10 lessons from London’s first community fridge

Kelsi Farrington

A month after opening, London’s first community fridge has redistributed 50kg of food to those in need and attracted enquiries from around the world. What lessons can we learn from the project so far?

In February, we reported on the launch of The People’s Fridge in Brixton – a public fridge in which local residents and businesses can leave spare, edible food for those who need it. It is run by a group of volunteers who want to cut food waste, encourage the sharing of food and help tackle food poverty.

The People’s Fridge team at last month’s launch. Image: Sebastian Wood


 

10 things the team has learned so far

 

1. What produce is most frequently added to The People’s Fridge?

“So far we’ve had loads of tomatoes, ketchup, radishes, cakes, bread, peppers, apples, mushrooms.”

2. What’s the most exciting donation to date?

“A gourmet Christmas pudding.”

3. And the least interesting donation?

“It’s all exciting. Even a humble, lonely carrot.”

4. Of the larger organisations who donate food, any special mentions?

“Fruit and vegetable box delivery service Oddbox and food rescuers City Harvest.”

Although some donations are more exciting than others, fresh food is always welcome, say those behind the project

5. Has much food been wasted?

“We’ve thrown away very, very little food. Food in the fridge is typically being taken within 36 hours.”

6. Who’s most excited about The People’s Fridge?

“The majority of interest in solving food surplus/waste is coming from women. If ‘fat is a feminist issue’ it seems like the food system might be too.”

If ‘fat is a feminist issue’ it seems like the food system might be too

7. Have you hit the headlines?

“We’ve had press coverage from Los Angeles, Mexico, Japan, as well as from media such as Time Out, the Independent and Channel 4 News.”

8. After just one month, has the The People’s Fridge had an impact?

“In February alone, we redistributed around 50kg of surplus food.”

The People’s Fridge is at Pop Brixton, a venue in south London. Image: Sebastian Wood

9. How is the community fridge maintained?

“Since launching, 12 volunteers have signed up to lend their time, helping hands and expertise.” [Traders at Pop Brixton – the foodie hotspot where the fridge is currently based – are also pitching in by helping stock and clean the fridge].

10. What are the next steps for the community fridge?

“We’ve just launched phase two: the big push to recruit more food traders, get more food in. We’re also looking at a new site with more public access to drive more usage and uptake of the fridge”.

Find out more at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/peoples-fridge


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