OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Carpool 2 Food!

For those people that not know where the local farmers-market are. And for those that does not have access to a car. And for those that want to go on a picnic on a weekend to a farm, but not know which one you could visit. Or if the cheap supermarket is way off the bus-routes and you plan to stock up on heavy items. Or if you are old and does not have access to a car or bus route. If you are temporarily disabled due to a broken foot or hand, you might want simple ways to collaborate to fill up your fridge.

Photo of Johan Löfström
8 3

Written by

This concept is ONLY concerned about the "Food Miles" from the shop and to your kitchen.
The part in the whole food chain that you have largest potential to do the biggest improvements regarding the food miles total travel cost and emissions effectivity.

Why this concept is needed:
Most people do not want to share a ride to work!
Carpools are difficult to set up in many cities. Many carpoolers have tried setting up different systems, but after a while most fail, due to lack of interest.
Distribution from farms to shops are well established and streamlined with existing infrastructure. Any suggestion to a big drastic change there will cause higher food costs.

But if you know you share the interest in organic locallygrown food and trying to find best local markets, lowest food costs and to be able to share a trip together to the countryside with like-minded people from your neighbourhood. (or to low-cost-supermarkets)
We can also make it transparent to car owners the difference in total costs between bus ride and car fuel.

How:
I suggest simple method (online and offline) that will be used to organize car pools in your own car, or in rented mini-vans or bigger buses that go directly from different suburbs or inner city, and on a schedule go visiting farms or to local farmers markets? Or just team up spontaneously with your closest neighbours for a nice day out in the country side. (if one of you have got a large station-wagon) (goal can be just your supermarket outside your city, if it is not close to bus-routes)

Really this concept is just like a neighbourhood-watch-program. easily included in such, where they exist. But with some added smart functions that make it more visible and transparent on how you can relate fuel cost on your car against the bus ticket and other related costs, emissions and time spent on the trip.

Functionality will probably be best on internet so that customers can sit at a computer and prepare their next shopping list. They could perhaps take photo of their last weeks grocery receipt, upload it to a database and get comments and creative feedback from other users.
And with some interactive features see estimate total weight of their shopping bags, and see cost of point-of-sale compared on all different available transport methods is in their area, between their house and the supermarkets. (could also be a smart-phone-app or a printed magazine that is displayed at all shops entrances in the whole area) (farmers or local food processing industry could buy ad space in this publication, if they are responsibly conducting their business in social and environmental ways, and you could write articles to submit into the magazine and online-edition)

Online functionality and interactivity: should make it possible for you to put a marker on the map where you live. and then show location of shops and markets that are close to you. You will get suggestions depending on what the weight of your planned purchases will be, and where the bus routes are, and your cars miles per gallon.

We could allow super markets advertise their temporary bargain prices in the system, so you could compare the total "transparent" cost for your grocery list against several shops in the region. Is it worth it to take two trips and shop in two shops? or is it worth taking the bus to other side of city just to get lower price on chicken? ( i will try to sketch a graph with these to show you what the functionality might look like in an example on a fictional situation )

And the system can ask if you are able to walk or bicycle on this trip, with this weight. If you decline those suggestions, the system can give you some advice to think about, so you can plan your next future trips better:
to take the car just once a week for the heavy items...
to knock on neighbours doors to see if you can pick up some things for them at the same time...

And you could also get creative suggestions like borrowing a skateboard or baby-stroller from someone, to help carry the weight better. (other users in the neighbourhood can upload their advice on this, and can also offer to lend out their skateboard or bicycle on ads in the system) ( a simple cardboard box that you can get in the shop, placed onto a skateboard, tie a string around the skateboard to drag it! most people could carry 50 kg like this! )

this system should enhance ability to plan ahead and also to be spontaneous to enable improvising in their local neighbourhood depending on their current situations and requirements.

If you used this system for a while you will be able to see estimate yearly graphs of your food costs, and see budget for next year. And with interactivity you could go into the graph and edit the amount of ingredients you buy, to see the effect on the budget. Also edit the transportation method you use and frequency you go shopping, to see the effect on fuel costs vary with different options.

Ride together, save fuel, share the costs!
Shop together, buying larger amounts from a farmer on the market will make it possible to get bargains and discounts!
And on the ride back home you discuss how you are going to cook it! Sharing recipes and advice and inspiration to try something new!
Perhaps you even decide to cook together? see Public Kitchen
Baking more food and bread in the same oven, whilst it already was heated. Is also extremely energy efficient.

Long-term perspective:
Perhaps you will start doing more events in a carpool-type-of-way?
To have more fun, to learn things from your neighbours, to save energy and costs around your house!
Sharing/borrowing/lending expensive kitchen appliances across the neighbourhood? or lending out cook-books, or even lawnmovers, (as Meena pointed out somewhere in a comment.)

And maybe after a month or two you will be much more inclined towards carpooling to work every day? :D
This concept reduces the need for everyone owning a car. And lots of equipment, provides local healthy food to more people,
Huge potential to save a lot of fuel, energy, electricity, money.

-----
This concept does not worry about existing infrastructure, it causes no extra costs for farmers, transports or shops. It sort of "accepts" business-as-usual right now, and it focuses on the place where we can individually do the biggest reduction of costs and emissions possible : our choice of transport method home from the shop!!!

Most other concepts suggest changing infrastructure at the farm or at the transport to the supermarkets. This is different because it can make the consumer choose wisely between bicycle or bus when they go to shop next time. Or to make them knock on neighbours door first, to ask if they would need you to get them something at the same car-ride. It shows them the reason and helps them with plenty of advice to change.

This concept is also not concerned with cooking of food, however, if you enable people to buy more local and fresh, this means that you lower the amount of deep-frozen processed food being bought. This will of course shorten cooking time and electricity/gas-waste in homes. And it will improve consumers economy in also that effect! And I can only imagine the total effect on a city or state if you give inhabitants better ways to choose how to cut their cooking costs in half, and the car emissions in half!!!
( and of course there's concept proposals that show people how to cook smarter, like mine POWER DIET !!! )

-----
This concept is taking inspiration from many different previous inspirations and discussions on OpenPlanetIdeas and thank you Vincent especially for the " Food along the Commute"!
( and thank you for the nifty little camera that I won in London!!! on Greenbook Dev.Day!!!)

8 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

This is a really great, fun idea! Make it an even more involved event! There are small groups throughout DC that do this, but it's primarily focused on an urban setting, where going by foot or bike is common. But in the suburbs, car is pretty much the only way to get to the market. This is such a great idea that neighbors can add to community events!

Photo of Johan Löfström

Yes, i know about the poor city planning in U.S. suburbs, that seem to be built only to waste a lot of fuel. I do not know how street layouts are in Queensland? Or how well their collective transport routes are placed to suit most people?

View all comments