[Re]Valuing Surplus: Transitions, technologies and tensions in redistributing prepared food in San Francisco

Published by SHARECITY on the 11th March 2019.


Attention to value, exchange and circulation has long been a central feature of trade flow analyses. More recently, scholars have sought to extend these frames to examine the ongoing movements of end-of-life goods; essentially examining the waste mobilities of commodities. These flows have particular geographies and practices of valuing and revalorization depending on the material and relational qualities of the commodities in question. However, surprisingly little analysis has taken place of the movement of food surplus within these debates and even less has been conducted with respect to the movements of surplus prepared food. In response, this paper examines the particular value choreography of redistributing surplus prepared food in San Francisco. Four initiatives, which use information and communication technologies (ICT) to help put this particularly challenging form of food surplus to further use, are analysed. Specific attention is given to the transitions, technologies and tensions that shape the [re]valuing of surplus food in places and as it travels across space and time amongst diverse actors. In conclusion, it is argued that while commercial economic values and logics play a pivotal role in opening up particular types of food for redistribution, actual practices of moving food along are suffused with a much more complex and shifting architecture of values and valuers.

Please cite this article as:

Davies, A. and Weymes, M. (2019): [Re]Valuing Surplus: Transitions, technologies and tensions in redistributing prepared food in San Francisco. GeoForum. Volume 99, February 2019, Pages 160-169. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.11.005

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