Fresh Food for the Smart City
Our cities are sites of both extreme wealth and extreme poverty. In in recent years, the gulf between them has become a chasm. Access (or lack thereof) to fresh food is one way in which this inequality manifests itself. Food deserts are present in some of the world’s most affluent cities, the same cities where food waste is reaching record levels. Food banks and other efforts to redistribute food have typically struggled to get fresh food into the hands of those in need before it expires. Recognizing this, two computer scientists in Chicago adopted a high tech approach to connect more than 100 food donors with 250 non-profits. Even with a responsive digital approach, the pair, who run the non-profit Zero Percent, have been challenged by inconsistency and tight expiry dates. However, their program is learning, and can now identify patterns in donation and demand, improving efficiency and reducing waste. Zero Percent has plans to expand, and is one example of how the smart city can help achieve the equitable city.