This project explores how new algorithmic technologies could be used to create a fairer and more sustainable food system.

We’re looking at two areas in detail:

The “food commons”
How can food be locally produced and managed more equitably and sustainably for collective benefit? Our project explores this question by working with small-scale urban community growers, including city farms.

A “more-than-human value system”
To grow food successfully, humans require the help of other organisms – for example bees, or soil micro-organisms. How can we use new technologies to recognise and value their contributions, to help avoid problems like soil degradation and bee extinction that threaten life on earth?

What we did:

Between September and December 2019, we held a series of workshops bringing together community growers, technologists, artists and people from related non-governmental organisations. We asked participants to help generate ideas on the benefits and challenges of working with algorithmic technologies such as blockchain to create a “food commons” and “more-than-human value system”. We also developed some speculative prototypes for sustainable and just food futures.

Our partners and funders:

The project is organised by researchers at City, University of London, in partnership with Spitalfields City Farm, Furtherfield, and Gaia Foundation. It is funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through a Not-Equal Network+ grant.