There’s a new fridge on the block… and it’s helping London tackle two of its most pressing social issues, all while bringing neighbourhoods closer together.
According to the Hubbub Foundation, the average UK family wastes £470 a year by throwing away food and drink which could have been eaten. That’s not even the worst bit – the food industry bins a scarcely-imaginable £3bn over the same period. In response, some bright sparks came up with the idea of the Community Fridge: a simple way for people to share food they aren’t going to use with fellow neighbours who might need it. Anyone can donate – including local shops – and anyone can pick up. Just turn up at the fridge during its opening hours with your surplus food or to find what you need. Food waste and food poverty tackled in hungry harmony, not to mention a delightful example of how local communities can work together to tackle persistent social issues.
London’s first fridge opened in Brixton in February this year. It’s been a such a roaring success that two more have popped up: one on a housing estate in Camberwell and another just opened at my local community centre, St Luke’s just off Old Street. A further two fridges are in the pipeline – located at Manor House and Leytonstone. We’ll keep you posted about these new arrivals.
Want to get involved? Here are four ways eager ethical explorers can support London’s coolest (ahem) food waste revolution:
1. Drop off some food at your local fridge.
You can find the existing ones at the following locations:
Brixton, The People’s Fridge – Pop Brixton, 49 Station Road – open 7 days a week (Mon – Thu, 9am – 7pm and Fri – Sun, 9am – 5pm)
Old Street – St Luke’s Community Centre, 90 Central St, EC1 8AB – open Thu and Fri (3.30pm – 5pm)
Camberwell – Albrighton Community Centre, Albrighton Rd, London SE22 8AH – open Tue and Wed (1pm – 7pm) and Thu (1pm – 5pm).
There’s a also a handy map here, which should be updated as soon as new fridges appear.
2. Volunteer or donate.
Brixton’s fridge is always on the look out for volunteers (email them here) and donations (on their GoFundMe page). Interested Islingtonians can drop St Luke’s a friendly message here or leave your details at the community centre reception.
3. Start one in your neighbourhood.
London’s a big place… the closer you are to a fridge, the more likely you are to actually use it. If you’re keen to pioneer one in your local area, you can email Hubbub or join the growing Community Fridge Network group on Facebook to find out more. The People’s Fridge in Brixton and Edventure have both produced handy little guides, which you can download here and here.
4. Spread the word!
Everyone’s talking about community fridges at the moment, but (Brixton aside) it’s surprisingly hard to find their locations and opening hours. Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and help people turn this emerging movement from some neighbourly nibbles into a wholesale food revolution.
… and while you’re at it, why not join our ever expanding community of ethical explorers over on Facebook?