You may have heard people talk about community fridges, but what exactly are they are why are they a powerful tool to reduce food waste and increase community resilience?
What is a community fridge?
A community fridge is a space where the local community can share surplus food, much like the Foodshare tables that run throughout Shrewsbury they are a great way of reducing food waste and building community. They are hosted in a public space such as a community centre and are open to everyone to use.
What are the benefits?
The advantage of a community fridge is that is allows us to rescue and share a wider range of food, not just ambient products. Chilled products, such as dairy and meat often have a larger carbon footprint, so stopping them from going to waste has great environmental benefits. Community fridges are also a wonderful way of bringing people together.
What is involved in setting up a community fridge?
Handling chilled food safely means following strict health and safety procedures. Premises that host a community fridge need to be registered with the Food Standard Agency and the people responsible for running the fridge should have their level 2 food hygiene certificate. They need to keep records and monitor the fridge temperature to make sure the food being shared is safe to be eaten.
Do we have a community fridge in Shrewsbury?
In Shrewsbury we have a community fridge at Riversway Elim church. They use the fridge alongside their Foodshare table to get good food, that would have otherwise been wasted, used by the community. Volunteers collect food for the fridge from suppliers in town and transport them to the fridge in cool bags and insulated boxes.
The fridge has been running for several years and has been hugely popular with the local community. Shrewsbury Food Hub’s Rachel Newby who looks after all things related to chilled and frozen food said:
“The more community fridges we have available the more food we can stop going to waste. It is a great way to store and share the surplus from food outlets such as Greggs and Pret a Manger. Community fridges allow us to safely distribute chilled products in larger volumes such as yogurts and deserts from some of our local manufacturers such as Muller UK and Ireland.”
We are working on growing the number of community fridges in Shrewsbury- watch this space!