We wanted to tackle two issues with this project: food waste and community engagement.
Food waste ends up wasting nearly a quarter of our water supply in the form of uneaten food or over $172 billion in wasted water. When food is disposed of in a landfill it rots and becomes a significant source of methane - a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Growing and transporting the food that goes to waste emits as much carbon pollution as 39 million passenger vehicles. We carelessly waste 40% of our food in the U.S. and 33% globally.
We wanted to address this issue while building and engaging the local community, as human collaboration is at the core of all great solutions to world issues. We hope to bring people together to solve a common issue.
What it does and how we built it
We created the app using Flask and Jinja.
We allow users that have food to spare to connect with donation centers such as churches or food pantries. They will receive information on location, hours of operation, etc from the Google Places API.
We allow users that need food to find donation centers based on their location, hours, what categories of food they have available, and how much.
We allow organizations and donation centers to organize the transfer of donations between donors and receivers.
There is also a strong community aspect to the platform, as users can communicate with each other through a feed: where organizations can shoutout the donors, where receivers can thank the donors personally, where organizations can announce if there are perishables that need to be picked up as soon as possible or if there is an urgent need for a particular category of food like baby formula.
What's next for FoodLink
We hope to include other features such as keeping inventory of the donations (since the app already collects the data anyway), and allowing for timed pickups (to minimize the spread of COVID).