The Community Fridge: Reducing food waste and feeding those in need
A fridge offering free food to those in need has popped up in central Auckland.
The Community Fridge opened in November as a way to reduce food waste by sharing excess food with people who need it.
Businesses and individuals can leave excess food in the fridge, which is located in the Griffith Gardens on Wellesley Street in Central Auckland, for anyone to take.
This project is the initiative of zero waste blogger Amanda Chapman and a group of community waste champions.
“I first became aware of the food waste issue 10 years ago when I was throwing out some rubbish in the skips at the supermarket I worked at,” said Chapman.
“The bin was full of packaged bread and cakes made the day before. It was shocking, there was so much perfectly edible food going to waste, yet so many people are hungry.
“I first heard about solidarity fridges through a friend who had used them in Germany. I thought it would be a great concept to trial in New Zealand but had no idea how to start one up. When I saw that Auckland Council was making funding available for groups to raise awareness of the issue of food waste, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
The rules of the fridge are simple – take what you need and leave what you don’t. Individuals can share their excess garden produce, tinned or dried goods. Commercial bakeries and cafes are being encouraged to donate any unsold bread, sandwiches and baked items which would normally be thrown away.
“Sometimes when you only have only a small amount to donate it may not feel like it’s worth it, especially if you are quite far away from a food bank,” said Simon Tuxford of Pukeko Bakery.
“But even just an extra sandwich or a couple of bread rolls can make a difference to someone’s day and help reduce the amount of food which goes to waste. This will allow us to pass on any edible food which we couldn’t sell.”
The fridge is open 24 hours a day to allow people to access food at any time. There are no conditions around taking the food, anybody can help themselves. A group of volunteers checks the fridge twice a day to make sure that all food is safe to eat.
The fridge is located in Griffiths Community Garden on the corner of Mayoral Drive and Wellesley Street West and was funded through Auckland Council’s Love Food Hate Waste Fund.
The fridge itself was salvaged from Auckland Council’s inorganic collections and repaired by Resource Rescue. If you want to volunteer to collect food from local cafes or join the roster of people looking after the fridge click here.