Everything you need to know about Auckland’s Community Fridge
There’s a new fridge in town which will help feed the hungry, while also reducing food waste.
Auckland’s Community Fridge is an initiative to help share excess food with people who need it.
The fridge, which is open 24 hours a day, is located in the new Auckland inner city Griffiths Gardens, which is on the corner of Wellesley St West and Mayoral Drive. Businesses and individuals are encouraged to leave excess food in the fridge and anyone who needs it can it take for free.
The fridge opened on Wednesday 30 November.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a community fridge?
A community fridge is a place where people and businesses can donate their surplus food and other people can help themselves to the food in the fridge.
Where is the Auckland community fridge?
The fridge is located in the new inner city community garden called Griffiths Gardens. It is located on the corner of Wellesley St West & Mayoral Drive in Auckland.
Why does Auckland need a community fridge?
- New Zealand families throw away $872 million worth of food every year and cafes, restaurants and supermarkets also throw away millions of dollars of food every year.
- A community fridge enables people with excess food to easily share it with people who need the food.
- Many people would like to be able to donate their food, but it can be inconvenient to take it to a food bank. The community fridge is always open which allows people to drop off food at any hour, and means people can access the food whenever they need it.
- The geographical size of Auckland can make it difficult for people to share food with those who may need it. The fridge is located in a densely populated, central location in the CBD.
What food is accepted for donation?
Donations are accepted of:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables – they must be mould free.
- Tinned and dried goods – all items must be unopened.
- Sandwiches, biscuits and baked goods – this food can only be accepted if is less than two days old and is labeled with the date and time it was made. Labels are provided at the fridge.
- Cooked food from registered kitchens who have a current food safety certificate. Cooked food can only be accepted if is less than two days old and is labeled with the date and time it was made. Labels are provided at the fridge.
Food that cannot be put in the fridge:
- Unsealed or half eaten food.
- Mouldy fruit, vegetables or bread.
- Raw fish, meat, eggs and milk.
- Food that has been recalled by the manufacturer.
- Cooked food eg quiches, curries unless they are donated by a registered kitchen and correctly labeled.
What about the health and safety aspects of the fridge?
A trained food health and safety professional has created the donation guidelines and training materials for the volunteers who look after the fridge. The health and safety information provided is based on information and expertise from an established council run fridge in the United Kingdom. Their guidance documents can be viewed here.
The fridge has instructions explaining what can be donated and what can’t be donated and volunteers are rostered on to clean the fridge, check the temperature and remove any unsuitable donations.
What happens to the food which is unsuitable for donation?
The fridge is located in a community garden. Any food which is not suitable will be taken for composting.
Who is behind this project?
This project is the initiative of zero waste blogger Amanda Chapman and a group of community waste champions. The project has been financially supported by the Auckland Council Love Food Hate Waste Fund; Envision New Zealand; and Love Food Hate Waste New Zealand.
Is this a world first?
No, the community fridge movement began in Spain in 2015. It now has 9 fridges in towns around Spain. Other fridges have been established in England, Belgium, Argentina and United Arab Emirates.
Aren’t there already food rescue groups in Auckland?
Auckland has two food rescue groups FairFood which operates in West Auckland and Kiwi Harvest which operates in Central Auckland and the North Shore. These food rescue groups take surplus food from supermarkets and bakeries where the donations are sizable in volume. The community fridge is appropriate for people who want to make smaller donations of food such as a loaf of bread, a bag of lemons from the garden, unsold sandwiches etc.