food-sharing hub; Chicago, IL

What’s the fate of your typical restaurant leftovers? The contents of ubiquitous pizza boxes, styrofoam clamshells, and Asian take-out boxes frequently go uneaten and discarded. Too often the prevailing social culture prompts good food to go to waste; people going out after dinner are not prone to want to schlep around their doggie bags. What if street infrastructure catalyzed the transfer of such leftover food to those in need? What if street infrastructure humanized the act of eating someone else’s leftovers?

The FOODSHED is a community intervention that operates at multiple scales, beginning at a neighborhood’s restaurants. Eatery operators distribute brightly-colored, compostable sporks to their patrons upon packaging their leftovers. Food-carriers are invited to post their sporks on the FOODSHED's Sporkboard and to store their leftovers in its central food-sharing bin. The highly-visible sporks signify the presence of stored food to the community, and invite the hungry to come to the table. By designating a public space for passersby to leave unwanted edibles, the FOODSHED offers an alternative for people who would otherwise be eating less reputable remains out of the trash. The public is invited to engage in a shared meal.

Project Team: Joseph Altshuler, Pete Stam // © CARTOGRAM 2011.