What is foodsharing and what is it not?

Firstly, foodsharing is an NGO based in Germany whose goal it is to end food waste. foodsharing wants to reach this goal by raising awareness about said problem via interactive foodsaving experiences and PR work. Secondly, foodsharing runs an online platform under the same name that allows people to coordinate to save food from businesses and make it accessible to people again - 'saving' food means picking it up before it gets thrown away; it's not about acquiring donations! Thirdly, foodsharing is the name of the method to build up cooperations with stores to save their food, and to create a community of volunteer foodsavers who do the pickups and take care of the food's redistribution - free of charge and to anybody who can make use of the food.

Hence, foodsharing is not a food bank - food waste is our topic, not feeding the poor. foodsharing is not a business - nobody is making profits out of this endeavor, all work is done voluntarily. foodsharing is an offer, really, for you to make the best of it! :)

When will foodsharing come to my area?

When you make it happen! foodsharing is not a corporation aiming for new markets, it's a volunteer-driven organization that fights to end food waste. There's always more work to do than people available to actually do it, so we just don't have the capacities to also come to your area and build up a well functioning foodsharing infrastructure there. Sorry.

However, we're more than happy to help you do it yourself! There is a lot of information and help available online that we compiled specifically for people wanting to start foodsharing in their cities. It is completely free, so please don't hesitate to use, translate and modify it in any way you like!

Can we use the name and logo? Whose permission do we need?

You don't need any permission as long as you stick to foodsharing's main values. Those are:

  1. Good food needs to be eaten - not wasted!
  2. Saved food is passed on unconditionally - never sold!
  3. Only share food of a quality you would eat - not less!

That means that we expect you to treat the name and logo with respect and behave in a way that doesn't discredit us and our reputation. If you go out, build up cooperations with stores, train foodsavers, distribute food for free, organize info stands and hangouts and thus create a nice initiative in which people work together to save food and raise awareness for the topic of food waste, feel free to call yourself 'foodsharing'! :)

What about the online platform? Can we use it?

foodsharing is fully open source (see the repository on gitlab), so yes, you can use it. If you want to have a version in, let's say, French that runs on foodsharing.fr, however, there is still quite some work required. Here's why:

When all this is done you have your very own instance of foodsharing in your preferred language and can do with it what you like. We would help you along the way, of course, but please be aware of the fact that it would be you doing the bulk of the work. Still, this is not meant to discourage you (!) and if you'd like to get started with the process described above, please don't hesitate to contact us directly!

Are there alternatives?

Yes, multiple ones. The most prominent being Karrot - a platform that has been designed for the exact use case of non German-speaking people wanting to start foodsharing. It is not a clone of foodsharing.de but tries to come up with new ways for groups to organize on equal footing. You can watch this talk if you're interested in the theory and ideals behind, or you can just try out Karrot on the hosted instance we provide (that would be here).

Another alternative is to simply not use software at all. Because at first all you really need are people and motivation and the instant use of a platform could lead to a false sense of getting organized when all you really have is some dead online group... If you speak German you can of course use foodsharing.de. In that case just get in contact with the BotschafterInnenbegr├╝├čungsteam and ask them about registering a district for you.

What are the benefits and disadvantages to each of these solutions?

One benefit of Karrot is that you can directly register a group and get going. It is a software that is made for individual groups (that can also have different names) and yours could be one of them. But this benefit is at the same time the main disadvantage when comparing it to foodsharing: foodsharing is made for a whole country, with a shared map, nested districts and a whole lot of structures that go way beyond the day-to-day foodsaving activities.

Another, even more important, difference between the two is how they let you organize as a group. foodsharing is employing the traditional hierarchical model and comes with several user roles and clearly distributed responsibilities and rights - also on the online platform. Karrot, however, aims for user empowerment via progressive democratic decision-making features and basically no hierarchy. On foodsharing the ambassadors and store coordinators have power over mere foodsavers and foodsharers, whereas in Karrot everybody can do anything as soon as they outgrew the newbie status.

In short: If you want to start something locally in your city and/or build up your own thing from scratch, Karrot is the way to go. If you want to become part of an already existing organization bring it to your country to create a nation-wide opportunity for people to save food, you probably want to gather a team and tackle the great task of localizing foodsharing for your country.

Where can I find more information on foodsharing and Karrot?

There is a nice wiki about foodsharing. Unfortunately it only exists in German so far (as at January 2020). The development, however, takes place in English and all the issues on gitlab are in English, too.

Karrot is discussed in the international community forum, as well as in its issues on github.

Will foodsharing.de/at/ch and Karrot merge at some point?

There have been people talking about that again and again, but actually nothing like this is planned. As you can see from the points above, foodsharing and Karrot are different things, made for different purposes, just sharing the same topic. The development teams of the respective projects did never work on merging the two, although they do know each other and often even share the same physical space. So, who knows what will happen in future, but for now it seems unlikely that the benefits of synergy could outweigh the differences in structure and vision.