Published by SHARECITY on the 16th December 2019.


Hi to everyone out there following SHARECITY’s research!

Another year has passed and many exciting things have been happening in the SHARECITY project! One recent highlight in 2019 was the SHARING FUTURES workshop, which took place in September at the Talent Garden (tag), Dublin. We were delighted to have 30 expert practitioners, thought leaders and policy shapers join us in Dublin to work together on identifying solutions to pressing policy challenges for food sharing initiatives.

Policy challenges affecting food sharing activities

To recap, SHARECITY’s in-depth ethnographic and co-designed research has found that food sharing activities – from the shared growing of community gardens, through the collaborative cooking and eating activities of community kitchens, to the redistributive work of surplus food initiatives – are affected by policy challenges which hamper food sharing activities (Davies, Cretella, & Franck, 2019).

The SHARING FUTURES workshop therefore aimed at examining these policy challenges (day 1) and finding suitable responses to support food sharing initiatives in their daily activities (day 2).

The workshop participants, made up of academics, policy shapers, and food sharing practitioners from SHARECITY’s model cities, worked in groups according to their food sharing expertise for a series of workshop exercises. The three sectors of food sharing were:

  • Growing
  • Cooking and Eating
  • Redistributing


The first day started with an introduction to the SHARECITY project by Professor Anna Davies, Principle Investigator of SHARECITY, followed by Dr Agnese Cretella, Postdoctoral Researcher with SHARECITY, who outlined the ongoing research into the policy challenges surrounding urban food sharing and the emerging findings.

The presentations were followed by the first workshop session, in which the discussion focused on the policy challenges for each sector.

The participants investigated these key questions:

  1. Looking at the identified challenges to date, are there any policy challenges missing from SHARECITY’s list?
  2. Given your everyday experience with food sharing activities, what are the most significant policy challenges?

As a first outcome, the policy challenges were ranked according to their significance and key policy challenges were inspected in more detail. At the end of Session 1, those policy challenges identified as having known responses were marked for a further inspection on day 2.


Day 2 focused on pinpointing known (Session 2) and developing novel responses (Session 3) to the identified policy challenges.

The discussion in Session 2 concentrated on these questions:

  1. Which known responses have been developed in relation to some of the policy challenges?
  2. How could these responses be replicated elsewhere?

In Session 3, the workshop participants focused on developing new responses to tackle the more wicked policy challenges for which no know responses were identified previously.

Following the novel responses exercise, the workshop participants established next steps for academics, policy shapers and practitioners and identified what needs to be achieved to overcome the identified policy challenges and to help transform the urban food system onto a more sustainable pathway.

At the end of the SHARING FUTURES workshop, the participants and the SHARECITY team joined on a fieldtrip to the Rediscovery Centre and the Muck and Magic community garden in Ballymun, Dublin.

Results and Outcomes

We are very happy to have been able to gather many inspiring ideas in the two-day workshop! The main outcomes are detailed in the Facilitators’ Summary, so please take a look!

As the analysis of the workshop data is ongoing, results will be published in journal articles, social media and on our website, so please stay tuned.

We would hereby like to take the opportunity thank everyone who joined us on 26th and 27th September 2019 and shared with us their valuable insights!

A big thank you to everyone involved in organising the workshop: the SHARECITY workshop team, the Talent Garden, and the caterers Gourmet Grub (who fed us delicious, sustainable food to fuel our activities) for making it happen. Without your help, the workshop would not have been possible!

As this year is coming to a close, we wish you all a wonderful holidays and a peaceful start to the New Year.

– Anna, Agnese, Monika, Stephen, and Vivien.


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