Entrepreneurs working out of UW’s VeloCity Garage are on a mission to connect individuals throughout Kitchener-Waterloo. Their new mobile app will allow members to meet new people, take part in diverse culinary experiences, and potentially earn some extra cash — all through the power of good old-fashioned home cooking. Homefed is a new mobile app that connects those who love to cook and host dinners, with people who are looking for a great meal and a chance to dine with locals from a variety of backgrounds. Members start by creating a profile, and those who want to host can post meal ideas for members to browse through. Members can then contact hosts and together they discuss details such as time, cost, and location. The dining experience is different at every meeting. Hosts have the option to invite people over for a meal, travel to another member’s house to cook, plan a simple delivery/pick-up, or even arrange to teach others how to prepare some of their favourite dishes. The only thing more varied than the dining experiences are the dishes being offered; the list currently includes cider braised sausage pie, traditional Russian crepes, and homemade dumplings. The app is the product of a partnership between OCADU’s James Mclean and UW’s own Vishnu Varadaraj and Steven Wang. The trio met at Startup Weekend, an event where hopeful entrepreneurs pitch ideas and put together a team to turn their business concepts into a reality. They officially began operating full-time in November, and have been finding a great response in the KW community. According to Mclean, the team was inspired to develop this app by individuals in their communities. They found that clubs and social gatherings centred around home-cooked food were growing in popularity. This is part of a general trend towards what Mclean calls a “sharing economy” — a concept that promotes the sharing of material goods and values peer-to-peer interaction. Their hope is that the app will make these experiences accessible to a wider audience. Currently, Homefed is in its beta testing phase, which is tailored to the iPhone. However, when it is launched later this year it will also be available for Android and on the web. In the meantime, iPhone users can become members of the beta test by signing up at www.homefed.co. Android and web users can visit this website to sign up to receive a notification when Homefed is officially launched.