The cooperative housing system on campus requires a tremendous amount of coordination, feedback and information gathering from large groups of people for the smooth running of the house. As I started out with looking at the communication and chore management as an issue in the house. I started out wanting to work with all chores being managed through one application. What I quickly learned was that the scope of the project was too large to achieve through a semester. I decided to focus on one of the chores and do it well.
After a little talking with the other housemates and understanding briefly what were the different types of chores involved, I found out that almost half of the hours spent by all house members in the house were related to the food management and food-oriented chores.
Proposed SolutionThe final solution is to create an application with a web presence so that users can access the information and update it irrespective of the availability of a smartphone. The application main aim is to track food that is brought into the house and then the amount that is consumed. All other features will revolve around this. The solution hopes to achieve a transparency to all member of the house to be able to keep a track of the food and manage it cooperatively and collectively with the help of other told and features within the application.
I conducted interviews with about 10 people from 3 different houses. 2 of them were cooperatives and one was a greek house. My aim was to interact with multiple people from across different types of community living and gather different perspectives. Below are the key highlights of three interviews I conducted. The similar patterns were used to later build an affinity wall. The solution aims to benefit all the house member in making communication regarding food management, reduce wastage and get the most preferred food accessibility for all. The app will majorly help three main genres of users. The generic members who consume the food. The food stewards in planning what to buy more / or less of for the house and then the overall for all cooks and house member who use the food to most effectively use produce in order to avoid wastage due to expiration
Digging deeper into the problem of how food management isn’t just something a cooperative living system requires. It is something everybody should have access to. Statistically in America, about 6 billion pounds of food is thrown away every month as stated in the article Food waste in America. This was about 40% of the total food available in the country.
Hence I realized that the app had to focus not only on great communication but also should address a good way to manage food consumption. Cooperative living and bulk ordering food which gets consumed is an effective way of actually contributing to a better management and lesser wastage of food – especially fast moving consumer products or perishables. However, a number of applications and processes to ensure least wastage and most effective budgeting is a tedious process. It is not one that other people would even adopt for daily usage.
**This project is currently under progress**