If you haven’t yet heard of the concept of a community fridge then I’m sure that will change in the coming weeks and months. It’s an idea that’s gaining a lot of interest across the UK, as communities are trying to come up with solutions to food poverty with the re-distribution of food stuffs. This is an update from Riki who has been organising the launch of Oxford’s first Community Fridge in Botley. You can also find out more about the project here.
Guest blog from Riki Therivel
The Botley Community Fridge starts on 13 March 2017. It is a fridge in St. Peter & St. Paul Church, Botley (west Oxford) into which anyone can put food, and from which anyone can take food. Its primary aim is to reduce food waste, so anyone can take the food, but there are two sessions per week that prioritises people in need when the fridge is most likely to be full of food. As far as we’re aware, it’s only the fourth community fridge in the country, so we have put a lot of our documentation on the Internet in case other groups want to do the same.
The fridge has taken six months to set up: long discussions with the environmental health officer to agree what can and cannot go into the fridge (for instance individuals can’t put in cooked food but registered food businesses can); negotiations with the church about electricity costs and possible vandalism; and setting up a rota of volunteers who will pick up food and clean the fridge on a daily basis.
The Community Action Group (CAG) network has been really helpful with what could have been a show stopper: insurance. The CAG network provides insurance for individual CAGs and whilst the fridge itself is not a CAG, it will eventually be adopted by the Association for Botley Communities CAG once that gets set up. But in the meanwhile the Abundance CAG is ‘fostering’ the fridge, and we have been able to share our experiences with the Feeding the Gaps CAG, which is setting up another community fridge in Oxford.
The homeless charities know about the fridge, but do please spread the word and visit the fridge yourselves. More information is available here: https://foodforcharities.wordpress.com/botley.