Sanne’s favorite sustainability initiative: Shareyourmeal.net
Every month, one of PRé’s people talks about their personal favorite sustainable initiative. This can be a product or a shop, a local initiative or a new website. This month, Sanne van der Es shares her experience with shareyourmeal.net. This platform helps people build social contacts, reduce food waste and contribute to a better, happier society.
I love food, whether a typical Dutch dish, a spicy curry, a chocolate cake or something I’ve never tried before. And I love sharing food – having dinner parties with friends or organizing food events with couch surfers from all over the world. But cooking a proper meal and sharing it with people takes time and energy I don’t always have, leading to uninspiring mealtimes.
But there is a solution to this: shareyourmeal.net, a Dutch initiative that matches people looking for a good, freshly prepared meal to home cooks willing to share their meals for a few euros. Since starting in the Netherlands in March 2012, the network has helped 55,000 home cooks to share over 120,000 meals. The initiative is becoming more popular throughout Europe every day. And even on other continents, you now find shareyourmeal home cooks offering fresh homemade meals to their neighbors.
In my hometown in the Netherlands, there is so much to choose from: meat, fish, vegetarian, vegan, organic, halal, lactose or gluten-free, and from every cuisine for every moment of the day. On my first foray into the world of shareyourmeal, I ended up at Rosalie’s house. She works as a nurse but uses her spare time to cook amazing food. That night, while enjoying my delicious Na’ama’s Fattoush, I knew I was hooked.
More Than Just Food
A few meals and some research later, I realized that this is not just about food, and not just about convenience. The main strength of the platform is that it helps people build social connections: many shareyourmeal.net participants have initiated social events in their neighborhoods, organized charity events, and helped people in need. Some home cooks invite people to join them for dinner. One elderly couple, not able to cook anymore, now eats a homemade meal every day, made by their neighbors. Then there’s the “Don’t eat alone on Valentine’s Day” event. All initiated by people who truly believe that sharing is caring.
Another reason why shareyourmeal is such an amazing concept is that you never have to throw away food anymore. Instead, you can make someone else happy with your creation. You just list in on the website and your neighbors will receive a notification. And because cooking for more people is more efficient, you help reduce food waste and make people happy.
I even arranged a cake, lunch and dinner for our company outing through shareyourmeal.net. I asked Rosalie, who prepared my first shareyourmeal dinner, to make some of her delicious cakes and to cook lunch for all 25 of us. The dinner was prepared by another home cook: a photographer who is trying to get people more excited about vegetarian and organic food. Both meals were extremely good.
What Can You Do?
There are many excellent reasons to join shareyourmeal, whether you’d like to try new meals, want to get to know your neighbors, want to reduce food waste, or just to do something that feels good. Just try it! Besides shareyourmeal.net, there are many similar initiatives around the globe to look into, like mealsharing.com, cookisto.com, casseroleclub.com.