The Hack: Bring the Food

Michael Brennan's picture
March 27, 2012 - 11:05 -- Michael Brennan

In addition to the RHoK success stories that we have been highlighting here, there are many projects that are in late stages of development and deployment that we woud also like to showcase. Bring the Food, by a team of hackers from RHoK in Trento, is one of those projects. We have invited them to talk about the inception and development of their project and what the steps are for them moving forward.

BringTheFood (BTF) started as a prototype during RHoK #3 Trento (the first Italian event), developed by a passionate team of hackers from Fondazione Bruno Kessler. After the first prototype, BTF has gone through multiple iterations, reaching a first stable and usable release at the beginning of 2012. Recently, the application has been presented at the ICTD2012 Conference in Atlanta, GA, where it drew significant attention from the ICTD community. Various NGOs and individuals worldwide have already expressed their interest to give it a real shot.

BTF is a crowdsourcing web/mobile application that allows food donors to publish offers and easily coordinate pickups with collectors (charities, etc.). Collectors can view the offers in their area on a map, reserve those that are available and schedule pickups directly with the donor. BTF includes a feedback system for transactions and a reward system for donors, encouraging them to avoid wasting food.

BTF is compatible with the majority of smartphones and tablets (and obviously PCs) as it runs in a web browser. An Android application is under active development and is available for preview on the project's website.

The team is getting ready to experiment the tool with organizations in Italy, Germany, Canada and the US. The expected impact is a noticeable reduction of food waste by small and medium retailers and caterers and an improvement of the efficiency of charity organizations in collecting food and helping the poor.

The team is working on improving the current features and on introducing innovative functionalities to further enhance the workflow of the users. In particular, tag-based categorization of donations (for example, by compliance to religious dietary restrictions), smart filtering and recommendation are among the priorities of the developers. Long term sustainability through the identification of a suitable business model is also among the goals of the team.

Any organization interested in trying out Bring the Food or starting an experimentation with us should contact Aaron Ciaghi. We are especially looking for organizations available to give us user feedback and contribute to improving the tool.