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Food Waste Utopia

Master Thesis at IT and Product Design, SDU


FOOD WASTE UTOPIA: Community building and practice sharing as anew sustainable future

Research Question:

How can bottom-up organisations be a part of tackling climate change issues, with a focus on food waste organisations


Participatory Design, Co-creation workshop, community building, Tangible, food, co-design, sustainable futures



Food Waste Utopia investigate how bottom-up organisations are tackling climate change issues, with a focus on food waste organisation. The thesis is divided into two sections, Food waste utopia workshop in Kolding and two semistructured interviews with two food waste organisations in Denmark.

The first section: "Food Waste Utopia Workshop

The first part is focused on how key stakeholders from bottom-up organisations in Kolding are creating a stakeholder map, obstacles, opportunities, dream scenarios and co-created envisioned sustainable futures in their city, still with the focus of a food waste organisation. This is investigated through a participatory co-creation workshop, where surplus food and food waste was utilised as a tangible tool for co-creation and ideation. See video:



Video: Food Waste Utopia workshop video: Credit Alma Harambasic

Photos: From the workshop where the participants used hexagon-waste cardboard tangible starters and co-created stakeholder-maps with surplus food and food waste.

Early-stage ideation:

The last task in the first section was for the participants to co-create future sustainable dream scenarios. an interesting finding was, that the participants' used the workshop as a platform for early-stage testing of their own ideas. Currently, parts of three of the four ideas are either implemented or 'work in progress'. The ideas will be explained below:

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Idea 1:

Idea 2:

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Idea 3:

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Idea 4:

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Second section: Two food waste organisations

The second part is addressing how two bottom-up food waste organisations in Aarhus and Copenhagen are tackling the same research question as in part one. I conducted two semi-structured interviews where the participants respectively online or using tangible tools from the surroundings answered the same questions and also co-created a sustainable envisioned future for themselves with a focus on the food waste problem. Prior to each interview, I conducted participatory ethnographic field research to understand the practices in the organisation. Furthermore, to be able to interview volunteers in a relaxed conversational interview.


Below are the two co-creation ideas. Foodsharing Aarhus had the interview in an urban garden and the tangible artefacts are from the soundings, which the focus to create generate more waste. Foodsharing Aarhus had their interview online, where I tested the concept with Miro. Both concepts worked with the changed format.

Foodsharing Copenhagen co-creation idea

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Foodsharing Aarhus co-creation idea

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