July 23, 2012

Meal co-ops

Posted by: in Things To Watch

Meal cooperatives, once a staple of the earthy-crunchy set, are taking another left turn into the digital age. Harnessing the power of peer-to-peer sharing online, New York City residents can now anonymously exchange home-cooked dishes via Mealku. Participants earn points for meals they share, then cash in points to get meals. In Paris, Super Marmite, launched in early 2011 in response to escalating restaurant prices, connects home cooks directly with hungry neighbors or tourists.

These meal co-ops stem from “the growing popularity of local dishes, food swaps and community-supported agriculture,” as The Wall Street Journal notes of Mealku. Importantly, they also reflect a growing comfort with transacting with strangers online, a concept that numerous services have road-tested, from NeighborGoods (basic wares) to AirBnB (rooms) and car-sharing sites like Getaround. “More than ever,” observed TNW recently, “technology is enhancing our ability to connect and collaborate in our real-life, local communities.” —Alec Foege

Image credit: Super Marmite

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