One community fridge saves 90,000 food items per year from being wasted whilst providing a unique opportunity for social connections to form.
CONNECTING THE COMMUNITY THROUGH FOOD
In May 2016, Frome Town Council worked with Edventure Frome CIC (Community Interest Company) to set up the UK’s first community fridge. The aim of the project was to reduce food waste and to connect the community. It’s a hub and a meeting place, an event in the day for many people, even something to look forward to. Food from the fridge is available to anyone from any background which creates unique connections and friendships, for example between local homeless people and 'skater kids' queuing up for a doughnut.
VOLUNTEERS FILL THE FRIDGE
A network of volunteers coordinates with local businesses to fill and clean the fridge each day. A report published in May 2019 found that the fridge saves up to 90,000 items a year from being wasted, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 140 tonnes. Frome Community Fridge is an innovative response to addressing the issues of food waste and food poverty. It is a catalyst for community, sharing, and developing new perspectives. The fridge is unique in being unsupervised: the cabin opens automatically from 8am to 8pm via an electronic lock. This is an example of a ‘commons’ – the management of a free resource, relying upon a self-regulating set of rules and expectations.
SIXTY COMMUNITY FRIDGES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
The success of the Fridge has inspired more than sixty other community fridges to open across the country. In October 2018, a Community Larder was also set up to accommodate items that do not need refrigeration. The Fridge and Larder are open daily and available for anyone to make use of, bringing neighbours and communities together to share surplus and increase access to fresh produce.