Community fridges are a mutual aid resource and sharing tool for community members seeking food security and for those who are able to donate extra food. They are free, typically accessible 24/7, and depend on community participation to function. Ideally, the fridges cater to the community’s specific needs and are conveniently located. Because they depend on community participation and consistent management throughout the day, they follow a highly decentralized model of leadership and project control. By facilitating quick and casual access to donations, these fridges exemplify the power of community-led mutual aid in increasing food security.
There are many ways to get involved in community fridges in your area from donating food, volunteering to clean and maintain the fridges or receiving produce yourself from these resources. The fridges usually have a robust social media presence and the quantity of food is often updated through these accounts so that the fridges can be consistently filled.
Community fridges are a great resource to seek out if you consistently buy too much produce or grow too much of something that would otherwise end up spoiling. They are accessible, community building and their organized collection of food donations can have huge impacts on community food security.
It’s also vital to consider the physical and cultural visibility of community fridges as people should be able to seek out this resource with dignity. While the fridges should be placed in accessible and public locations, we also need to encourage positive discourse about using these resources and present them as a sustainable and equitable solution to food insecurity.
The organization “Freedge” has created a set of guidelines and tools for anyone to start a fridge in their community. Their model is highly decentralized and encourages anyone and everyone to participate in the movement for more community fridges. Check out the link below for Freedge’s tips on liability, materials and micro-grants!
Learn more about Food Shift and their programs to rescue surplus food that would otherwise waste away in landfills and utilize it to fuel their social enterprise kitchen.