Published by SHARECITY on the 22nd January 2020.
SHARECITY has been working with food sharing initiatives over the past two years to help them better understand the impacts of what they do and whether these impacts align with their goals. The recent book Urban Food Sharing (free to download) documents the diversity of these food sharing experiences, but we have also been co-designing a toolkit with some of these initiatives to help with the procedural and technical aspects of impact assessment – SHARE IT.
The SHARE IT Toolkit is a free resource set up to help food sharing initiatives evaluate, communicate and enhance the impact they are having on the sustainability of our food systems.
Food sharing is defined as: “having a portion [of food] with another or others; giving a portion [of food] to others; using, occupying or enjoying [food and food related spaces to include the growing, cooking and/or eating of food] jointly; possessing an interest [in food] in common; or telling someone about [food]” (Adapted from Oxford University Press, 2014).
So any initiative that engages in such activities even as part of a much broader program can be classed as a food sharing initiative that can make use of SHARE IT.
SHARE IT has three areas, The Toolshed, The Talent Garden and The Greenhouse and is accessible.
The video below explains these three main functional areas:
The Toolshed helps food sharing initiatives to undertake sustainability impact assessments of their operations and create an annual sustainability report. The 34 indicators it uses follow a bespoke Sustainability Impact Assessment methodology for food sharing that we set out in an open access article in Environmental Impact Assessment Review.
The Talent Garden allows initiatives to upload stories, endorsements, images and videos that document their impacts as a short post.
The Greenhouse is explicitly designed to help food sharing initiatives connect with each other to exchange knowledge and experience using the knowledge of existing food sharing initiatives gathered during the SHARECITY project.
To make use of SHARE IT you need to register via the link: shareit.sharecity.ie/. This can be done by clicking the circled in the below picture of the home page and filling out the registration questions.
Please see the video below for a short explanation of how to register:
Once your registration has been approved you will be able to log in with your username and password that will be sent to you by email.
When you log in you will enter the user dashboard for SHARE IT, from here you can alter the details of your profile and more importantly access the Toolshed and Talent Garden using the side bar as highlighted in the picture below.
The Toolshed can create sustainability impact assessment reports from any data you input. The Toolshed will create a summary of your sustainability impact assessment (max three pages) as well as a longer report containing all the information you enter.
Ideally data inputted to the Toolshed should refer to impacts over a 12 month period so that it can comprise an annual report for your initiative. The Toolshed is a flexible resource. It does not prescribe how initiatives should measure their impact. Instead, the Toolshed provides a framework for initiatives to understand where they are having impact and to support more robust reporting practices. The detailed user guide for the Toolshed can be found here.
The first step to creating your report in the Toolshed is to click the start new report button shown in the screenshot below.
From there you will come to the area which shows all the available indicators in the Toolshed. A demonstration of how to browse indicators, enter data as well as skip indicators and questions is shown in the video below. You can browse the available indicators and different types of information you can enter as evidence of impact for each indicator. No indicator or question is mandatory in creating your report. So you only need to enter data for those indicators that are relevant to your initiative.
After answering relevant indicator questions for which you have data you can then customise the report that is created for your initiative. There are two stages to this, first you have the option to add some statements to give context to the activities of your initiative as shown in the screen below. For example, how much food is wasted in your country or the levels of food poverty.
You then need to select up to three indicators you have filled in where you feel your initiative is having an important impact as well as up to three that align with the core goals of your initiative. These can be the same three indicators in each case or can be different as appropriate.
Finally, you can select the answers you have entered that you would like to be shown in the summary report. You can select up three quantitative and three qualitative answers that will be shown as seen in the screen below. Once you have made these selections you can preview your report by clicking the preview and confirm button shown in the screenshot below.
You will then be presented with your report shown in the web browser as in the short clip below. If you are happy with the summary report shown then you can select the green publish button and it will be completed. If you would like to change it then you can click the modify button as shown at the end of the video and change the answers that are shown in the summary report.
You can download an example of a summary report produced by the Toolshed here.
You can also find a short instructional video of how to navigate the Toolshed and create your own sustainability impact report here.
The Talent Garden has been set up as a public space for food sharing initiatives to showcase their sustainability impact reports as well as their sharing stories, films and images.
The option to share an impact assessment report will first appear immediately after the summary report is created when you will be presented with the screen below. In order to share the report just select yes (as shown below). If you would also like us to share your report via our social media accounts then just add your Twitter handle or Facebook handle and, once approved, we will send a tweet or post from our account to announce that you have posted a report.
If you decide at a later date you would like to share a report then you can do this in the user area of the Talent Garden. Just select the option to share a new impact report as shown in the screenshot below.
You will then be presented with the screen below. Select the report you wish to share from your list of reports, these are organised by the date on which they were created. Once you have selected your report then just add your Facebook or Twitter handle if you would like this to be published on social media.
There are also other ways to communicate your impact in the Talent Garden beyond posting an impact assessment report. It is possible to share a shorter post – perhaps with a testimony about the benefits of your initiative, a photo or a short video explaining what you do – in the Talent Garden as well.
First click on the Share New Story button in the Talent Garden, the page shown below will then appear. First you will need to give your story a title and a short description of its content. If you wish to add a longer text description to your story then this can be added in the story description. You will also need to add at least three tags or keywords associated with your story, these are any words you wish to have associated with your story. People will be able to search for keywords when looking through the talent garden. After you have typed the text of a tag then press enter to attach this to the story and repeat this process at least three times.
You will need to decide whether you attach either an image or a video to your post. If you would like to use an image then please select image as the story type and upload the image as a file as shown in the screenshot below.
However if your story is a video, It will need to be one posted on Youtube. You will need to enter the URL and also upload an image that you would like to be shown as the poster for the video on The Talent Garden as shown below.
If you would like your story to be posted on social media then please add your Twitter or Facebook handle and, following approval, we will post about it on the SHARECITY account and include a tag for the handle you enter.
The option to join the Greenhouse is open to all SHARE IT users. The purpose of the Greenhouse is build a community of initiatives that share food who wish to learn from others. Those who would like to make connections with others who share their goals or carry out similar activities can flag this through the Greenhouse by filling out the short form shown on the Greenhouse page of the SHARE IT website as shown below. We will update members with news on how the community is developing and in cases where it is possible connect members who share common interests.
Like all such projects, there is room for improvement for the SHARE IT toolkit. We are very happy to hear from users about their experience of using the toolkit and how it can be improved. A quick way to do this is by filling out our feedback form.
You can also get in touch via SHARECITY@tcd.ie with your thoughts and any questions about SHARE IT.
We would like to add a huge thank you to all of our co-design partners BeEnriched, FoodCloud, Global Generation and Muck and Magic for their invaluable insight in building SHARE IT. Thanks also to the Foodscape Collective and the Singapore Foodbank for their feedback during the co-design process. Those who took the time to test and feedback on the beta version of SHARE IT were also very important in this process, so many thanks to Mud Island, Ackerdemia, Whitefriar Aungier Street Community Action Group and Rosepark Independent living.
Finally our immense gratitude goes to our web development partner – Trevor Clowry and the team at Symmetry Solutions for all their hard work and persistence in making our ideas for SHARE IT a reality.
Anna Davies, Stephen Mackenzie, Vivien Franck, Agnese Cretella and Monika Rut
Terms on which the SHARE IT toolkit may be used:
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