tools, projects get done faster, and you can put everybody to work at the same time,” she says.

[…]

Perhaps the bigger triumph for ToolBanks is the money they save cities. In Charlotte, nonprofits that offer to do painting and landscaping work for public schools regularly head to the ToolBank to rent equipment. In Atlanta, neighborhood planning units looking to spruce up city blocks turn to the ToolBank to cut down on equipment costs. Last year, after Atlanta initiated its Love Your Block program to provide mini-grants to people who submitted community clean-up projects, the ToolBank formed a partnership with city government and the Home Depot Foundation whereby the foundation provided tools to the groups at no fee.

“The city couldn’t do that with their limited funding,” says Russart.

Not to mention the benefits for volunteers, who aren’t waiting around for their turn with the sole wheelbarrow or tiller. “Volunteers hate being asked to bring their own stuff,” Munson says. And allocating adequate resources to volunteers can be a crucial component to keeping them coming back in the future, according to the Urban Institute.

The ToolBanks’ biggest advantage, according to Rink? “You create bigger and better opportunities for companies to give back to the community,” she says. “You can’t beat it.”

Read the full article by Andrew Zaleski.


Sharing Stuff: A review of challenges and unexpected results

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 9th, 2012


Photo by mtsofan via flickr CC

From “Collaborative Chats Recap: Stuff-Sharing: Where’s the Traction?” by Millicent Johnson on Shareable:

This month’s Collaborative Chats explored the world of peer to peer goods sharing services. While everyone loves the concept of sharing underutilized household items, these platforms have had a challenging time gaining traction. Throughout the evening we explored the challenges, lessons, and future of goods sharing. Joining the conversation were:

  • Tim Hyer, Founder and CEO, Getable
  • Micki Krimmel, Founder and CEO, NeighborGoods
  • Kip Harkness, Assistant City Manager, City of San Jose
  • Chris Smith, Co-Founder and CEO, NorCal Rental Group

Below are some reflections from the evening. Check back for the video next week!

What are the Biggest Challenges Facing Peer to Peer Goods Sharing Companies?

The conversation started by discussing the challenges of running a peer to peer goods sharing service. Micki said that when a lot of these services started a few years ago, people assumed that financial transactions were the only type of transaction that would draw people to share. Turns out people don‘t share household items for financial gain alone- it’s simply not the same return on investment as sharing your car or home. It’s a lot of work to post an item and take a picture, just to let someone use your power drill. She’s learned that the value for people who share their stuff is actually the social transaction and return. She reminded us that there are lots of ways that we transact with each other every day, like taking someone out to lunch in exchange for advice, that don’t involve a clear financial exchange but we still perceive them as valuable. She thinks that the challenge for the industry now is to figure out how to get people to pay for the value they receive through the social transaction of sharing.

Tim from Getable felt like the initial challenge for the industry is inventory of goods. When people are able to access a good they need immediately and seamlessly they’re more likely to rent or share in the future. That’s why Getable partnered with traditional sharing businesses like rental companies, to ensure a reliable transaction with guaranteed inventory of what people actually need to share. Micki challenged this assertion by pointing out that on NeighborGoods they have the opposite challenge – lots of inventory and people willing to share and not enough people wanting or looking to borrow, which was fascinating.

Check out the full post by Millicent Johnson on Shareable to read the responses to the other discussion points, below:
  • Is There a Cultural Barrier to Renting Goods?
  • New Ways of Thinking of Transactions
  • New Forms of “Neighborhood”
  • How Sharing can Help Governments
  • The Future of Goods Sharing

Farmhack: Open-source agricultural technology

Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on July 4th, 2012

Source: Shareable

From “FarmHack: Collaboratively Retooling Agriculture” by Benjamin Brownell:

FarmHack is a network for sharing open source know-how amongst the distributed fringe of DIY agricultural tech aficionados and innovators. In the same vein as Appropedia or Open Source Ecology, a collaborative digital knowledge-base facilitates the harvest of crowd wisdom to address challenges and inefficiencies in modern ecological (and economical) farm operation. It is a project of Young Farmers Coalition and somewhat angled to the exuberant and tech-savvy eco-preneurial demographic, but inclusive and supportive of all open earthy inhabitants.

A primary focus of the organization is toward intensive development meet-ups, teach-ins, and hackathons, in person, on the farm. Just after landing at my new rural summer farm home and hack-factory in Vermont, I learned of one such get-together nearby on Lake Champlain. It appealed as a chance to meet peers, learn about the local Intervale organic agricultural enterprise collective, and practice some “agile” collaborative protocols in fresh context.

[…]

We were first treated to a tour of the Intervale Center, and the predominantly “hacked” implements and equipment of its Farmers’ Cooperative, such as automated greenhouses, root vegetable washer (designed in conjunction with University of Vermont engineering students), salad greens dryer (Amana brand washing machine uncased and set to spin), four-barrelled flame-throwing weed exterminator, and electric tractor-to-be. Use of these is on a per-hour honor system basis, with a proportional pooled fund (plus lots of good-natured volunteer effort) to cover maintenance, repairs, and new purchase. It’s effective, productive, and proliferating (link is an “idea worth sharing” pdf pamphlet on farm equipment co-ops from University of Sasketchewan Center for the Study of Cooperatives).

Rural areas–so many in stark economic decline today–are in fact a wealth of raw materials, practical skill, and entrained devotion towards creative repurposing and sustainable initiative. Some of the best comfort and satisfaction about life on and with a piece of land, is that there is always plenty to “do;” to explore, to evaluate and improve upon, to hack away at in a mechanical or strategic manner–with room for creativity and eclectic flair–leading directly to concrete (frequently delicious and/or nutritious) result.

[…]

Commercial crop production and domestic animal management is intensely context-sensitive and dynamic vocation. It’s frequently demeaning and discouraging. It’s relatively crap pay. And, it is occasionally a paramount satisfaction returned for gritty labors in the public interest that are literally life-giving. Sustainable food systems are the long-range engine and “money supply” of our civil society. Open sourcing the know-how and effective story lines of successful ventures within this realm will invite citizens back into the processes and rewards of collaborative solving for abundance, ecology, community, and culture.

Read the full article by Benjamin Brownell on Shareable.


Funding small-scale solar projects for widespread gains

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on May 3rd, 2012


Photo by Rajiv Patel (Rajiv’s View) via flickr CC

From “Solar rooftops sought in poor communities” by Bernice Yeung:

San Diego is home to more than 2,600 solar residential rooftops – more than any other California city – but in the neighboring lower-income community of National City, there are only about a dozen.

A bill before the California Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce this month seeks to equalize renewable energy installation in the state by promoting small-scale solar rooftops in the disadvantaged communities. The bill targets neighborhoods with high unemployment rates and those that “bear a disproportionate burden from air pollution, disease, and other impacts from the generation of electricity from the burning of fossil fuels,” the bill said. Bill author Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, said the legislation would create jobs and build “cleaner, safer, and healthier neighborhoods.”

[…]

The legislation would require the state to install enough systems to produce 375 megawatts of renewable energy – or about 1,000 small-scale projects – in disadvantaged communities between 2014 and the end of 2020. Utility companies are required by a 2011 state law to achieve a 33 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2020. The renewable energy systems supported by Fong’s bill would take the form of rooftop solar installations on apartment complexes and commercial buildings, and each project would be limited to producing 500 kilowatts of power, a project the size of a typical Costco rooftop. Advocates say passage of the bill could improve both the health and economy of these low-income communities.

Through a program known as “feed-in tariff,” the owner of the solar panels would be able to earn revenue by selling back unused energy to the local utility company. Additionally, the bill promotes the hiring of local workers to install the solar panels. And because reliance on carbon dioxide-emitting power plants used during periods of high energy demand – called peaker plants – could be decreased with an increase in renewable energy creation, there are health implications to the bill, said Strela Cervas of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, which sponsored the legislation.

[…]

Read the full article by Bernice Yeung on California Watch.


The Garage Sale Trail

Posted in Events, Movements by Jessica Bird on April 13th, 2012


Photo by Eastlaketimes via Flickr CC

From The Garage Sale Trail: Thousands of garage sales all over Australia on one huge day – Saturday 5th May 2012

The Garage Sale Trail is about sustainability, community & creativity. It’s a organisational framework that enables the peer-to-peer exchange of assets, resources and money on a hyper local level but with national scale. Garage Sale Trail is a platform for anyone who wants to make some money or raise money for a cause and for anyone who wants to connect with their community. That’s makers & creators, local business, households, cultural institutions, charities and community groups.

In brief, the Garage Sale Trail is about making sustainability both fun & social and using the Internet to get people off the Internet:

  • The Garage Sale Trail is a program that enables the peer-to-peer exchange of assets, resources and money on a hyper local level but with national scale. It happens all over Australia on one day, Saturday May 5th 2012
  • The Garage Sale Trail is about sustainability, creativity, community and micro-enterprise
  • The Garage Sale Trail is a platform for anyone who wants to make some money or raise money for a cause and for anyone who wants to connect with their community.
  • The Garage Sale Trail is for makers & creators, local business, households, cultural institutions, charities and community groups
  • The Garage Sale Trail a perfect way to discover treasure, de-clutter, have fun, make money, make a positive contribution and make neighbourhood connections
  • You can get involved by registering your sale online, shopping on the day – May 5th 2012 and/or donate to the Garage Sale Trail Foundation

FOR SELLERS:

  • If you are a household the Garage Sale Trail is the perfect way to de-clutter & make a little pocket money
  • If you are a maker or creator, use the Garage Sale Trail as an opportunity to market your wares to an audience who want to discover treasure
  • If you are a local business it’s an opportunity to connect to your neighbourhood and make positive contribution to your community
  • If you’re a community group or cultural institution the Garage Sale Trail is the perfect way to fundraise and / or connecting to your local community

FOR BUYERS:

  • Garage Sale Trail is the perfect way to discover treasure
  • Garage Sale Trail is the biggest community-based marketplace
  • The Garage Sale Trail is the best way to find a bargain

Use your mobile on the day to find Garage Sales near you: www.truelocal.com.au

Register your garage sale or plan your trail by visiting garagesaletrail.com.au

The Garage Sale Trail website also has some good tips on holding a garage sale, keeping your sale green, and haggling for a purchase! – [JB]


Jayride: Ridesharing to save money, reduce emissions, and meet people.

Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on February 28th, 2012


Photo: Mosman Council

Carpooling and ridesharing are about sharing your travel. By filling spare seats in your car you can save money, reduce your carbon emissions, meet people and have fun. There are plenty of reasons to carpool. Australian based start-up Jayride helps you get from A to B, suggest carpooling and ridesharing opportunities, as well as buses, shuttles, and other options if there are no carpools operating where you need.

From “Meet Jayride, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Winner [Social Capitalist Category]” by Anthill Magazine:

Looking for a lift from here to there? Jayride wants to be your thumb.

Since 2008, the business founded by businessman/ride-sharing advocate Rod Bishop and web developer Ross Lin has been one of Australia’s leading sources of carpooling… wait for it… evangelism.

Jayride, one of the Anthill’s Smart 100 earlier [last year], uses a slick website structure to link auto drivers and riders. But if the business’ service stopped there, it would be nifty and little more. What makes Jayride cool is how it pushes its brand and how it has plugged in a revenue model designed to keep the company motoring along and driving toward its ambitious goal of extending beyond Australia.   As Bishop puts it: “Traditional carpool marketing sucks. A traditional slogan such as ‘it’s cool to pool’ means nothing, and it’s certainly not cool.  “By contrast, Jayride teams up with music festivals, solving transport problems and piggybacking Jayride onto the festival’s branding. Jayride touts itself as the ‘ultimate warm-up act,’ letting guests ‘meet fun randoms’ and ‘have great roadtrips with likeminded music lovers.’”

3,000 cars carpooled to Splendour In the Grass festival, with 500 people using Jayride. Jayride targets students, and helps tourists see sights in ways that are greener and more fun.  Jayride, which to date has about 7,000 members who have shared 80,000 rides.

[…]

Jayride notes that consistent carpoolers save 1.38 tonnes of carbon emissions a year — a save about $2,400 over the same period. By helping Australians fill empty seats in cars, buses, trains and ferries, Jayride takes a bite out of gridlock and the nation’s fuel dependency.  Jayride’s founders actually didn’t devote themselves full-time to the business until the middle of this year, when they put the revenue model in place. Now they’re ready for the long haul.  “The coolest thing about Jayride,” says Bishop, “is that it has found its niche problem and designed a niche solution that has the ability to deliver real, effective change in people’s lives.”

Jayride recently received $400,000 in seed funding to continue expanding their service and coverage.

Check out jayride.com for more details.

 


FoodPool: Re-distribution at the neighbourhood scale

Posted in Models, Movements, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on November 18th, 2011

Via  City Harvest


Photo by T Gibbison via flickr CC

About FoodPool:

Our backyards are home to a wealth of gardens and fruit trees, many of which bear more produce than the gardener can consume, or more at one time than is desired. Often people end up with piles of unwanted zucchini, plums falling off trees to rot on the ground, peas that grow old and hard before they can be picked and shelled, and other garden produce that goes to waste. At FoodPool, we see the “problem” of excess garden abundance as an opportunity! It is an opportunity to help provide those in need with fresh, ripe, homegrown produce. The only obstacle lies in linking growers with their hungry neighbors.

Our answer is FoodPooling. Our mission is to create small, local groups to gather backyard garden produce and deliver it to food banks and food pantries. These “FoodPools” are modeled on carpools – neighborhood based, easy to set up, and a big win for everyone involved! By creating numerous small, local groups, we feed our neighbors while strengthening our communities.

Through the influence of people like Michelle Obama, Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and many others, more and more people are returning to growing fruits and vegetables in their yards. At the same time, due to a host of factors, there is an ever increasing number of Americans going hungry, eating food of questionable nutritional value, and without access to quality produce. Now more than ever there is a real need for a garden produce donation program on a national scale – hence, FoodPool.

There are already groups gleaning produce in various places – groups whose work we heartily applaud. What makes FoodPool different from existing organizations that gather and donate fruit and/or vegetables is our goal of actively building a network of new gleaning groups in places where they don’t already exist. We seek to spread the notion of assisting the hungry with backyard produce through promotion of this FoodPool “brand” on a national scale.

Find out more on the FoodPool website.