Bachelor of Arts
School or Department
Faculty Mentor Department
food waste, collaborative consumption, sharing economy, food exchange
Rachel Botsman coined the term “collaborative consumption” to describe an economic model based on sharing, swapping, trading, or renting products and services, and enabling access rather than ownership1. Also referred to as the sharing economy, the mesh economy, or the peer-to-peer economy, collaborative consumption models offer a more efficient use of unused, or underutilized resources. Whereas previously peer-to-peer exchanges were only practical within small networks of friends, family, and neighbors, the Internet and mobile technology have allowed us to share almost anything at any time. While there are countless examples of community exchange platforms, and more springing up every day, there is not an efficient widespread platform for the sharing of food.
In his book, American Wasteland, author Jonathan Bloom estimates that nearly one-half of all food produced in the United States is discarded, wasting valuable natural resources and costing billions2. This report will analyze existing models of peer-to-peer exchange in order to guide the creation of Crop Swap Missoula, a small-scale online food exchange based in Missoula, Montana. The exchange will allow for the sale, donation, or trade of surplus food items among users. I will consider the potential financial, environmental and social benefits of the project and attempt to anticipate problems that may arise. According to a team of researchers at collaborativeconsumption.com, platforms often fail due to insufficient supply and/or demand, a lack of product focus, an unclear value scheme, not enough funding, or regulatory issues. I will discuss these issues as they apply to Crop Swap, and explore potential solutions.
Honors College Research Project
Raan, Cathryn, "Crop Swap Missoula: Food Waste and the Sharing Solution" (2015). Undergraduate Theses and Professional Papers. 32.
© Copyright 2015 Cathryn Raan