Who are we?
We, Marieke Hart and Jan Thij Bakker, founded Shareyourmeal in March 2012. We live in Utrecht West and are the parents of Kaatje and Evi. We are socially engaged entrepreneurs. We have a taste for good food and cooking and we believe in sharing! Because of the many warm responses, we are increasingly inspired by the power of sharing food. In addition to running Shareyourmeal, Jan Thij is employed by the internet company Quizworks, specialized in online quizzing (http://www.onlinequizcreator.com). Marieke is a senior trainer/advisor global citizenship at NCDO. She occupies herself by encouraging engagement for a better world.
While seated in our garden, we could often smell when our neighbour was cooking. We were intrigued by the smells coming for her kitchen. We were curious about her cookery and her. When we took the bold step of asking her if we could try her food one day, she immediately got excited. That same weekend we walked over to her place with a few euros and returned with three delicious servings of pumpkin soup. This is when we realized that sharing food is a great way to get to know your neighbours. Other neighbours also started to participate. Everyone was really enthusiastic. We decided to take a leap of faith and to build an on-line platform which allows everyone in the Netherlands to share meals with neighbours. This is how Shareyourmeal got started.
The idea behind Shareyourmeal is that eating brings people together. We hope to connect neighbours through Shareyourmeal. In addition, we want to prevent wastage of food, as an incredible amount of food is thrown out in the Netherlands on a yearly basis. And finally we also hope to encourage people to eat healthily. Shareyourmeal offers a healthy, tasty andconnecting alternative for dinner! We hope that people will soon be able to pick up a tasty meal from one of their neighbours, every night, anywhere in the Netherlands.
But also outside the Netherlands, as we are busy launching Shareyourmeal in other countries. Shareyourmeal.net and Teildeinessen.at for example are already live. It is our dream for sharing food to become a world-wide trend!
We consider Shareyourmeal a socially engaged enterprise: we are entrepreneurs who aim at improving the world. We take a professional approach, but our social objective is of chief importance. We define profit in a wider sense than just financial profit. Our profit consists of social and sustainable added value which we offer society.
Obviously we need a revenue stream to cover our expenses. For the first year, we receive a starting capital from the DOEN Foundation. Now we need to preserve our finances. In doing so, we aim at combining a somewhat more commercial approach (through sponsoring, advertisements and paid subscriptions) with the social character of our neighbour platform.
Through internet we can now achieve what used to be customary: sharing. In other cultures it is still common to cook large quantities, just in case someone drops by. Dropping in on someone is no longer very customary in the Netherlands. Shareyourmeal makes sharing food possible again.
Shareyourmeal therefore fits in well with the trend of a sharing economy. More and more consumers work together by borrowing, exchanging, renting or buying things, money and services of each other. CDs and books are exchanged on-line through Swaptree; people rent out their car to others through Snappcar and through Peerby neighbours can borrow or rent things from each other like drilling machines. Such initiatives make traditional dividing lines disappear between producer and consumer. On-line technology allows for matching supply and demand between consumers on a local level. In essence it is all about making something valuable (like leftover food) end up where it is needed (with hungry neighbours).
The sharing economy makes our society more social and more sustainable! A trend worth being part of!
Some nice feedback from users
We are overwhelmed by the enthusiastic responses and nice stories from cooks and foodies. We like to share some of them with you.
Home cook Claudia: “I really enjoy this: I can use my creativity, please people with a good serving of tasty food and I receive nice comments! The contact with the people is also very enjoyable. The other day a collector repaired my laptop and this summer I looked after the cats of another collector.”
Mother of home cook Bente: “Bente is 8 years old and has Down syndrome. Bente would like to become a cook when she grows up. Thanks to Shareyourmeal the neighbourhood can now get to know Bente and see her potential instead of her limitations. For Bente herself it is also an incentive to help cook more often.”
Home cook Mrs. Harders: “At the last minute a friend of ours was not coming for dinner, which resulted in leftover homemade tomato soup. We placed it on Shareyourmeal and an hour later a neighbour was at our doorstep. We also gave him a baguette with herb butter and a kiwi to add some vitamins. We are getting on in years but in this way we can still participate in what is happening in our neighbourhood. We are not in it for the money, but just to feel good.”